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Old 02-06-2014, 03:02 PM   #1
DYNOBOB OP
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No campsites in the Keys?

Going to ride down to BikeWeek (on Goldwing) and thinking about going on down to the Keys for a for a few days (never been there). Have checked all the State park campgrounds and they're booked up solid for the month of March. My preference was Long Key or Bahia Honda for the nights of Mar 11-12th.

- The reservation line told me they hold back some sites for walk-ins. Does anyone have experience with this?

- Preferred private campgrounds? The ones I've looked at seem to be around $80-100/night to camp (I know...the Keys are expensive).

- Long shot... Failing all else, does anyone have room for me to put my tent in their yard?

- Any other ideas?

(I did just read the "Keys" thread farther down the page)

Thanks!



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Old 02-07-2014, 06:15 AM   #2
Ginger Beard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DYNOBOB View Post
Going to ride down to BikeWeek (on Goldwing) and thinking about going on down to the Keys for a for a few days (never been there). Have checked all the State park campgrounds and they're booked up solid for the month of March. My preference was Long Key or Bahia Honda for the nights of Mar 11-12th.

- The reservation line told me they hold back some sites for walk-ins. Does anyone have experience with this?

- Preferred private campgrounds? The ones I've looked at seem to be around $80-100/night to camp (I know...the Keys are expensive).

- Long shot... Failing all else, does anyone have room for me to put my tent in their yard?

- Any other ideas?

(I did just read the "Keys" thread farther down the page)

Thanks!



.


The fish camp on Big Pine Key is nice and around $50 a night. Still spendy for camping but cheaper than the rest.
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:47 AM   #3
danh600
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The reservation line told me they hold back some sites for walk-ins. Does anyone have experience with this?
Years ago the reservation system would only reserve 1/2 the campsites. I was under the impression all of them could be reserved online now.

It's pretty hard to get a reservations at the state parks this time of year. I just check the website from time to time and grab a camp site when it comes available. I just found a Saturday night open at Long Key the other day and grabbed it. I get a Saturday night almost every year by just going to the website 3-4 times. But I am flexible on dates.

I have never tried to go down there and camp without a reservation. But every single time I have been there were empty campsites. I don't know if these were hold backs,late cancelations or just no shows. So not really sure if you could grab one even if you came to the gate.

Maybe call the actual gate at each state park and talk to a ranger? I have always found them to be pretty friendly.
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ginger Beard View Post
The fish camp on Big Pine Key is nice and around $50 a night. Still spendy for camping but cheaper than the rest.
+1 on the Big Pine Key Fish Camp. Clean bathrooms, free coffee and wifi, friendly people running the place, and semi-tame Key deer roaming throughout the campground. Plus it ain't far from the No Name Pub. Ya just can't beat it for $50/night in the Keys.
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danh600 View Post
Years ago the reservation system would only reserve 1/2 the campsites. I was under the impression all of them could be reserved online now.

It's pretty hard to get a reservations at the state parks this time of year. I just check the website from time to time and grab a camp site when it comes available. I just found a Saturday night open at Long Key the other day and grabbed it. I get a Saturday night almost every year by just going to the website 3-4 times. But I am flexible on dates.

I have never tried to go down there and camp without a reservation. But every single time I have been there were empty campsites. I don't know if these were hold backs,late cancelations or just no shows. So not really sure if you could grab one even if you came to the gate.

Maybe call the actual gate at each state park and talk to a ranger? I have always found them to be pretty friendly.
I heard something like that at Bahia Honda when we regularly used it for bug season, but I never risked it. Always either made a reservation for the next year on the way out when they would let me, or religiously pestered the hell out of them in the following weeks until they did. I really think it just depends on the mood of the Rangers when you call them, as much as I hate to say it. I also "heard" that if you throw an all night party with bonfires, tiki torches, heavy metal music and nekkid strippers from the other side of the bridge, you should have one of your friends reserve it. I miss those days....
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:58 PM   #6
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Bahia Honda's sounding better all the time... :)

- I'm now thinking I'll stop the first night from Daytona at Flamingo in Everglades. Looks like you can camp near the ocean.
- Try to get into Long Key the second/third night (I like the idea of putting the tent up near the beach...sunrise...etc) If I can't, just keep going south to the Bahia/Marathon/BigPine area until I find something. Going without a plan is totally not my style though.
- Visit KW between the second/third night.
- Head back to Daytona.

Still open to other ideas....

