As of yet we are not moving a significant amount between each stay, but given how short many of our stops are we still manage to cover a lot of ground. Since our last significant post from Bahia Honda we have moved five times; sliding 20 miles up the coast to Jolly Roger Travel Park in Marathon, just a few miles beyond that to Long Key State Park, a significant haul to the Everglades National Park, a one night stay in Coral Springs in Xavier and Joy’s driveway, and finally across to the Gulf Coast and a wonderful two night stay at Periwinkle Park and Campground on Sanibel Island.
Part of our plan is to maintain a rapid, short stay pace as long as we are in South Florida so that we can explore and compare RV sites for next winter when we intend to stay longer in each location. Our research and past weekend trips really helped us avoid pitfalls and bad experiences. So far we have enjoyed nearly all of the campgrounds. Only the Everglades was a disappointment, largely because we were not prepared for this type of stay.
Jolly Roger: This was our second stay at this wonderful private park, having been introduced to it during a rally put on by the Sunshine Statesmen in May of last year. It did not disappoints, and after “roughing” in Bahia Honda with no internet or TV, it was nice to hook up the cable for a few shows and access the parks internet, which by RV park standards was reasonably fast and reliable. Our Passport America discount really made this place worth it, and we will definitely be back for a stay next year. The PA discount is only good for a maximum of five days in any six month period, so we will maximize that next winter.
Long Key State Park: What a pleasure! Though we only had two nights, and had to move each day, this is a wonderful place with all of the sites right on the ocean’s edge. Like Bahia Honda it is one of the more expensive Florida State Parks ($43 per night after taxes and fees), but given the location and view onto the water from our front window, it is tough to beat such a place. Reservations are tough here, we only managed to get in on a cancellation, but we will try to lock in a five or six day stay next winter.
Everglades National Park, Flamingo Campground: OK, this park is huge, it was a 40 mile drive to the campground after we had already entered the park! Unlike the FL State Parks, the entrance fee ($10) is not included in the nightly campground fee, so that increased the cost per night a bit, and if this is the way all the national parks work I will have to invest in an annual pass. The downside is that this park is almost like drycamping with power: no water hook ups, the shower facilities are poorly lit, dank, and without hot water. The mosquitos were relentless, and many of the great things to see were just a bit to far to walk. Bottom line: we were not prepared. Staying here requires a screened in enclosure to enjoy the outside, and a tow vehicle to get to the many many wonderful spots. Perhaps next year we will give it another go if we feel up to it, but for now we will simply remember the wonderful day trips we have taken to the Everglades before moving into the motorhome. We cut short our planned three night stay and headed over to Xavier and Joy’s to take care of a few pending things before heading to the Gulf Coast.
Xavier and Joy’s driveway, Coral Springs: One of our favorite spots! The hosts are so accommodating and the facilities immaculate! Availability is very limited, so we could only manage a one night stay, heh.
Periwinkle Park and Campground on Sanibel Island: So far this is our favorite private park. A wonderful sense of community, beautiful facilities, fantastic location, a short bike ride to a shell covered beach, wonderful sunsets, what more could you want? It is, however, very difficult to get reservations. We managed to get in for two nights using our standard “check every day for cancellations” method, but we had hoped to be able to reserve a week or two next year when we return to Florida. Unfortunately, this place is so popular, and the regulars so committed, that you really have to work yourself into a stay. The owners told us outright that they re-book all the regulars automatically, and that our only option for a winter visit is to start calling or emailing starting in October for January or February cancellations. Just like Bahia Honda, this will be a tough place to secure reservations, but we will be persistent.