A Florida Keys Camping Vacation
Often Includes Best Florida Beaches
Planning a Florida Keys camping vacation is one of the more exciting trips you can coordinate.
For your convenience we've provided a detailed description of the better Florida Keys campgrounds further below.
The best part of camping Florida Keys is that not only are you able to be outside enjoying nature in a variety of spectacular settings, there's so many fun Florida Keys things to do.
There's also a number of built-in perks you simply can't get when camping or RV'ing any place else.
The combination of wildlife, crystal clear multi-hued water, palm trees, gentle breezes, and warm sunshine, make camping in Florida Keys totally unique.
There's also the abundant water which is a mesmerizing magnet. At many Florida Keys RV parks and campgrounds you'll find that your rig is parked with the water at 'your back door' making this a true Florida beach camping experience.
Fishing at Sunset
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection
In other instances, you'll be totally surrounded by the water. The perks include being able to walk out to your boat from your rig, then head off for a day of Florida Keys fishing, diving or snorkeling.
If you're in the mood to just hang out and enjoy the view and fresh air, you can while away the better part of an afternoon listening to your favorite tunes or reading.
It's also relaxing to grab a pair of binoculars and watch for birds. The air, the water and the banks are home to a vast number of species. You can also keep a watch out for Florida manatee near mangrove lined banks, or enjoy dolphin playing offshore.
Plus when the day is done, nothing is more enjoyable than watching the sun slowly dip it's head into the ocean, in a blaze of fiery gold and red.
Just make sure you've brought a good camera along, because the sunsets are famously breathtaking.
Another thing about a Florida Keys camping vacation is that you have a chance to make new friends, try new things and see new sights. Often the Florida Keys campgrounds and RV parks have planned activities or events. Some are within the Florida RV park, while others are coordinated outings you can join in.
Getting to know your 'neighbors' also means that you can pick up all kinds of great local information about Florida Keys things to do. They'll tell you what's good, what's not, what's worth your time and money, and what to avoid.
Key West Sun Dips It's Head into the Water
Courtesy of My Key West Photograph
Florida Camping vs RV'ing
Campers and RV'ers are perhaps the friendliest people on earth. Traditionally, campers love to help each other out, and this special camaraderie or bond that RV'ers share, is unlike any other. Often these friendships outlast many others, and the common tie of RV'ing is the unity that binds you together through the decades and life's milestones.
There's also a big difference between camping and RV'ing. Campers love to rough it. The idea of being one with nature, living life more rugged, is what appeals most.
Florida Keys Camping Is a Natural Experience
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dept of Commerce Collection
Campers don't care if they have their own ‘private potty'. They don't care if they have a microwave or built-in washer/dryer combo. TV's and other modern conveniences found in RV's are a distraction from the true camping experience.
Campers simply want to be outdoors, have a warm and dry place to sleep, and a place where they can cook their meals, and clean up. They leave their modern homes to experience a simpler life in the great Florida outdoors.
RV'ers on the other hand live for convenience. They enjoy being outside, but not at the sacrifice of being without the 'comforts of home.' The idea of traveling with all the amenities you enjoy is what appeals to RV'ers most.
Most RV'ers also have pets. Traveling with a pet and staying in Florida Keys hotels and motels is not easy. However, when you're RV'ing, it's seamless. Like you, your pet is right at home with their favorite toys, treats and bed, plus they're safe.
However, don't forget that most of your favorite travel companions also like to explore nature. Make sure you've brought along travel gear for your four legged friend, so they can take part in your Florida Keys adventure.
Florida Keys Camping & What To Expect
For your convenience, I've included both Florida Keys campgrounds and Florida Keys RV parks. I've also chosen not to list every facility that exists. Those not included lack important services, or have extremely limited availability even during off season. Others are predominantly mobile home parks, while others have restrictions exceeding the scope of reason for someone planning a Florida Keys camping vacation.
With years of camping and RV'ing under my belt, I know what to look for and what to avoid. My husband and I have had quick, weekend getaways, and we've full timed. We've crisscrossed this continent many times, and experienced amazing sights and places. However, the Florida Keys is always special, and nothing quite compares to a Florida Keys camping vacation.
Enjoying A Florida Keys Sunset Over the Ocean From The RV
When it comes to camping in the Florida Keys, there are some things you should know however. This region consists of narrow islands, which means land is at a premium. This is not Texas or Montana, so most campsites will be narrow in comparison.
Before making your reservations you'll need to confirm with each campground that your rig will fit. If you're 35' or longer, or have slides on both sides, you may have issues. You'll need to discuss your size with the campground so they can find a site that will accommodate you. If they can't, you'll need to call another Florida Keys RV park that can.
Since land is at a premium, there are also fewer Florida Keys campgrounds or RV parks. Conversely, this is
the Florida Keys, so there are lots of campers and RV'ers wanting reservations. Some of these campgrounds are booked months or even a year in advance.
This means you need to do some serious preplanning or go when it's not peak season. From January - April it's almost impossible to find a campsite without plenty of advance notice. December can be a bit challenging and so can May. However, from June - November Florida Keys camping gets easier, and you'll typically be able to go where you want, with minimal or no notice.
