Author Topic: Tent camping Florida Keys - January  (Read 1782 times)

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Offline Lawrence

Tent camping Florida Keys - January
« on: November 30, 2021, 03:53:35 pm »
Hoping to travel through the Florida Keys the first couple of weeks of January.  Is it likely/unlikey to find available tent camping sites along a south - north route. My travel dates are uncertain at the moment so I'm unable to make reservations.
Thanks in advance..

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Tent camping Florida Keys - January
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2021, 09:21:19 pm »
I bicycled the length of the Florida Keys 6 times. In winter it will be crowded. Tourists are everywhere. There is a state park, perhaps more than one where you can camp on the beach. They might let you tent in some RV parks. Prepare to spend a lofty sum. The Florida keys are not particularly known for accommodating camping in tents. For a few hours sleep at an RV park you can rent a very nice motel in some other parts of the country. I could not find a reasonable place to tent in the Keys. Stealth camping is possible and quite limited.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tent camping Florida Keys - January
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2021, 07:08:27 am »
We were car camping with a tent there some years ago.  One place we stayed was pretty expensive and we had to pitch the tent on the concrete drive where the RV was supposed to pull in.  The amenities were good, but it wasn't my kind of place.

Ultimately we found a motel with vacancies that was about the same price.  The winds had kicked up and the bad weather had cancelled all the dive boats going out, leaving the motel empty.  We wound up staying for half price, which was not much more than the camp site was.  They had sit on top kayaks that they let us use for free and if I remember correctly I think the snorkeling equipment was free as well, but we wound up buying some nicer stuff of our own.  We had fun kayaking and snorkeling in the back bay even though none of the quided snorkeling or scuba trips were going out on the ocean side.

I forget the details of the trip, but we also stayed in two state parks in the area; not sure if they were both actually were in the keys or if one was somewhere above the keys.

The focus of the trip was actually canoeing in the Everglades, but we drove down to the keys sightseeing as we went while we were there

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Offline WaltherDawg

Re: Tent camping Florida Keys - January
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2021, 09:06:29 am »
A friend of mine and I tent camped at Big Pine Key Resort a couple of weeks ago. Like everywhere it is expensive but what choices do you have?
You can also just ask at various campgrounds as you pass them to see if they have any ideas.

Offline gnfurlong

Re: Tent camping Florida Keys - January
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2021, 11:39:06 am »
My partner and I just biked through the keys to finish a multi month trip. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Curry Hammock State Park and Bahia Honda State Park all make special accommodations for through bikers/hikers/paddlers. We only stayed at both Curry Hammock and Bahia Honda as we basically had an off-day to burn. They're only 18 miles apart and given the choice, Curry Hammock would be a very easy pick for me. We took the ferry from Key West to Fort Myers same day we arrived, so we didn't actually stay in Key West.

John Pennekamp (Key Largo) seemed to have the least planned policy and told us over the phone that they usually try to figure something out for through bikers, but it may depend on the specific park ranger that we speak to. We ended up staying with some wonderful warm showers hosts instead.

Curry Hammock (Marathon) has a spot right on the beach where they put us. I'm not sure if that's the arrangement they always make though. It looked like it may be a group camping site as they did have to double check availability when we called (maybe 3 days in advance).  It was beautiful, quiet, had very little light pollution and was not particularly buggy.  It was probably our favorite camping spot of the entire trip (we camped maybe 1/3 of the time).

Bahia Honda (Big Pine Key) reserves site #80 for through bikers/hikers/campers up until I think 2 pm after which it's available to anyone.  We called a few days in advance to reserve it. It's also right by the water (the last in their row of primitive sites), but in a somewhat swampier area and the no-see-ums bites were pretty brutal. It was also pretty close to the highway so you could still hear cars going by all night.