Updated: Feb 13
Top Places to RV in Florida.
Things to be aware of.
Season & Cost.
Top Places to RV in Florida.
If you’re planning on RVing Florida, here’s my top favorite places, I recommend you should visit.
Our first stop was St. Augustine, Florida. This is a historic little town that claims to be the oldest city in the U.S. with Spanish colonial architecture.
We enjoyed walking the streets and looking at all the old buildings.
St. Augustine also has a public RV parking lot for those that wish to stop to check out the little town for the day.
Orlando is known for its many theme parks. Here are my favorite things to do in Orlando:
1. The Holy Land Experience. If you’re like me and enjoy watching theater shows, than you might like The Holy Land Experience. The Holy Land Experience is a Christian-based theme park and is registered non-profit corporation. They have weekly church services and bible studies for the general public. The theme park has many theater shows throughout the day that bring stories from the Bible to life. They also have a large replica of the ancient city of Jerusalem and a guide at curtain times of the day to tell you all about it.
2. Universal Studios. There is 3 Universal parks, and 1 of those 3 is a water park known as Volcano Bay. Volcano Bay is a lot of fun for any age.
3. If you’re planning on going to Disney World, I recommend staying at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
4. The Gaylord Palms Resort. A luxury resort hotel with a large glass-covered atrium that bring the outdoors indoors. This luxury resort is themed The Everglades, St. Augustine, and Key West. It’s restaurants and stores are all open to the public, no need to book a room, so dress up and enjoy an evening at one of their nice restaurants and enjoy a walk through the Everglades.
Other than that, there is a lot of different things to do in Orlando.
The Tampa Riverwalk is a great way to enjoy this big city. We found a good place to park with our Leisure Travel Van at "603 E Cumberland Ave Parking”. From the parking lot, we rode our electric Boosted Boards down the Tampa Riverwalk and enjoyed the afternoon grabbing a drink and bite to eat at the "Fermented Reality Biergarten” over looking the water.
St. Pepterburg is a beautiful city surrounded by a really big harbor with lots of waterfront parks. This city has plenty of street parking and parking lots. We enjoyed walking the waterfront and grabbing lunch. At Vinoy Park Beach there are tennis courts, volleyball courts, nice places to hangout on the water, and a big sidewalk great for jogging or bicycling. We came here during the week and was able to park along the street near a waterfront park. However, the weekends in St. Petersburg can become very busy. When we came here one Sunday morning we ended up having to park really far away from the waterfront area. This was ok for us because we had our electric Boosted Boards to get around on. We found this parking lot that we were able to park at with our Leisure Travel Van (800 1st Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701).
Sanibel Island is known for its seashells that wash ashore the beaches from the Gulf of Mexico. We stopped at the Baily-Matthews Shell Museum and enjoyed learning about the different kinds of shells. You could spend the day here shelling at the beach or you can pull off just about anywhere along the Sanibel Causeway to enjoy the beautiful blue water, go swimming, fishing, or just soaking in the sun.
The beaches along Marco Island left me feeling like I was in another country, the beaches were so beautiful. We enjoyed hanging out at the beach, and getting a day pass to enjoy the pool at the JW Marriot. Without the day pass you can still grab food and drinks at the JW Marriot, as their restaurants are open to the public; along with several other hotel resorts along the beach.
Key West is small. You can explore most of Key West by walking. There is a trolly you can buy a ticket to hop on and hop off, at your leisure, all day long to get around Key West. Not only will it help you get around Key West , but the trolly conductor will tell you historical facts about Key West as well. You can go online for a map of the trolly route and stops or once aboard the trolly you can get a map from one of the conductors.
There is very limited parking for RVs in Key West, so I don't recommend bringing your RV or driving your RV to downtown Key west. We did however park our Leisure Travel Van at a big shopping center and from there we walked to the nearest trolly bus stop to get to downtown Key West. After exploring Key West for the day, we used the trolly to get back to the shopping center where we had parked. However, we did have to walk a little bit to get to and from the trolly bus stop. We parked at the Kmart shopping center (24.566360, -81.769665) and walked to trolly stop #6 (24.562767, -81.776555).
We had stayed at Bahia Honda Key at Sunshine Key RV Resort. It is an Encore Park of Thousand Trails. We were able to save money staying here by joining Thousand Trails and purchasing the Trails Collection.
Everglades National Park
Although Everglades National Park is not on our list for top places because if you’re from the South, like we are, than Everglades National Park might not be that exciting for you. But, I decided to put Everglades National Park on here anyways because it is on many travelers “bucket list”, as it was on ours, and if you haven't herd of it, you might want to check it out.
If you do decide to go explore the Everglades National Park, there is a great chance you'll be able to see an alligator. And although we didn’t go on any airboat tours, if you’ve ever wanted to do an airboat tour, this area would be the place to go on one.
Things to be aware of!
Drivers near Miami!
If you plan on going near or through Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, you should be aware of the drivers. We had seen many drivers, in such a short amount of time that we had spent in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area, to be under the influence while driving. You should know, we didn’t drive very often at night, we had seen some of these drivers under the influence during the morning hours. I'm very surprised we didn't see any wrecks.
RV Park/Resort Rules!
It seemed the further south in Florida we went, the stricter the rules that the campgrounds became. Before you go making reservations or pull into an RV park without any, and get turned away and have to find a parking lot to stay at for the night, make sure to clarify with the park office if you have dogs or a pull behind trailer.
Pull Behind Trailers
A lot of the RV parks do not allow you to have a pull behind trailer. If they do allow you to have one, often times it has to be an enclosed cargo trailer that is not longer than ten feet. Or they’ll ask you to move it over to their storage lot if they have one.
We also ran into a few RV parks that do not allow RVs under twenty-five feet. One RV park office didn’t believe that our Leisure Travel Van was longer than twenty-five feet, so they looked it up on the internet as we were standing there. And sure enough it says online that our Leisure Travel Van is twenty-five feet and one inch, so we were able to stay.
A lot of the RV parks have rules on the number and size of dogs. They don’t want you to have more than two dogs and they can’t be over twenty-five pounds. They also have breed restrictions, however this is not just a problem in Florida, but other RV parks throughout the country have breed restrictions too. Like, no Rottweilers, unless your dog is a service animal or ESA.
State Parks or National Parks are an exception to the RV Park/Resort Rules I have listed above.
None of the State Parks or National Parks seemed to have these crazy rules on trailers or dogs. A lot of the State Parks or National Parks are also way cheaper to stay at compared to the RV parks or resorts.
Season & Cost
There as two busy seasons in Florida. You have the winter season, where all the “snowbirds” from up north come down; and then you have summer season, when vacationers come.
We had no idea what RVing Florida would be like because we had made a last minute decision to head south without doing any planning. (If you want to know why we came to Florida without a plan, read our blog Season 2 RVing).
We had arrived in Florida the end of March, as their busy season was coming to an end. After April 1st a lot of the rv park's pricing begin to drop, and by May 1st the busy season was officially over, which means the RV parks were the cheapest. We knew coming to Florida we would be either paying for an RV park or finding ourselves at Walmart or a Cracker Barrel parking lots because there is not much BLM land east of the Mississippi River.
So, if you want to save money at the RV Parks or RV Resorts, plan to stay at the state or national parks or plan to come during the off season from April-May and September-November. As the peak season could cost you up to $100-$165 a night to stay at an RV Park or RV Resort.
Florida has beautiful beaches and some of the bluest ocean waters in the USA.