One of the bucket list destinations for many is the Florida Keys. Located off the southern tip of Florida the island chain is connected to the mainland by US 1 and a series of bridges. The only tropical paradise that is accessible by car in the United States this is a major destination for winter visitors fleeing the frost and cold of northern states and during the summer by regional vacationers heading to less humid and hot environs.
CampgroundViews.com has video of nearly every single campgorund and RV park on the Florida Keys including locations in all of the major destinations like Key Largo, Marathon, Big Pine Key, Stock Island/ Key West. The big question everyone has is what campgrounds are located on Key West? The answer is: outside of the military owned locations there are no publicly available campsites on Key West. If you want to discover more secrets about camping in the Florida Keys and Key West check out this 12 minute recording of a webinar presented by CampgroundViews.com founder and CEO Mark Koep.
The following is the transcript of text from the video:
Hello I am Mark Koep with CampgroundViews.com. Today I will bring you some tips on how to discover the Florida Keys in your RV. First place to start is CampgroundViews.com you noticed I’ve searched for the Florida Keys but that’s not really a good way to start out. You want to search Islamorada or one of the other island names to start out your query
once you get in there change the radius out to one hundred miles and you’ll see why those two things are important number one the Florida Keys are an island chain so it’s not a city and it is not a state.
You can’t search key largo (meant Florida Keys) We have to search the names of the different islands Key Largo Tavernier, Islamorada Duck Key in all the way out to Key West you got Big Pine Key right there that’s an important once because there are number of parks in that area on marathon there are a number of parks getting to the Florida Keys is a big question. Why do you go to the Florida Keys well if it is the winter time you’re usually leaving somewhere north of here heading down to the warm weather in the summertime the Keys are also popular.
It’s mostly for folks from this area (Miami) getting out of that hot humid mess and down into a little bit cooler humid mess so the Keys are popular both summer and winter. Winter being the primary season. A lot of these parks actually do very well during the summer time with locals coming down there. So we are headed down to the keys how do you get here?
The easiest way is the most direct route of Ii-95. Take it straight down go along the coast through Daytona Beach down to Miami and out to the Florida Keys if you don’t like traffic and want to get a more scenic route some of these interior routes thru Florida offer you a unique perspective on the state and little bit prettier drive and less trafficked also. Thru Sebring around Lake Okeechobee this US 27 drops down and you can actually drop right into almost Homestead you can come down the back road here lets zoom in to give you a better shot this US 27 come straight down taper off on this 997 here and it runs right along the Everglades straight down into Homestead and allows you access to the keys that’s a better route if you’re in our RV and don’t want to deal with the traffic that takes place out on the highways here through Miami.
Once to the Keys the only route is the US 1 from Homestead once you get on the highway here this is it you’re going in alternatively you can take the side roads this Card Sound Road out through Key Largo there is a toll through that route so you have to pay a little bit but it offers an alternative especially if the US 1is backed up due to an accident or something like that There is not a lot of camping up in this region here this North Key Largo it’s a little bit more remote little bit more natural coming down onto the Keys you will be going over a series of bridges that’s what the highway US 1 is through the Keys it’s a series of bridges all the way out to Key West and you follow the route of the original train setup that got to Key West and you’ll see that on your drive going out here.
Now for camping ideas where to stay where to stay in what we The first thing to realize about the Florida Keys is it is very expensive compared to everywhere else. Why is that there’s very little real estate so property values are high and there’s a huge demand for sites don’t be surprised if rates are $2,500 a month plus forRV sites some of these sites can run up to $5,000 a month range during peak season so where do we stay where should you stay
There are a number of private RV parks and campgrounds all along the Florida Keys. Can I recommend anyone of them? Not really depends on your needs your budget and you. Where you want to stay if you’re going down for the first time? Generally you want to stay in three spots beginning middle and again out at the end. Allows you to take in the whole area without having to drive the route the problem with US 1 through the Keys is that the speed limit is pretty low anywhere from 35 to 45 miles an hour there are sections were it bumps up to 55 but overall it’s just two lanes of traffic one lane in each direction and not a lot of passing zones so it takes about an hour hour and a half to get from Largo to Key West and that’s if you’re lucky so you want to stay in the three areas to experience without having to worry about driving back and forth along the road.
State Parks in the Florida Keys have some of the most beautiful state parks in the country. Right here we have Long Key State Park you’ve also got several other parks out along the water and to see an example on Curry Hammock State Park a beautiful State Park. Long Key Pine campground that is actually not even out there that is right here in the everglades so ignore that one and where to stay.
