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Thread: FL Keys Campground?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    3

    Default FL Keys Campground?

    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum but not a total forum newb so I'll apologize in advance if this is not the correct forum to post this question in.

    My daughter and I will be taking our newly purchased 87 Westy to the Florida Keys in the next few months and want to stay in a campground while there. The problem is I've no idea which one to or ones to choose. I've tried sites like Tripadvisor etc, but I'd prefer referrals from other Westy owners.

    Also, I have some questions about camping gear etc, if there is someone out there who has experience with camping in Florida and also has some gear suggestions I'd be happy to have a PM from them.

    Thanks!

    Lana Banana

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    SE PA
    Posts
    64

    Default

    We did that trip two years ago (Feb. & Mar.), stopping in Marathon to stay with friends moored in Boot Key harbor. IMHO, none of the campgrounds we saw along A1A in the Keys were worth stopping for. There's no shade, the RV's and trailers were so close together there wasn't room enough to step outside to change your mind. [/shudder] Suck it up and try motels instead. Honest.

    One campground you should not miss is Everglades National Park. We planned to just through and spent three days there instead. Also, further north, the camp ground next to the St. Augustine lighthouse is one of the best we stayed at, period.

    Gear... Aside from a good power cord (and an adapter for the occasional "RV park" plug-ins (stop at an RV dealer for this adapter) and a good hose with a pressure reducer (some parks have really high pressure, 45 psi is all you need), everything else is whatever you need to enjoy the trip, cook, eat, wash up, and so on. You can add awnings, etc. but so far they strike us as more work than they're worth. YMMV.

    Bottom line: Follow Henry David Thoreau: simplify, simplify, simplify.

  4. #3

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    Boondock for Westies on the beach.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
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    Default

    Thanks RBE! We'll be sure to stop in the Everglades!

    LanaB

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    SE PA
    Posts
    64

    Default Places to see in a Westy

    IIRC, the Anhinga Trail (might be the wrong name) is the trail with a raised "boardwalk" through a part of the swamp that will almost certainly take you past (and safely over) lots of alligators. Be sure to take one of the ranger-guided tours to really understand what the "river of grass" is all about. One surprise gotcha: at the trail head parking lot, you'll see signs warning about buzzards or vultures tearing car windshield wipers and window trim. Believe it! (black rubber looks to them like stuff to eat - the worry isn't bird poop) The good news is the NPS has lockers with tarps and bungee cords to cover your vehicle. Our Westy needed two tarps to do the job. If you can, look for the silver tarps to keep the interior a little cooler.

    Buy a NPS pass! It works for Yorktown NP, the castillo at St. Augustine, etc., etc. Another good, and perhaps not so well known, stop is the small fort at Fort Matanzas, south of St. Augustine. You have to take an NPS ferry to the fort (covered in the park fee) - the park ranger on our ride gave a superb five minute history of the economics in Europe that drove much of the early history of the area and (what would become) the US. I really, really wish I'd taped it to go through the fine points.

    Jumping around, first off, there's a very good campground at the upper end of Amelia Island (near Fernandina Beach - nice town with excellent restaurants- don't let the paper mill and cellulose plants put you off). Check out Fort Clinch on St. Marys Inlet (if you're really lucky, you may see a submarine arriving or departing Kings Bay naval base). Heading south down A1A, and just after crossing Ft. George Inlet, look for the signs to Kinglesy Planation NP. This is not your typical Gone With The Wind ante-bellum plantation. Take time to look at the slave quarters area. Chilling...

    Take the ferry across the St. Johns River, it's a short but fun ride. Ask about the famous seafood restaurant just after you get off the ferry on the south side. Speaking of ferries, keep in mind that Westys are not RV's. This is good news, as in a number of places, RV prices are high than for non-RV's.

    Jumping around again, Jekyll Island and the Millionaires Club area is an interesting visit $5 to drive onto the island). OTOH, the camp ground at the north end is another "so crowded you can't step outside to change your mind" place. In general, private operations are like that, state and national parks are much better on that score.

    If at all possible, stick with US 17 and A1A. It's easy Westy driving and you'll see far more than dragging down I-95. And gas prices are much lower away from I-95 exits.

    Here's a great, off the beaten path, idea. Once you get to Florida City and are about to head towards Key Largo (it's big and no water views - hardly what you expect for the Keys), turn left on to Fl 905A (Card Sound Rd). Just before you get to the Card Sound Bridge, on the right is Alabama Jacks. It's sooooo "welcome to the Keys!" We met the owner in the Abacos and he said "if you ever stop by, drinks are on me." (!!!) We stopped there, asked for Mike - no Mike, he took the day off, and still got comped! [/happy rum punch grin]

    Enough travelogue... PM me if you want more ideas.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Wow, awesome info! Thanks!

    I originally am from a mill town, Port Townsend WA so paper mills don't bother me. Figure out which way the wind blows and stay upwind is all you need to do.

    I am really excited about this first trip in my Westy. Hopefully my daughter and I can find someone who wants a ride from New Mexico to Florida to help with the gas on the way. If not it will just take a little longer to save for the trip.


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