Florida Keys camping - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-20-2013, 10:05 AM   #1
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Florida Keys camping

I have been trying to book a week on one of the Florida State parks located in the Keys for Winter 2014 with no success. Tried Reserve America site for booking these things and being quick on the click at 8:00 in the morning but keep coming up short.

Has anyone booked one of these before.................is there a trick I'm missing? Seems they are always reserved............all the sites.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:42 AM   #2
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Tried the same thing last fall "Same Results" Finally called Florida Parks and was told that the sites in the Keys are taken as soon as the reservation window opens (11 Months in advance) for camping in the winter season. Good Luck Keep Trying
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:11 PM   #3
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We had a site booked this past February at Long Key State Park. Reservations were not being taken for a time due to construction. We found out the day that they would take reservations again, went online and on the phone at 8AM, it was all booked up by 8:15. And after all that we ended up cancelling all the reservations we made in Florida, 13 different state parks, all in February. You may find a few days in the keys in a state park, but probably not when you want. I've heard if you are retired or active military or DOD worker there is a on base campground in the keys that is cheap. The private ones are expensive.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:15 PM   #4
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Thanks Bob.
That spurred me to google..............and.......

Military Campgrounds

May be of interest to others.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:36 PM   #5
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Nobody goes to Florida to camp anymore. It is too crowded.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:27 PM   #6
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Nobody goes to Florida to camp anymore. It is too crowded.
I don't know, maybe we should just call you Yogi!
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:38 PM   #7
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Naval Air Station Key West manages the RV operation. NAS Key West is on Boca Chica a few miles before you get on Key West. It is an operational base and nothing RV related except, perhaps, the auto craft shop and the Navigator Lounge. There are 4 Navy/Coast Guard facilities of interest on Key West proper: Sigsbee; Trumbo/USCG base; Truman Annex (the beach), and the Naval/VA clinic. There is also an Army diving school right across the bay which is neat because you see paratroopers making drops into the water up close.
• Sigsbee is mainly a military housing area for Key West. Since the Key is 2x4 miles, everything is close. Some bike into town but most drive. There is a bus route not far from the gate but it is a long hike to the gate. Sigsbee has: main RV park; commissary; PX; gas station (with diesel) that is big-rig accessible. ITT travel office (discounts on Key West attractions); work-out room; tennis courts; very modern and clean rest rooms and showers in the middle of each park; 3 dump stations; potable water filling stations; laundry facilities; bar/restaurant; play grounds; dog park; marina; water access for wading/snorkeling; vet (for meds); Navy Lodge; and WiFI throughout the park area ($21.95/month) that was very reliable and fast. Propane is delivered on Fridays (sign up in MWR office). The truck comes to your site and you pay by cash, check or credit card.
• Trumbo is close to town and some park there and walk/bike into town. It has some housing. For RVer’s it is the main dry-camp area for those that do not want to rotate to hookup sites. It adjoins the Coast Guard Station and you can drive out on the pier and, during posted hours, fish from the pier (this year it was after 1500). It has a pool. It also has rest rooms and showers and a dump station. Trumbo RV park is not operational in the off season.
• Truman Annex is the military beach with a nice facility that has wifi, snack bar, TV’s, etc.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:44 PM   #8
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Camping: Sigsbee (and Trumbo) do not take reservations (except for active duty). Fear not. They pride themselves on having never turned anyone away. I understand that the 09-10 winter snowbird season was a record with over 500 rigs at one time and no one was turned away! This year the rate was $11/night for dry and $21/night for hookup sites (50 amp at all). The local civilian RV park is $100+ for crowded sites and it is not even on Key West proper!
Follow the directions on the site to the MWR office. This year it closed at 1500. If it is closed, you’ll see a sign in a field that shows overnight parking. You might get lucky and one of the great hosts will stop by and show you to a regular site. We drove through the park area and found an on-duty host so that saved a move.
There are approximately 100 sites with full hookups. The new ones have pads and are located as far East as you can go on Sigsbee. There is a nice laundry and bath facilities there as well as 3 dump stations and potable water filling areas all easily accessible by the biggest of rigs. As you drive to the MWR office you’ll probably see RV’s to your left. These are the other hookup sites. There are 2 “neighborhoods” here nicknamed: “Hollywood” and “The Rock Pile”. Hollywood sites have a pad and more space. Rock Pile sites are close and on crushed coral. 1st row sites face the water. Whenever you start to complain, remember you are paying $21 and at the civilian park they are paying $100+ and are also packed in. Many of the sites in dry camping have gorgeous views of the water…this can be bad with a strong North wind but we were still always glad when we drew a waterfront site in dry camp.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:41 PM   #9
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We have successfully booked reservations at other Florida State Parks in the central and southwest side of the state with no problems. Just seems like the Keys are nearly impossible to catch. Oh well...............I will keep trying for a while at least otherwise we will settle for less popular Parks that are easier to book.

