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Old 10-13-2013, 07:49 AM   #1
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clancythecamper's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Florida
Posts: 702
Checking out places to camp :)

DH and I have just returned home from a lovely week in the Florida Keys We were staying with family in a time share on Key Largo. Of course I have always wanted to find a nice RV park with great views of the water, nice trees, and fun things to do so the Keys seemed like a great option. It was a long ride down there, and I can imagine that pulling the camper wouldn't feel any shorter, but we proceeded to snoop around anyway.

IF you have a boat, the upper keys are probably wonderful. IF you have money to go out on the snorkel and dive boats, they are also pretty great. If you are landlocked, however, not so much. We spent more on this vacation than we had hoped and while we enjoyed time with family and seeing new things, I found that the Upper keys just don't have my idea of fun I do have to say, John Pennekamp was a very nice state park and have snorkel and dive opportunities from within the park. It was nicely kept and had great trees. We also stopped at Long Key SP and were not impressed with their campsites at all. Too close to the road, small sites for our taste. Lots of smaller and Mom and Pop places, some good, some goofy, some I wouldn't use the restroom at. There is a nice big Encore around Sunshine Key? I think I saw that one from the road and it looked nice. Didn't see Boyd's.

Now, Key West? That's another story altogether! I loved Key West. The funky little shops and eateries were neat; we skipped the bar scene completely and were thankful it was a quiet week there, we also did the ghost tour (goofy, not worth the money) and the conch train tour (not user friendly and they stopped running too early) I think there's a trolley that would have worked better for us. There are lots of little manmade beaches around the keys but the best of all that we found was Smathers Beach which, of course, we found literally as we were driving out of town. Ugh!

I realize that we are more "miles of white sand" beach people so we were actually looking forward to coming home and stopping at the Red Coconut in Fort Myers as you can park your rig right on the front row with an ocean view. Sooooo......

When we left, we were very happy to stop at the Red Coconut Until we got there...... Can you say parking lot? AND the biggest letdown of all was the fact that you almost always have to back into a space, if it isn't a pull through, of course, and the front row would have been perfect for our large back window, to sit inside and enjoy the beach and water views, except, that they have you pull straight in The utilities and patios are for pullins as well so backing in isn't even an option. So, let me get this straight, I'm driving pulling the camper for 3 hours to park in a wall to wall parking lot, no amenities at all, not even a bathhouse, to park with no view I could see from inside my camper, and paying $107 a night off season? Uh, no.

Now the good news. We had it made all along The places we go in Bradenton and Sarasota are now officially the best Turtle Beach is amazing if you want to be on the beach; granted, I can't see the water from my campsite but at $40 a night it's within a few hundred feet. The beaches there suit me just fine; Lido isn't far away if you want the pretty whitest possible sand, but the sand at Turtle Beach is just fine. I will continue to look for other options, but I'm feeling pretty good about our normal haunts and hangouts. I have to say that after driving down to the keys, I probably would not camp there. Too long a haul for us ~ I'd prefer a B&B.

Looking forward to a great camping season
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