As full-time RVers, each winter we set our sights on somewhere warm to call home for a while.
One of the best places we have found to RV in the winter months is a place that truly feels like a paradise vacation… the Florida Keys!
With beautiful weather, sunny days, and some of the bluest waters you will find in the United States, the Florida Keys is the perfect destination for your next RV camping vacation.
About Camping In The Florida Keys
In the landscape of Florida, some of the places most synonymous with paradise are found in the small strip of islands at the very southern tip of the state, the Florida Keys.
Unfortunately, there is a catch… camping in the Florida Keys can be extremely expensive (we are talking over $150/night) and more budget-friendly spots in State Parks are EXTREMELY difficult to come by.
So what do you do if you dream of a winter RV camping trip to the Florida Keys and don’t want to break the bank?
You get prepared, you plan ahead, and you hope to have a bit of luck on your side!
We want you to have the best RV and camping experiences, so we have compiled everything we learned to help make the planning and preparation phase for your own Florida Keys camping trip a breeze.
Let’s get planning!
Best Time To RV In The Florida Keys
The best time to RV in the Florida Keys is during the dry season, which typically spans from November to April.
This period offers the best weather conditions for RVing as well. With lower humidity, cooler temperatures, and minimal rainfall, winter is prime time in the Florida Keys.
December to March is considered the peak season when temperatures range from the mid-60s to mid-70s (F), and as the locals confirmed, the busiest week of the year falls in that final week between Christmas and the New Year.
While the summer months from June to September can also be beautiful (and have calmer waters for those snorkeling excursions or trips to Dry Tortugas National Park), they come with a higher chance of rain, more heat and humidity, and the possibility of hurricanes.
Our late November to mid-December RV trip to the Florida Keys was ideal. It brought mostly sunny and warm days in the 70s, plenty of calm days for snorkeling, and moderate crowds in most places we visited.
Cost To RV In The Florida Keys
State park campgrounds, such as Bahia Honda State Park, showcase the natural beauty of the Keys and are priced really well, with average nightly rates ranging from $30 to $40.
Florida Keys State Parks provide scenic settings complete with more private sites, beach and snorkeling access, trails, marinas, and more… at the best prices you will find for camping anywhere on the Keys by far.
On the other hand, private RV parks in the Florida Keys often offer more amenities, including full hookups (although John Pennekamp State Park also offers this), Wi-Fi, and facilities such as pools or in some cases even private cabanas.
These private RV parks and campgrounds in the Florida Keys come at a higher cost, with average nightly rates ranging from $50 to $100 or even $150 and more, depending on the season and the level of amenities provided.
In addition, you can typically expect higher fuel prices, grocery prices, and excursion or experience prices due to the nature of the location and the high tourist demand of the Florida Keys.
In winter of 2023, here is an example of what a 2 week stay at a State Park in the Florida Keys cost us:
- Bahia Honda State Park, 14 nights at $36/night for a water and electric site
- $ 504 campsite cost + $98 in utility fees + $110 in sales tax + $6 reservation fee = $718 total cost
Driving Your RV To The Florida Keys
Driving or towing your RV to the Florida Keys is one of the most scenic ocean stretches you can experience as an RVer.
The Overseas Highway, stretching from the mainland to Key West, offers breathtaking ocean views and spans more than 100 miles of bridges (including the iconic Seven Mile Bridge) and causeways over sparkling blue waters akin to the Caribbean.
While the drive to the Florida Keys is incredibly scenic, it is important to be mindful of the stretches of narrow roads and limited shoulder space. During busier travel times it is not uncommon to encounter traffic and the bridges can experience higher crosswinds. Our best recommendation when it comes to towing in any place is to be mindful of the weather, take it slow, and look at the map for opportunities to pull off or pull over if you need it.
The good news is that once you hit the Keys you will not see any tolls on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway or any bridges through the Florida Keys.
The primary tolls are encountered on the drive south toward the Keys.
