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Old 12-01-2014, 10:02 PM   #1
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Trip to the Florida Keys

My wife and I just bought a Whitehawk 27DSRL, both of us have just retired, and we have never been to the Keys; been to the FL gulf many times as we live in Alabama. We would like to make a "tour" of Florida - Gulf coast, Keys, Atlantic coast; preferable staying in state parks. I know that the winter-spring months may be a problem with getting reservations. How are other times of the year weather, bug, crowd-wise? We like kayaking, swimming, lazing around, snorkeling. How is mid-late summer; too hot/muggy? Any tips/advise would be much appreciated.
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:45 AM   #2
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Depends on your tolerance for heat and humidity. We prefer similar trips in the winter. Reservations have to be made 8-11 months in advance in the popular SPs
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Old 12-02-2014, 09:16 AM   #3
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FLORIDA Camping

First, WELCOME to the forum.

Camping in Florida is nice... provided you are doing it between the months of September and May, as the rest of the months are HOT/HUMID! I live just north of Clearwater Beach and about 200 yards from the gulf and even with the SLIGHT summer breeze, it is still HOT. Wake up and the temp is in the 80's and go to sleep the temp is in the 80's, so we head to Georgia's Blue Ridge mountains (Hiawassee, GA) for a little relief for the summer

So, camping at the FL state parks is nice, if you can get a spot (south of Tampa and in the Keys) and then it is only good for 2 weeks and you have to try and set up your next 2 week CC.... and so on until you are ready to head north. Good luck with that. We have tried at 1 minute after mid-night, Reserve America and other sites, calling the CC personally with not much luck. We just got lucky with the December week as someone just cancelled their reservation that day.

You can only book FL state campgrounds 11 months or less from the current date. This year we did get lucky and are spending a week (all we could get) in the keys later this month.

Getting a state park north of Tampa is usually easy, for the Gulf Coast side of the state. There are a lot of private CC's that you can get into, but expect to pay a PREMIUM price to stay.

Just my thoughts,
Don
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:41 AM   #4
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I just booked a week (April 12-18) at Curry Hammock SP. Someone must have cancelled; now I need to fill in a week or so both sides of that week. We will be coming from Alabama down the Gulf coast to the Keys and then up the Atlantic coast and back home. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:47 AM   #5
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We stayed a week at St. George Island SP in the Panhandle in August. Won't ever do that again, save for the fact getting reservations was a breeze! We had a fifth wheel at the time with 2 AC units and was comfortable inside only after sundown. Bugs! It's Florida, they're just worse in summer. At St. George, the skeeters were so bad I had to spray a yard fogger twice just to get the trailer setup complete. Agree with the September thru May window for camping down here, though both May and September can be quite hot. Advance reservations are a good idea, especially for any SP that allows RV camping in the Keys. They are quite popular year round.
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Old 12-06-2014, 02:39 PM   #6
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Edwardo, welcome to the forum. We just moved from Florida to Alabama. Florida summers are hot, humid and plenty of insects. If at all possible go before May or after October. The state parks in Florida are GREAT especially the Keys. Make reservations in advance. The Florida panhandle has several RV parks that are very nice and reasonable.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:22 PM   #7
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What's the drive like from Vero Beach to Key West? What is the best way from there? What is Miami like for traffic?
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:29 AM   #8
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Cedar Key is a quaint little fishing village along the gulf. There are several campgrounds there if you can get reservations. They have arts and craft festivals and seafood festivals at different times. Just check Cedar Key festivals and campgrounds. Getting a reservation during one of those times is a different story! If you can get in, it is well worth your visit. They have a very small airport with one runway. It is one of my favorite places to fly in and have lunch. No FBO, just a runway. You just circle the town a couple times and the local cab driver will run right out to pick you up.
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:51 AM   #9
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I just booked a week in April in Homestead for a week of scuba diving out of Key Largo. Pennekamp state park had sites available but nothing for a week straight. Most I saw was three days. Are you open to breaking down and moving after a few days? I'm not. Ended up getting a place in Homestead about 30 miles from Key Largo on the mainland. Good news was the site was 1/2 the price of any campground in the Keys, if you can find one. Not very many left and they are high dollar. Works for us as we will dive out of Key Largo as well as Miami/Biscayne Bay and hopefully spend a day in the Everglades looking for gators. Last Christmas we stayed in a hotel in Gainesville and dove several Hot Springs in the lower Bend area, including Manatee State Park. Beautiful place! It was about 1/3 full the week after Christmas. As for the weather, I have been to south Florida three times in the summer. Twice as a kid and once with my kid (Disney) NEVER AGAIN! Its hot and humid and absolutely miserable. I went to a fire fighting school in Ft. Lauderdale in April a few years ago. It was mostly nice as long as I wasn't wearing my gear and standing inside a steel box on fire. I spent a summer working in The Gulf and making port in Tampa. Ask for and got a transfer after 3 months. Did I forget to mention its Hot and Miserable. Beautiful and nice in the winter but April or May is about as late as I'll go there.
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Old 12-21-2014, 10:04 PM   #10
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Just returned from the Keys

Well, we are back from spending a week at Curry Hammock State park on Marathon Key FL. The weather was GREAT, it was in the mid 70's all week with the night temps around mid 50's to 60ish. The heat came on a few times each night. The park is well maintained and CLEAN. So we will TRY to book another week next December.

Our 5th wheeler neighbor at Curry Hammock spent the preceding week at a state park on Long Key and he accidentally left one of his storage doors open over night, while there. So far he has caught 4 rats in his 5th wheeler and thinks there may be 1 or 2 more hiding out. As we were leaving last Thursday, we stopped to dump the tanks and he came walking by with a rat still on the trap, that was over a foot long not including the tail which was about another foot or so.. he said it was about 3 pounds.

Researched Long Key and they do have a rat infestation issue. The Keys are also being over-run by iguanas. We had a resident one on our site that was BRIGHT green and about 18" long. Had to keep an eye on the dogs.

Key west has their own issues with a ROOSTER problem... they are everywhere, yes even in Bo's the open air fish and chips restaurant.. where they joined us for lunch, but they were OK with us.

All in all, it was a GREAT time. Next trip takes us to Chicago next June to visit family, then to Nashville for a week and from there to Hiawassee GA in the Blue Ridge Mountains for 3 months.

Even us Floridians have to head south for the winter... it gets cold here in Clearwater Beach area. (ex-northern Illinois person.. no more SNOW for me)

Happy Holidays to ALL!

Don
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