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Old 10-17-2018, 09:25 AM   #1
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Suggestions for short visit to Key West

Sherry and I will have a few days to kill in Florida next week and would like to head down to Key West. Before I start down the Google hole, thought I'd reach out here to see if folks here had any recommendations for van travelers. Are there campgrounds or RV parks down there? We don't need any hookups and I'd fully expect higher prices down there. Also hit me with motel recommendations in case we decide to go for some creature comforts for a few days.

Thanks.
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:23 AM   #2
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Here you go, From Largo to KW
Key Largo: John Pennekamp Sp, this will be booked solid up to a year in advance, monitor Reserve America EVERYDAY and look for someone to cancel. 5 stars
Key Largo Campground. Very small usually full 3 stars
Long Key:Long Key SP same a Pennekamp 5 stars
Fiesta Key: Fiesta Key Resort Fricken dump 0 stars
Key Marathon: Curry Hammock SP our fav, same as Pennekamp 5 stars
Bahia Honda: Bahia Honda SP very very hard to get in same as Pennekamp monitor Reserve America this is the park with the famous railroad bridge in all the pix 5 star
Big Pine Key: Sunshine Key Campground small sites a few on the water 3 stars
Big Pine KOA just a field with no shade take plenty of bug spray, next to a mangrove swamp and the no-see-ums will eat you alive 2 stars
Key West:Boyds Campground used to be nice but they cut all their sites in half to make more money our site was so small I couldnt open the rear doors on my van
Another note: The Keys were severly damaged in Hurricane Irma Bahia Honda was almost wiped off the map, same as Curry Hammock. If you plan to camp make sure your van or tent has no-see-um screening, they can fly right through regular screen and they are nasty they will tear you up and you wont even see whats biting you, also alot of crime because of Irma, a lot of people are still out of work and tons of debris in the water and canals
Sorry to sound like a bummer just monitor Reserve America everyday, Good luck,safe travels.
The red tide has taken out the whole west coast south of and including Tampa. We have been to every SP in Fl. some of our favorites:
Anastaisa SP, St Aug.
Sebastian Inlet SP
DeSoto Park in St Pete
Silver Springs SP, Ocala
Hope this helps, Florida camping is specialized like desert camping if you go unprepared it can be a disaster, any questions give me a shout.
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:32 AM   #3
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If you're discreet you can sneek a few nights. I've spent many many weeks in the Keys.
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Old 10-18-2018, 08:29 AM   #4
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FlipperFla: Thanks for the thoroughly awesome list of camping in the keys. Boyds seems to have availability on this short notice, and their website at least is honest about campsite size (published dimensions & pics).

Bbasso: We sleep up in the pop-up penthouse, so not very discreet.
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:24 AM   #5
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Great! Some places you might want to see. In Islamorada right next to Worldwide Sportsman there is a restaurant on the gulf side called Lorelei favorite of the locals. Best Rumrunners in the Keys.
Marathon for lunch check out the 7 Mile Grill this is where all the railroad workers ate when building the origional 7 mile bridge lots of cool pix on the walls, another great place is the Sunset Grill it is located right before you start over the 7 mile bridge on the ocean side, fantastic view.
Half way across the bridge is Bahia Honda SP.
This is a must..... Once you get across the bridge and to Big Pine Key take a Dive/Snorkle trip to Looe Key it is a reef about 5 miles offshore. I have been a diver most of my life and this is the premier reef in the whole chain, you will be totally amazed with the beauty and the fish life Absolutely Fantastic. A MUST SEE!!!!
In Key West when you are on Duvall St. Check out Captain Tonys Saloon. There is a tree in the middle of the bar. This is where they used to hang the pirates, some are buried under the floor where your sitting on your bar stool.
If you like treasure stories check out Mel Fishers Treasure Museum this is the guy who found the treasure ship Atocha.
And the famous Sloppy Joes for your t shirt and a pix! (Captian Tonys was the origional Sloppy Joes.)
And most of all HAVE FUN AND BE SAFE!
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:43 PM   #6
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One more thing Boyds is on a small island that is just before KW, called Stock Island, there are no campgrounds on the Island of KW. Your are probably going to have to take a taxi to Duvall St. unless you love to walk. We used to rent a scooter before we bought our own so you can cruise and check out the whole island, thats the ticket. Bikes would also be a good option.
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:48 AM   #7
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Hey FlipperFla,

Thanks for the additional 411 on the Keys and Florida State Parks.

Got one night at Pennekamp SP reserved (next Wed) and thought we'd get two nights at Boyds (Thur/Fri) as their website showed availability. But when I called they said they were requiring 5 night minimums due to Fantasy Fest on Key West. Said they might stop that restriction as the dates became closer.

Everything else in Keys was booked or closed due to Irma damage.

Booked two nights at KOA in Ft Lauderdale as a backup, and am checking for cancellations each morning. Scored a Thursday reservation this morning at Hammock SP. Friday will be a tougher date, but will keep checking.

--Joe
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:09 AM   #8
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For something a little different... I just booked a few nights on a sailboat on Arbnb. It is moored in a nice marina right in Key West. My trip is the first week in December.
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Old 10-20-2018, 01:42 PM   #9
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Fantacy Fest is KWs Mardi Gras. The place will be a three ring circus! KW is usually a day trip for us.Thats great you got into Pennekamp and Curry Hammock, keep watching they pop up all the time. We were just trying to figure out where to go for my b-day on Nov 4. Lots of our local favs are out because of red tide, now its coming up the East Coast, big fish kill in Cocoa Beach yesterday. We just got back from a month long trip to Colorado, Wyoming and S.Dakota so I am sort of burnt out for another long run so soon.We were considering The Smoky's, was surfin Reserve America trying to come up with ideas and hit the jackpot....Curry Hammock!!! 5 days.... 3rd-8th. Shit, I better go buy a lottery ticket also! Packing up and gettin ready all day.
I dont know which way your comming down you will have 19 on the west coast then south of Naples you cut across the state on Alligator Alley. 75 (turnpike, tolls) and 95 on the east coast. 75 and 95 are Floridas “roads of death” LOL! Another way to get to the Keys is when you get to I-4 take 27 south down through the center of the state through Sebring and then to the east side off Lake O, stay on 27 south then Rt 997 south then a straight shot down to Homestead to US 1 straight down to Key Largo. This is the secret back way where you bypass Miami. 27 is mostly two lane back country road through farmland, if you have the time and want to see what Fl used to look like in the old days. This is the way we always go, lot slower and more enjoyabe. My van dosent do well crusin 80 when its loaded.
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Old 10-20-2018, 04:29 PM   #10
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Well we've been on the road for 5 weeks and 7000 miles with the GPS set to "Avoid Interstates and Major Highways", so recommendations for backroads and smaller highways are welcome.

Yeah, we plan to hi KW as a daytrip with a verry early departure from one of our camps. Two questions about KW. Heard it was possible to drive out to Mile Marker 0 at the end of the keys and snap a pic. That true? Also is there parking available (paid ok) within walking distance of Duvall St?

Your suggestions have been much appreciated.

--Joe
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