Depending on your route, you might see tolls on:
- Florida Turnpike
- Ronald Reagan Turnpike
NOTE: We do not recommend towing or driving an RV of any size into downtown Key West. This area is very congested and has on-street parking making for narrow roads and a stressful driving experience even when only in your car or truck. As always, be sure to carefully plan your route and check Google Maps (satellite) and use an RV safe GPS to find the best (and least stressful) route!
Best Places To Camp In The Florida Keys
Camping in the Florida Keys will surely be a trip you won’t soon forget. With so many different Keys, we highly recommend choosing a few different spots to stay to give you a better opportunity to explore multiple areas.
Depending on your budget and timeline, there are ample ways to build the Florida Keys RV vacation that is perfect for you!
Florida Keys State Parks
There are several State Parks in the Florida Keys offering white sand beaches, bright blue waters, and ample opportunities to get out on the water. While not all offer camping, there is certainly no shortage of things to do in these protected natural wonders.
There are 3 main State Parks in the Florida Keys that offer larger campsites perfect for RV stays. We spent 2 weeks each at both Bahia Honda State Park and John Pennekcamp Coral Reef State Park and were able to work during the days and spend our evenings and weekends biking along the beach in the sunshine and snorkeling with marine life in the crystal clear waters.
Is there anything better than that!? We didn’t think so.
State Parks in the Florida Keys That Allow RV Camping:
Bahia Honda State Park
Our favorite state park in the Florida Keys. The most beautiful stretch of beach (and the longest natural one) in the Keys, amazing snorkeling, waterfront sites, views of the iconic broken bridge, and the options for snorkeling and dive tours right from the State Park’s marina. The perfect spot to explore the middle and lower Keys from!
- Buttonwood Campground: 48 sites (sites 1-48) that can accommodate small tents to larger RVs up to 40 feet long. This campground contains a bathhouse with restrooms and hot showers, as well as a dump station. This camping loop is located closest to Calusa and Loggerhead beaches, as well as the concession/dive shop
- Sandspur Campground: Includes sites 49 to 72 that can accommodate smaller RVs and tents. Maximum RV length is 23 feet, from hitch to bumper. Larger camping rigs cannot navigate the sharp turns in this camping loop and the sites themselves are smaller. This camping loop also has restroom and shower facilities and is located right next to Sandspur Beach
- Bayside Camping Area: Sites 73 to 80 are non-electric sites perfect for tent camping. These primitive sites have a picnic table, grill, and water. There is a small restroom located here, but campers must travel a half-mile to Buttonwood Campground to use its bathhouse with hot showers.
- NOTE: To access the Bayside Campground and cabins, vehicles must be able to go under the new Bahia Honda Bridge, which has a LOW OVERHEAD CLEARANCE of only 6 feet 8 inches.
Curry Hammock State Park
With no motorized boating or watercraft allowed, this hidden gem is perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, biking, and fishing! Just up the road from Bahia Honda, it is a great place to experience the Marathon and the middle Keys!
- One loop, 28 sites with gravel pads, 20/30/50-amp electrical service, water, picnic table, charcoal grill, and hammock posts. Sites are large, with some able to accommodate RVs up to 70 feet in length
This was the one state park we were unable to book for our time RVing in the Florida Keys. Being small, it can be tough to get a spot, but if you are able it is a great place to relax and unwind for a while at a park that is even less developed than John Pennekamp or Bahia Honda.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Full hook-up camping at a budget-friendly price right in a highly rated state park, where you can snorkel from the beach, hop on a glass bottom boat tour, take a snorkeling or scuba trip to coral reefs or the famous Christ of the Deep statue, or check out the fish in the Visitor Center aquarium. A great place to explore Key Largo and the upper keys!
- One loop, 42 gravel campsites, each with 30-amp, 50-amp, and 110 electrical outlets. Each site also has water and sewer hookups, a picnic table, and a grill. Most sites can accommodate an RV length of 40 feet; a few sites can accommodate a few feet longer.
- Note: Some sites in this campground are quite narrow, so be sure to look at photos and details carefully before selecting if you are in a larger RV (Google Satellite can be helpful to check as well!)