Thanks folks,


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Old 02-07-2014, 02:09 PM   #7
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We've camped in the Keys at the state parks. As we made our way down through Florida, we called to make reservations and found all the camp grounds full, but when we actually pulled in, there were sites to be had. We tried the campgrounds in the early afternoon. Our trip was in May 2012.
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Old 02-08-2014, 03:27 AM   #8
FLARider1
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You are coming in the height of tourist season so everything is booked and expensive. Going out to Flamingo is a great idea. It's 40 some miles from US1 and Palm Drive which is pretty much the end of the turnpike. It is a solid hour plus to get to Flamingi from there with really no stops. You will however want to stop at Robert is Here Produce Stand for the best damn fresh fruit milkshake you have ever had. And we aren't talking your basics banana, strawberry or rasberry, we are talking mango, Mamey, jackfruit, key lime, or dragon fruit. Plus you can grab some fresh veggies for dinner that night. If you are still hungry, stop at the Gator Grill for some gator tail or a great burger. This is all after you take the left off Palm Drive heading to Everglades National Park. There is a gator farm on the way that has airboat rides along with all the gator and snake show stuff. Once in the park gate go a few miles and take the left towards Annihinga trail and do the trail walk. It's short and all boardwalk type walking and it takes you out over the river of grass and around some gator pools. You will likely get up close and personal with a couple of the locals!! The ride out to Flamingo is really nice, but slow speed limits. Remember it's a NP and the rangers have federal authority and don't like speeders, don't be surprised if you see a speed trap or two. The landscape changes multiple times getting to Flamingo so it's a good view of everything. I haven't camped there but ride throught several times and it's pretty nice. There is a nice structured area and restroom/showers close off to the right. To the left is a more wide open area and not so close to facilities but it is right off the Florida Bay.

In the Keys you might have better luck at the private campgrounds so don't count them out. The snow birds will still all be down here in March so space is tight and traffic sucks and waits at restaurants can be long. Finding and eating at the No Name Pub is a must on the way down. And most any mom and pop place is good food! All tourist based so that can't afford to be bad!!!! On either your way up or down into the Keys take Card Sound Road, have $1 cash ready cuz the bridge toll does not use sunpass, and stop at Alabama Jacks. Old school Keys kinda place with good food and interesting people. You can't miss it, only place in Downtown Card Sound!!

Enjoy the ride and remember things move slow down this way so kick back and enjoy the view, which gets the best south of the 80 mile marker!!
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #9
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Thanks guys, I'm making all the places you mention waypoints on the gps...


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Old 02-09-2014, 01:58 PM   #10
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Boyd's campground is a good place, it's about 5 miles from the main square. They run a shuttle back and forth if I recall. Or at the end of the road, a short walk you can catch a bus. Makes it good to be able to partake in some adult beverages and not ride. The entertainment at the square starts @6pm...its a lot of fun. The mom n pop places for eat's are great
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:43 PM   #11
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Campsite

if you are former military, the NAVAL BASE at Key West will always make room for you. Flew in there many times on joy trips.

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Old 02-10-2014, 03:56 PM   #12
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we stay bahia honda state park once a year at least, always end up booking at least 6 months or more out.
can't offer advise on just going and hoping to find a spot, but i'm sure you could find something open once you're down there.
haven't rode the bike down there yet since we always want the boat or kayaks with us.
We also try to go only during the hot/off season, shooting for end of September this year.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:37 PM   #13
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if you are former military, the NAVAL BASE at Key West will always make room for you.
+1, the lodging there is first rate, and as usual with MWR, dirt cheap...
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:14 AM   #14
danh600
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Originally Posted by DYNOBOB View Post
Bahia Honda's sounding better all the time... :)

- I'm now thinking I'll stop the first night from Daytona at Flamingo in Everglades. Looks like you can camp near the ocean.
- Try to get into Long Key the second/third night (I like the idea of putting the tent up near the beach...sunrise...etc) If I can't, just keep going south to the Bahia/Marathon/BigPine area until I find something. Going without a plan is totally not my style though.
- Visit KW between the second/third night.
- Head back to Daytona.

Still open to other ideas....

Thanks folks,


.
Sounds like a pretty good plan. Keep in mind Flamingo is the Everglades. Unless we have had cold weather the bugs can be bad. The ocean is scenic but not really a nice beach to swim in. It's mostly rocky. The beaches down there and in the Keys are not the best. If you are beach person go to the panhandle. However the Everglades and the Keys are very unique. I love them and try to get down there a few times a year. I fact I took a day ride to the upper keys Sunday.

This is Flamingo Campground. If you are tenting the "walk in" area is nice. Not much shade but a much better view. However it is just kind of wide open. I took this picture in the summer. Only a day ride. You DO NOT want to be there when it get's dark. Mosquitoes will eat you alive. Winter time is not too bad. I generally camp in the open area and throw up a shade tarp. Less bugs that way.


The walk in area is really not much of a walk. You can see my campsite. That car is where you park.

I was not driving that mini van.


That's Long Key State Park. The water is about 2' behind where I am standing taking the picture.

This is looking down the beach at Long Key.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:41 AM   #15
DYNOBOB OP
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I did notice the "walk in" area at Flamingo. That's what I'm looking for with a good view of the water. I'm not a "beach" type (to my better half's chagrin). Just looking to camp a few nights this trip with a view of the ocean... or somewhere with cool atmosphere. Thanks ADVers!

(not former military but bless them, they deserve a few perks)



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