RVing the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a series of tropical islands that stretch off the southern tip of Florida. To visit them, you will drive along the Overseas Highway, which runs from Florida City down to Key West, which is the southernmost point in the continental United States.
Key West is a great end point for your vacation, with its many restaurants, bars, and the Ernest Hemingway Museum. Along the way down, you’ll find several state parks that are perfect for RV camping as well as for snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, boating, hiking, and relaxing on warm stretches of white sand. You’ll also enjoy stargazing at night as you get further from Miami.
Part of the adventure of visiting the Keys traveling the Overseas Highway, surrounded by blue ocean on both sides. You’ll cross 42 bridges, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge which is one of the world’s longest segmental bridges.
State Parks in the Keys with RV Camping
In the Upper Keys is Biscayne National Park, which is an important conservation site for many species, including 16 endangered ones. These include manatees, sea turtles, swallowtail butterflies, and sawfish.
John Pennekamp State Park
A little further along is the John Pennekamp State Park. A prime location for camping, this park is home to one of the few living coral reefs that remain in America. You can see the rich diversity of sea life through a guided glass bottom boat tour or go snorkeling or scuba diving. No problems if you didn’t bring your own gear, the campground has a dive shop where you can buy or rent what you need. There is also a boat ramp, a dock, a playground, and two beaches.
Visitors to John Pennekamp should keep their eyes out for the playful and inquisitive iguanas.
Curry Hammock State Park
In the Middle Keys, you will want to stop at Curry Hammock State Park. This is a marvelous place for paddlers as the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail passes through the park. You’ll be able to rent equipment if you didn’t bring your own.
In addition to paddling, there are several trails for hikers and cyclists to enjoy, including the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. Birding is also a popular activity at the park, which hosts an annual Hawk Watch.
Amenities for campers include solar-powered showers and restrooms, a playground, picnic tables, grills, a dump station, and electric hook-ups.
Bahia Honda State Park
When you reach the Lower Keys, you’ll discover the Bahia Honda State Park. Thanks to its proximity to the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, this park has an incredible diversity of sea life, making it a wonderful place for snorkelers and divers. While swimming above the beautiful living coral reef you will see species that include parrotfish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, angelfish, jacks, grunts, and barracuda.
At night, you will have amazing views of the night sky. Bahia Honda State Park is known as a dark-skies location thanks to the lack of light pollution, making it a great place for amateur astronomers.
Campers will appreciate the amenities which include restrooms, water at each site, a camp store, and a boat launch. There are gear rentals and guided tours of the reef.
Must See Stops in the Florida Keys
A few other places you may want to visit as you drive along the Overseas Highway include the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. Since it opened in 1986, this charity has helped over 1,500 injured sea turtles. You can take a guided tour and see a short presentation.
For dolphin lovers, the Dolphin connection in Duck Key allows visitors to get up close and personal with these amazing mammals in a saltwater lagoon. There are also dolphin programs in Key Largo and Islamorada.
In addition to all the wonderful activities, the Keys are also a great place to enjoy some delicious food, particularly seafood. You can try snapper, grouper, mahi mahi, wahoo, conch, calamari, and many other delicious varieties. A few that are specific to the Keys include Key West pink shrimp, the hogfish (a milder type of snapper) and the Florida spiny lobster. For dessert, there is Key Lime pie. Made with the juice of the Key lime, you’ll find this tartly sweet confection to be addictive.
As you can see, the Florida Keys is a perfect destination for RV camping. To prepare for your trip here, make sure to pack bug spray, and reef-safe sunblock. To protect the coral reefs, only biodegradable sun lotion is allowed. Also make sure to pack a shady hat and fill your cooler with electrolyte rich drinks. As the climate is warm and humid, it is important to stay hydrated.