Another factor you need to be aware of are the bugs. When you're Florida Keys camping or RV'ing you're in more natural settings. Mosquitoes and no-see-ums can be a tremendous problem. Bug spray and bug zappers like these below can help - in fact they can be a life saver as my husband will attest.
On one Florida Keys RV trip, we didn't have our no-see-um spray along, and my husband got eaten alive trying to unhook the morning we were leaving. We ended up dragging our electrical cord through the RV park out to Highway 1 in an attempt to get away from those nasty biters!
Like any place else, you'll notice that amenities vary from one campground to anothe. Some of the Florida Keys campgrounds will have grass or a concrete pad that will serve as your patio, while others will be sandy.
If you're not already aware, the sand in Florida and the Florida keys can be quite fine, and it seems to find it's way into everything. This can be hard on your carpet or laminate flooring in the RV.
For convenience sake so you're not spending all your time cleaning up sand, it's advisable to have a broom and an outdoor carpet or rug with you. This makes it possible to easily keep your outdoor sitting area tidy so your pets, and rig interior stay cleaner.
If you're traveling with pets, you'll also need to confirm that your pet will be welcome. From Central Florida south, they are much stickier on what they will accept when it comes to pets.
Breed, size and number of pets can be a real issue with some Florida Keys campgrounds and RV parks. You don't want to make your reservations and travel all the way down to your Key West campground to find out that Fido or Fidette are not welcome.
You'll also need to bring current pet vaccination records with you. Many campgrounds insist on having these on file during your stay, as a protective measure and insurance requirement.
Finnegan, Simon, and Pumpkin Playing On A Florida Beach
Florida Keys Camping Destinations
To help you plan accordingly, I've broken Florida Keys camping down by region going from Key Largo
to Key West. Also, the Florida Keys RV parks and campgrounds are listed geographically north to south.
As you progress south on US Highway 1, the mile marker numbers decrease numerically. They continue counting down until you reach the frequently photographed MM "0" sign in Key West.
This mile marker navigation system makes it exceptionally easy to find your way around this long chain of islands, and is how most businesses identify their location.
Famous Mile Marker 0 in Key West FL
The other address identifier that's popular in the Florida Keys is to indicate whether they're located Ocean side (Atlantic) or Bay side (Florida Bay). This will help you know which side of the road to watch, as signs can be difficult to spot in the Florida Keys.
Key Largo Camping
. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
. Key Largo Kampground and Marina
. Calusa Campground Resort and Marina
. Point of View Key Largo RV Resort
. Riptide RV Park
Marathon Florida Camping
. Fiesta Key RV Resort
. Long Key State Park
. Jolly Roger Travel Park
. Grassy Key RV Park and Resort
. Curry Hammock State Park
. Knights Key RV Resorts & Marina
Big Pine Key & Lower Keys RV Parks
. Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina
. Bahia Honda Key State Park
. Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge
. Sugarloaf Key West KOA
. Lazy Lakes RV Resort
Key West Camping
. Bluewater Key RV Resort
. Geiger Key Marina RV Park
. Boyd’s Key West Campground
. El Mar RV Resort
. Leo’s Campground
Dry Tortugas National Park
Camping Dry Tortugas is as primitive as it gets. There's basically nothing here but nature, so you're going to have to pack in what you need to stay comfortable. This means bringing your own food and water, music to listen to, fuel, camping gear and other essentials.
Ground campfires are not permitted, and since there is no fresh water, no showers are available at the Dry Tortugas. However, for camper use only, saltwater flush toilets have been provided for camper convenience.
When Dry Tortugas camping, you are also responsible for hauling out your trash. It's important that you leave the area as clean and undisturbed as possible.
Access to this pristine camping area is also limited to Dry Tortugas ferry or seaplane.
All these Florida camping sites are on a first come, first serve basis. There are 13 primitive Dry Tortuga camp sites, with 11 of them being able to accommodate 3 tents and 6 people. There's also a large communal group area that requires reservations and it can accommodate 10 - 40 people.
The drawing card for the
Dry Tortugas National Park
is it's isolation and natural beauty, plus the area's turtles. Fort Jefferson is also here and is another major, historical Florida Keys attraction.
The water surrounding the Dry Tortugas National Park has become quite protected and there are restrictions on Florida Keys fishing
. If you want to dive or snorkel Dry Tortugas you'll find it's prohibited in certain areas as well. Strong currents are also present and so caution must be exercised.
You'll need to confirm your activities plan with the Park Ranger to make sure you're compliant with the National Park rules while camping at Dry Tortugas.
Florida Camping Goes Hand in Hand With Music
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Photographer Joseph Janney Steinmetz
I believe you'll find that the list of Florida Keys campgrounds and RV parks we've included is a good mix of choices to accommodate almost any style of camping.
I know that you'll make some new friends, and that you'll also try new and exciting things. There's something else I'm certain of - you'll hate to go. No doubt you'll begin planning your next Florida Keys camping vacation the moment you leave.
Happy Trails to you!