First stop Key Largo There are a number of campgrounds in Key Largo I just left them all because I switched pages on you. The first I like to recommend is the state park even if you don’t stay John Pennekamp. Still go into John Pennekamp why you can hop on a boat that takes you out to the coral reefs located along the shoreline here in the Florida Keys. There is camping and John Pennekamp is not the most scenic campgrounds are kind of tucked back in there but you’re in the park and there are trails and there’s kayaking plus access to the boats in the Mangroves So from a camping perspective it is not exactly super scenic as you can see the tent sites kind of in the trees and nothing really spectacular. We have a video on this one but that’s great spot if you wanna go check out the coral reefs otherwise you do have private campgrounds located along here Kings Camp is a popular location also Key Largo Campground and Marina a few of these are more of seasonal long-term sites in his Carefree Resorts for example have long-term guests but overall most of these parks have short-term sites and have availability depending on the month or week. Just call ahead and find out if there is a spot.
Next spot to consider stopping is out near Marathon. There are a number of campgrounds along here and there’s also one that is an Encore park located on Sunset Key the reason I mention this park is it’s an Encore Park so a lot of folks who have discounts to Encore or 1000 trails it
offers you a discount camping at this location and the location itself is as the name suggests a Key. It is an island and the RV park is situated on that island. There are both seasonal sites short-term sites as you can see from the satellite view the whole RV park takes up all the land mass of the island. They have seasonal sites along the marina here there’s a boat launch you can hop in your kayak paddle out into this channel there is a current here in this channel you go underneath the bridge paddle right around and you can hit the beaches of Bahia Honda.
I mentioned Bahia Honda because there is also a campground here. This is considered one of the prettiest campgrounds in all of American you’ll see pretty pictures from here from people who stay. There is tent sites on the inland side of the island and then RV sites on this end overlooking the old bridge it’s a very scenic spot to camp and very popular for that reason. I will pull up some video so you can see or some photos to give you an idea of what there is to offer here.
Big problem with all the state parks in Florida is that they book the second reservations open it
varies by year but generally it’s about six months out you can book your stay. And there are people who know exactly what dates their are going and at 12:01 a.m. they are on the website booking and reserving their site so if you’re lucky enough to get a site good for you otherwise start looking at some of these private parks that offer you discounted rates.
So that is Sunset Key you can also stay in Marathon.
Marathon is the most active of the Keys city wise there is a lot of shopping groceries food and fuel located on that island. There is also a number of campgrounds One we discovered when we were here this last time is called Bonefish should pull up right there Bonefish Bay this is a newer park and they offer some waterfront sites and seasonal sites but it’s a pretty location it’s a packed gravel and they have a marina its newer so people don’t tend to know about it yet and they were building some additional sites when we were there. You can see it’s not exactly green grass and such but you’re right on the water so that’s an insider tip on location to call again that’s Bonefish Bay RV Park and Motel its a nice little spot now. Tthey have reasonable rates for the Keys, I’ll put that caveat on there, for the Keys. Anywhere else you would freak but for the Keys it is reasonable.
As you head out to Key West now the rates tend to go up. There is some really pretty campgrounds out here um none that I would recommend over the other they’re all really nice.
Question is Key West can I camp and RV in Key West.
The answer is yes in fact there’s a very beautiful campground in Key West right on the water and I’m gonna pull up the satellite view cause we don’t have it listed why don’t we have it listed? Where is it? Somewhere in here. We don’t have it listed because its a military campground. Only retired military can stay at it and that means all of us normal folks don’t get to experience it. Other than that there’s no camping on Key West itself.
Closest camping is on Stock Island there are several choices here Leo’s Campground, Boyd’s Key West and El Mar RV resort. The one I want to show you real fast is the ElMar this one is probably one of the more exclusive RV parks in the Keys and that’s primarily because there’s only 10 full hookup sites but the sites themselves all back up to the water nice paved concrete pads and pretty exclusive little location that is ELMar RV resort and that one is out just past Boyds Key West off the 1. Now Boyds is a very popular spot you’ve probably heard of it if you’re headed
to the Keys lot of folks stay there it’s a large site a large location the sites themselves are a bit packed in there but we see some big rigs that pull into there.
Then there’s Leo’s. Leo’s is best suited to folks with smaller RVs. This overhead shot kind of gives you an idea but if you go down and watch our video you will see what I means They use a shoe horn to get these rigs in here so it’s very tight nice thing about it is it’s right behind some restaurants right here on the road plus you can hop on your bike cross at the light right here and then you’re on a bike path into Key West so those three are the closest campgrounds to Key West there are three private RV parks and that is it that’s the Florida Keys not a lot to it.
Basically there’s not a lot to it because they are islands … small space we have all of them listed on the website CampgroundViews.com. You can plan your trip and also find out where you are going to stay on the way down there. We have over 400 parks in Florida on film for you to see and we’re here to help you when you’re planning your trip to Key West.
Hope this has been helpful. If you liked it follow the YouTube channel. We will be posting more of these webinars pretty soon. more of these webinars pretty soon my My name is Mark Koep I am with CampgroundViews.com. Thank you and goodbye