Tim and Janice
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:06 PM   #10
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When I was a kid (40 years ago) we could drive to Pennekamp SP on Key Largo around 10 a.m. and Dad could usually walk up to the entrance building and get a campsite. They would show full if anyone tried to call and reserve a spot, but being there at the right time when campers were checking out would work. I have no idea if this would still work today. But even back then, it was pretty well impossible to get a site farther west in the Keys than Pennekamp.
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:34 PM   #11
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Less popular may not mean they are not as nice. Being right on the water may not always be so great if the weather is bad, or windy. I can't judge as we have not tried any of them, but did make a quick stop at three on the east coast between Fort Pierce and the Georgia border where we had cancelled reservations. We were also going to do a few on the west coast, Henderson, Top Sail, St George. We also cancelled out at Fort Desoto which is a county park on the west coast. I was told recently that Fort Desoto was nice but always a cool wind that made it uncomfortable. Our original plan was a recon mission to determine where we would like to spend some time in the winter, but later decided we were happy at the campground we were at in GA. We have found some YouTube videos that show campgrounds and the sites. Some of them [the videos] are quite good, others just show someone setting up their camp. Reviews can be frustrating to read because opinions are all over the place. And you can't tell much from looking at a map of the campground.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by swenny View Post
I have been trying to book a week on one of the Florida State parks located in the Keys for Winter 2014 with no success. Tried Reserve America site for booking these things and being quick on the click at 8:00 in the morning but keep coming up short.

Has anyone booked one of these before.................is there a trick I'm missing? Seems they are always reserved............all the sites.
We camped in Long Key state park in Oct. 2012. Practically empty and it was real nice. We just pulled in and payed
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:22 AM   #13
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We managed to grab 5 days at Long Key for December 2013. Just lucky. We've enjoyed many of the FL state parks, with only two (Faver-Dykes & Collier Seminole) that we've added to our "Don't go there" list. We keep learning... the latest lesson was, don't book a site at Tomoka (near Daytona Beach) during bike (motorcycle) week.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:52 AM   #14
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Hi: Ron F... Could you elaborate on your "Don't go there" list as we're booked into Collier Seminole for the 1st. two weeks of Feb./2014. Then up to Sebring for 2 wks. then Northward.
All these plans may change if we get a month in a private pk. in the Ft. Myers area.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:21 AM   #15
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collier-seminole

We too are targeting Collier-Seminole State Park for some camping in Winter 2014. Drove through for a little look see a month ago and it all looked nice.............but, what are the negatives we should know about.

Camp sites 1 - 14 are for tents and small trailer/rv's 13' or less. We really liked the privacy of these sites and are thinking of taking a chance with our 16' Scamp and try to squeeze it in there.

Anyway............let us know what your experience was there.

Tim and Janice
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:04 AM   #16
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If you can get one in the 1-14 loop, you're better off, but there'll be more mosquitoes in that section. But that's only a matter of quantity. There are mosquitoes throughout.

The real problem is the restrooms. They were old and falling apart, not to mention, filthy. The higher-numbered section is very crowded.

On the plus side, the Everglades areawesome!

Ron
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:44 PM   #17
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Thanks for the info on Collier-Seminole. I never checked out the bathrooms. We are self contained and may not need the facilities there.

The Everglades are definitely on our radar as we plan to camp there at least a couple of times during winter 2014. We are here for the winter in Florida and have used the opportunity to scope out the many campgrounds we wish to use next year. The Ocala National forest looks very nice but no hook ups available where we want to be, same with the Everglades
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:13 AM   #18
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The Salt Springs CG in Ocala National Forest has hookups, including sewer and it's less expensive than the state parks with a geezer pass. The reservation window is 6 months, instead of 11 for state parks. All the other Ocala NF campgrounds are wilderness.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:05 AM   #19
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Tim...There are no tricks. Craig even called the camp to see if there was a better way and their answer was only that online was more successful than phoning.

FINALLY...after two weeks of hovering at 7:59 ayem, 6 windows open on the computer and family doing same we finally snagged a site for Feb. 2014 at Long Key.

It's like a lottery....ya just gotta keep trying and be as flexible as you can both in the site you will take and the dates you want to be there. Once you hit it you can reserve up to 14 days then figure your actual plan. 18 days later you can call and cancel any of the days you don't want for a $10 fee---read the fine print for details.


Good luck.

Josie
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:23 AM   #20
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Salt Springs

Salt Springs is a great campground....all the hook-ups (including a built in grey water drain if you don't use the slinky) are very conveniently located. The campsites are grassy with the drive paved and plenty large enough for us little guys even so they are close together. If you need the facilities, they are quite nice. Wi-fi is available at "the barn", but we were close enough in the first 3 aisles to pick it up right in the rig. (ooorah)

What makes Salt Springs so spectacular to us is...the Spring. It's magnificent and the water is a comfy 72 all year. You can swim or not, fish or not, boat or not.

As you can tell we loved it.

It's a gem in the Ocala National Forest and the "old geezer" cards makes it a bargain.

The challenge with Collier-Springs is close enough to Miami that it is slam packed on weekends and holidays. The volunteers (who are great, btw) simply cannot keep up with the keeping the facilities clean. During the week in non-peak times it's quiet with the bath house almost always clean even if it's a bit dirt tracked...the sand there is dark and seems to stick to your shoes awfully. What attracted us was the access to the Everglades...the 'Glades are really something special and it made it worth it for us to tolerate the weekend noise and mess.

We also loved Manatee Springs. The access to seeing the Manatees up close was awesome (they are in residence from October thru early April)...you are even allowed to swim in the spring pond and there's scuba diving allowed in the Catfish Hotel Sink that accesses a 5 mile crystal clear cave system (that last from a diver...we're don't scuba )

We've discovered Florida and can't wait to keep exploring.
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