Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reservations, Reservations, Reservations

Although we are still parked at Camp Driveway in California, I am confident we will soon be on our way.

I have been working on our plans for NEXT winter.  We want to go to Florida, and from what I have read on the blogs if you want to stay at State Parks, you really must get your reservations far far in advance.  For some of the parks reservations can be made eleven months in advance, and if you want to get a spot at one in the southern part of the state in late December or January you had better not wait.  They really fill up fast! Some fill in the first seconds they open reservations on the first day!

Picture from the Web.  Doesn't hurt to dream!

I did manage to get two weeks at Long Key State Park.  Not Key West as I had hoped, but the Keys none the less. 
Not us, this picture is from the park Web Site

I also got two weeks in a park  south of Maimi called the John Pennekamp Coral Reef.  We are not divers, but the beach looks pretty good, and maybe we can find some commercial boat tours to take in the area.

For our non-RV friends, the big differences between state parks and commercial RV parks in the Keys are cost and amenities.  In December - January, a spot in a commercial park can cost close to or more than $100 per night.  I checked on the January 2015 monthly rate for one park I was interested in and it was over $2600 plus electricity. 

The state parks cost a little more than $40 per night.  There is a 11% or 12% tax. At the commercial parks you have a sewer hook up.  At the Floriday State Parks you don't.  This simply means you have to drive  to another location in the park about once a week to empty your holding tanks.  We don't mind doing that. 

I have also made one or two week reservations at three other Florida State parks for January 2015:  Johnathan Dickinson, Kissimmee Prairie, and Wekiwa Springs.  I also have all but one week of November covered. 

From what I understand there is no boondocking in Florida in winter. Unless you have friends with an open driveway, or are traveling in a van type class D that can be discreetly parked.  I'm sure we will learn more when we are there, but for next winter I figure it is best to know where we will be staying.

I sometimes get the impression that true boondockers just pull up and park, but the truth is there is a lot of planning that is done there as well. As I read their blogs I catch statements about "checking out" this place or that for future use. Camping on the public lands in the Southwest also seem to take some planning, or at least the willingness to move if the spot they first park in is not right for one reason or another.

I hope that in our future we will explore many different options. Some high end resorts, some Walmart overnights, some Bureau of Land Management or Corps of Engineering campgrounds, and of course state, national and regional parks.  

As they say "Home is where you park it" and I am sooo ready.

The number of days until March 25th!


  1. I like to be prepared as well. I usually make reservations for our longer stays and then call places about a week in advance while we're on the road so we know we have a place to stay. Sounds like a great winter. Some early planning will save you lots of money!

  2. We have yet to 'wing it'. I always make reservations, even if it means that I've had to cancel for one reason or another, it never has been a problem. You were lucky to get reservations at some of those places in Florida. It's been very crowded this winter here, I think because of the bad Northeast winter.

  3. Congrats on scoring a couple of parks in the keys. For our longer stays we make reservations, for our driving days we usually call a day or two ahead. Lots of places to get tours out to the reefs.

  4. Sherry and David have been trying to get reservations there for a very long time and they live in Florida most of the time. whew. Possibly because you tried before the late January february busy time?? amazing and congratulations and whatever you did keep doing it. And by the way, tonight we are boondocking in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant and country store in Fort Pierce, Florida...on our way to our reservations at Blue Springs that I made last August. Good luck with all of it Merikay. yippee.

  5. You'll just love it down here! Be sure and spend some time on the Gulf Coast (AL and FL) for the prettiest beaches and best oysters.

  6. You should research "Boondockers Welcome" and "Harvest Hosts" - they are very inexpensive to join and you can get a lot of great info just going to their websites - they both have locations all over the country - you stay FREE - for some beautiful photos and details of the experience check out Jimbo's Journey blog - on Al's sidebar - just search "Harvest Hosts" - Jimbo stayed in some very scenic locations at wineries and farms - there are several locations near Camp Driveway which would make a great getaway on short notice - Good Luck - Cindy in Dayton

  7. We aren't much for reservation or advance planning.. but I think to get into the keys takes a lot of preplanning and you sure got lucky!

    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  8. The closing day will be here before you know it and you'll be able to depart Camp Driveway for good.

    Pennekamp State Park has full hook-ups (sewer included) so that will be nice for you.

    We've stayed at Long Key a few times and enjoyed it. Al found a nice little reef area right off the "beach" where he snorkeled and found some interesting things.

    No luck in Curry Hammock or Bahia Honda?

    We love Kissimmee Prairie (not to be confused with Kissimmee River) and Wekiva is very nice as well, but only has 30 amp connections, so be aware of that.

    What area will you be for the week in November you haven't gotten booked? Maybe I could make a suggestion.

    I hope you like the Keys as much as we do. It's definitely a unique place and it's not for everyone.


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