Florida Keys Camping: A Guide to the Best Campgrounds in the Area
Florida Keys Camping
Camping in the Florida Keys is going to the brink of paradise, but with all the advantages of modern living close at hand. Whether you are traveling to Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key, or Key West, numerous campgrounds along the way provide you with full hook ups and other services.
Camping in the Upper, Middle or Lower Keys is an experience that also allows you a chance for fishing, hunting, canoeing, snorkeling and kayaking. Campgrounds in the Florida Keys range from primitive campsites to cabin rentals, RV Parks, and a few other refinements in Key West, including pools, luxury spas, and restaurants.
Some campgrounds are waterfront and others offer RV and trailer rentals. If you need laundry facilities, phone hookups, Internet or cable TV, there is no problem.
Every campground within this region offers its own selection of services, but commonly you will find one or more of the following:
Sandy beaches, toilets, showers, running water, covered picnic areas, often with TV and BBQ grills, heated pools, boat ramp and dock rental, general stores, Cable TV, hookups, phone hookups, Internet hookups, playground, and clubhouse. Luxury campgrounds may offer library, specialty shops, fitness center, venues, and even banks.
Just find the right camp providing all the facilities and amenities that you may need when visiting the Florida Keys.
THE UPPER KEYS
The northern part of Key Largo is a protected, unsettled 6,800 acre land, closed to the public and home to the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, where endangered American crocodile live.
However, the rest of the Key Largo offers camping facilities, including public, undeveloped and privately owned campgrounds to choose from. All campsites are safe and clean with rates starting at $20 per a tent without hookup. RV’s campgrounds charge around $40 per vehicle, including hookup.
Undeveloped campgrounds are located in the north of the island, where there are forests and backwoods areas. Campsites within undeveloped campgrounds have no toilets or running water, but are the preferred of purists who love nature.
Public campgrounds have no pools or laundry facilities, but they are affordable and can accommodate individual tents, RVs and Vans, while privately owned campgrounds in Key Largo have almost anything that you can imagine for camping.
Islamorada is famous worldwide for the finest fish caught here, including Bonefish and Sailfish, attracting anglers from all over the world that challenge the local fishermen in fishing tournaments held annually. A good place to relax and enjoy your favorite sport, but not at all for camping.
There are a few camping facilities in Islamorada, however, there are several campgrounds in the contiguous Tavernier Key. Most activities around the island are focused on fishing and boating so you can easily camp on Tavernier and spend the day practicing your favorite sport in Islamorada.
In Tavernier, visitors can enjoy the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, unique place in the Florida Keys where Native birds can be watched, including others such as pelicans, hawks, cormorants, ospreys, herons, and terns, which are rescued and rehabilitated in this center.
RV Parks & Campgrounds in Islamorada:
Fiesta KOA, phone (305) 664-4922
From public campsites to privately owned campgrounds, Marathon and the Middle Keys offer several camping facilities, including activities such as hiking, fishing, and diving. Private campgrounds are expensive but provide you with all the facilities you need for a pleasant stay.
The Middle Keys are built from a number of islands, including Marathon, the bigger of them, Crawl Key, Pigeon Key, Long Key, Duck Key, Boot Key, Grassy Key, and the Conch Keys.
People who enjoy boating can easily stay at a campsite and explore the small islands surrounding Marathon. Long Key State Park offers waterfront camping facilities on 1,000-acres, including 60 campsites surrounded by tall Australian pines.
All Florida State Parks were recognized as the “Nation’s Best State Park Service” by the National Recreation and Parks Association, so do not miss out on the opportunity of camping in Long Key State Park or any other of the national parks in the Florida Keys.
BIG PINE KEY
As soon as you enter in the Lower Keys, a number of signs reminds you to decrease your driving speed to 35 mph, because this area is part of the Key Deer Sanctuary, a region where camping is surrounded by a serene and clear environment spanning close to Sugarloaf and Cudjoe Keys.