Note: There is also a military campground in Key West, Sigsbee RV Park (for Military Use with ID Card, Active, National Guard, Reservists, Retired, DAV, DoD Civilians)
Florida Keys Private RV Parks
If you are unable to book a state park campsite or prefer more amenities, there are plenty of luxury RV resorts to stay at on the Florida Keys, complete with their own beach access, pools, and more! While many will run you upwards of $100 a night or more, there are a few you can score at great deals if you have a Thousand Trails Membership.
Sunshine Key RV Resort: Located on Ohio Key, Sunshine Key RV Resort offers a tropical escape with full hookups, a marina, pool, and recreational activities. Rates typically range from $80 to $150 per night, providing a mid-range option if you are looking for a blend of amenities and natural beauty.
Note: Sunshine Key RV Resort is part of the Thousand Trails network, so you may be able to save $ if you have a Thousand Trails Membership
Sun Outdoors Sugarloaf Key: Nestled in Sugarloaf Key, this RV resort offers waterfront sites, full hookups, and amenities like a pool and marina. With nightly rates ranging from $100 to $200, it provides a more premium experience with upscale facilities compared to what you would get in the State Parks.
Grassy Key RV Park & Resort: Situated on Grassy Key, this RV park offers a relaxed atmosphere with full hookups, waterfront sites, and a pool. Nightly rates typically range from $70 to $120.
Bluewater Key RV Resort: Located on Rockland Key, Bluewater Key RV Resort provides a luxurious experience with waterfront sites, full hookups, private tiki huts, and upscale amenities. Expect higher-end pricing, with nightly rates ranging from $100 to $200.
Fiesta Key RV Resort: Situated on Long Key, Fiesta Key RV Resort offers a tropical paradise with full hookups, waterfront sites, a pool, and recreational activities. Nightly rates can vary but generally range from $80 to $150
- Note: Fiesta Key RV Resort is part of the Thousand Trails network, so you may be able to save $ if you have a Thousand Trails Membership
Jolly Roger RV Resort: Located in Marathon, Jolly Roger RV Resort offers waterfront sites, full hookups, a pool, and a tiki bar. Nightly rates typically range from $80 to $120
Keys Palms RV Resort: Situated in Key Largo, Keys Palms RV Resort offers a serene setting with full hookups, waterfront sites, and a pool. Nightly rates typically range from $80 to $120
Best Things To Do While RVing In The Florida Keys
Your dreamy RV vacation to the Florida Keys will certainly not be complete without exploring all that this tiny strip of islands that make up Florida’s most southern tip has to offer.
Here is a quick run-down of a few of our favorite spots:
- Rowells Waterfront Park (a great spot for swimming, watching the sunset, and letting your dog play)
- Sundowners Restaurant (a great spot to eat and drink while watching the sunset)
- Lazy Lobster (fresh seafood, recommended by locals)
- Fish House (dine in or grab fresh seafood to cook at home; featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives)
- Feed the tarpon, shop, eat, drink, hang by the water, fend off the pelicans at Robbie’s (this place is always packed and for good reason! You can’t miss it when driving south from Islamorada toward Lower Macumbe Key)
- History of Diving Museum: All about the unique history of scuba diving!
- Theater of the Sea: Marine mammal park with opportunities to see dolphins, sea lions, and more
- Florida Keys Wild Bird Center Bird Sanctuary: See over 90 birds at this center focused on rescue and rehabilitation of wild birds
- Florida Keys Brewing Company: Check out the local art galleries before heading to the perfect Floriday beer garden complete with a delicious taco truck
- Turtle Hospital: Veterinary hospital for sick and injured sea turtles
Big Pine Key
- Captain Hook’s: Guided scuba diving and snorkeling trips to the pristine Looe Key Reefs
- Beach, snorkeling, and the fort tour at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
- The famous sunset celebration at Mallory Square
- Duval Street: lively hub for eating, drinking and shopping in the heart of Key West
- The Wharf / Key West Historic Seaport: Walk along the marina, lined with bars and restaurants
- Mile Marker 0: The end of US 1!
- Southernmost Point Buoy: Southernmost point in the continental U.S.
- Hemmingway House: One time residence of Ernest Hemmingway with the famous 6-toed cats
- Key West Lighthouse
- Eat Key Lime Pie (traditional or chocolate-covered on a stick!)
- Great Restaurants: Turtle Kraals, Waterfront Brewery, B.O.’s Fish Wagon, Kermit’s Key Lime Shop
For an extra special trip, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit Dry Tortugas National Park.
Visiting Dry Tortugas National Park is truly a bucket list experience and typically books out months in advance.
The park is located 70 miles from Key West in the Gulf Of Mexico and features a historic fort from the Civil War, blue waters that are out of this world, and an abundance of marine life living in this section of the third-largest coral barrier reef in the world.
There are 3 ways to arrive at Dry Tortugas National Park:
- A Ferry: The Yankee Freedom is a 2.5-hour ferry ride each way that includes entry to the park, snorkel gear, and breakfast and lunch. Trips leave from the Key West Ferry Terminal at 8 am and arrive back in Key West around 5:30 pm. The ferry costs $210/person ($195/person if you have a National Parks Pass).
- We chose this option for visiting and had a perfect day exploring Fort Jefferson and snorkeling
- A seaplane ride: Key West Seaplane Adventures offers morning, afternoon, or full-day tours to Dry Tortugas National Park. Travel time is cut down from 2.5 hours to just 40 minutes and rates range from $450-$792/adult for half and full-day tours.
- Private boat: You will need to receive permits from the NPS to dock at Dry Tortugas National Park, but if you have the means visiting here with your own boat can give you much more flexibility.
Looking for more time in nature, but don’t want to take the trip to Dry Tortugas? There are plenty of State Parks to explore in the Keys as well.
A list of State Parks you can visit in the Florida Keys:
- Long Key State Park
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
- Indian Key Historic State Park (requires a boat ride; Robbie’s offers tours)
- Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park (requires a boat ride; Robbie’s offers tours)
- Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
- Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
- Curry Hammock State Park
- Bahia Honda State Park
- Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Map of the Florida Key’s Best Sights, Stays, & Experiences
Tips For RV Camping in The Florida Keys
Watch the weather
Navigating the weather in the Florida Keys is crucial for a smooth RV camping experience. Even if you plan your visit to avoid hurricane season, be sure to keep an eye on weather forecasts, as sudden storms can occur.
Be prepared for occasional strong winds (we recommend not leaving your awnings out unattended), and secure outdoor items to prevent damage.
reserve campsites & experiences well in advance
Reserve your campsite well in advance, especially during peak seasons from December to March.
Florida Keys State Park campgrounds accept reservations 11 months in advance for Florida residents and 10 months in advance for out-of-state visitors.
If you have excursions or trips you are interested in (Dry Tortugas via the ferry, scuba or diving trips, boat rentals, etc.) it can be a good idea to reserve spots for these in advance as well. We were unaware of how far out the Dry Tortugas trips booked up and thought we would miss out when we saw 2 full months of sild out dates. Thankfully, we got 2 spots on a last-minute cancellation.
salt air and sand corrosion for rv
RVing in paradise at the beach is amazing, but can be pretty destructive for your RV.
The coastal environment of the Florida Keys can lend itself to salt air and sand corrosion. You can protect your RV by implementing preventive measures such as washing your RV to remove salt and sand, paying attention to undercarriage and exposed metal parts.
PLAN YOUR PERFECT FLORIDA KEYS RV VACATION
Reserve Your Campsite Early
When it comes to the Florida Keys the best thing you can do is book early!
- State Park campsites become available 11 months in advance. Starting in 2024, Florida residents will have a 30-day (1-month) head start to book Florida State Park campsites before they open up to out-of-state residents 10 months in advance
- Private parks often start accepting reservations a year or more in advance, although you may be able to find spots closer to your travel dates or even last minute in some cases
- Services like Campnab can be great for scoring last-minute openings and cancellations at sold-out RV parks and campgrounds (including the Florida Keys State Parks)
Top RV Resources For A Successful RV Trip
Rent An RV
If you are looking to camp in the Florida Keys but don’t have an RV and don’t want to tent camp, consider renting one through RV Share. We used this service when renting out our Casita and found it to be high quality and easy to use!
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