Home to The National Key Deer Refuge, Big Pine Key has as many campgrounds as opportunities to enjoy amidst the nature. The refuge alone encompasses over 8,000 acres in total, and it is not strange find key deer wandering around the campgrounds and adjacent Keys.
RV campsites in Big Pine can accommodate vehicles up to 76 feet in length, and most of them have hookups and other facilities, including dump station.
Where the Florida Keys end the fun start. Key West is a wealthy city which is the scene of multiple events throughout the year, from nautical regatta, to Fantasy Fest and powerboat races. Camping facilities are provided here my numerous campgrounds but also a number of lodges and vacation rentals.
If you take your RV to Key West remember that fines for illegal parking are $50. You can park overnight at local parking lots before get your chosen campground, but no longer. Make your reservations timely and avoid hassles.
You can also camp in parks nearby paying a daily fee of only $3 per person at the adjacent Garden Key, but only primitive camp sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
FEATURED PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS
As a matter of fact, we have chosen three assorted campgrounds for a better idea of the facilities that each of the Florida Keys campgrounds offer to visitors.
Boyd’s Key West Campground
Waterfront campground with ramp, docks, heated pool, and efficiencies.
Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge
RV Campground offering also tent camping, numerous efficiencies, boat rentals, charters diving, and marina with dockage. This campground is next to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.
Lion’s Lair Travel Park
Waterfront campground whit sandy beach, efficiency rentals, and boat ramp, ideal for fishing. However, pets are not allowed here.
MM 97.5, Key Largo
Phone: (305) 852-8054
White sand beach camping site encompassing wooden sites, boat rentals, laundry service, full store, dockside, breakfast and lunch.
CAMPING IN SOUTH FLORIDA
Your visit to the Florida Keys approach to exuberant places within the islands and contiguous cities in the mainland Florida. Some of the most popular campgrounds in south Florida include the following:
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF CAMPING AT THE FLORIDA KEYS
Many campgrounds and RV Parks offer diverse amenities in addition to toilet and shower facilities. Some campsites and cabins may include fireplaces equipped with cooking grate and even a grocery store where you can purchase your provisions. Doing research before you place your reservation guarantees a pleasant stay at the campground of your choice.
Although most national parks in Florida and the Florida Keys are pet-friendly, private campgrounds may have special regulations on this matter. In fact, public campgrounds may also have some provisions when it comes to taking your pet with you camping. Noisy or dangerous pets are considered nuisances and not allowed in any Florida campground to avoid disturbance or intimidation of visitors.
Car Camping or RVing?
While most people enjoy the advantages of taking their own RV to a campground or renting a vehicle on-site, some people still enjoy car camping so determine your style and go for the adventure you want. Nobody will laugh at you for renouncing those facilities that privately owned campgrounds offer.
Campgrounds fees vary from one location to another. Public campgrounds within National parks charge from $2 to $5 per person or carload with up to 8 people. Bikers and extra persons are charged only $1, but private campgrounds may charge up to $50 or more. Camping fees in National Parks range from $12 to $28 and reservations can be placed calling at (305) 326-3521 or toll-free 1-866-ICAMPFL.
What are you looking for?
The Florida Keys has it all, but facilities vary from campground to campground. Jot down a list of things you will like to do and compare the services offered by the different campground.
Florida National Parks and some Campground chains offer discounts or annual entrance fees. Family passes start as low as $80 per year and individual passes are half the price, approximately. Family passes usually allow carloads with up to 8 persons. Do research to purchase your passes, whether from the states offices, amusement agencies, online, or direct mail.
Other discounts apply in the Florida Keys and all over the state for people camping under certain conditions. Disabled Florida Residents receive half discount off camping base fees. This discount also applies for Senior Citizens over 65 years in age. Contact your campground destination in advance and ask for weekly and monthly rate discounts, usually ranging from 10 to 30%
Finally, always keep in mind permits, closing hours, and ranger regulations to enjoy the true Florida Keys Paradise.