The first bout of cold weather sets RVers on the road south. Many choose to winter in Florida where the ultimate destination is the Florida Keys, where daytime temperatures in January average 75 degrees and snow is unknown. Since RV camping in the Florida Keys is such an awesome experience we had to write our article to one of our favorite RV campgrounds in the Florida Keys: Best RV Parks in the Florida Keys – A Complete Guide and they are:
- Keys Palms RV Resort (MM 104)
- Kings Kamp RV Park & Marina (MM 103.4)
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (MM 102)
- Fiesta Key RV Resort and Marina (MM 70)
- Long Key State Park (MM 67.5)
- Jolly Roger RV Resort (MM 59)
- Grassy Key RV Park & Resort (MM 58.7)
- Curry Hammock State Park (MM 56)
- Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina (38.8)
- Bahia Honda State Park (36.8)
- Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge (MM 33)
- Lazy Lakes RV Resort (MM 20)
- Geiger Key Marina & RV Park (MM 10.5)
- Boyd’s Key West Campground (MM 5)
- Leo’s Campground (MM 4.5)
What Makes RV Camping in the Florida Keys so Popular?
RV Camping in the Florida Keys is popular with vacationers all year long. They come for the cool breezes off the ocean, perfect beach days, fewer crowds of tourists. And above all, the reduced “off-season” summer rates offered by many RV campgrounds in the Florida Keys.
Many people aim for the shoulder seasons to visit. These are March to June and November to mid-December. The winter crowds have left or haven’t yet arrived, and the weather is generally mild and dry.
Some of the most famous and riotous events in the Keys, such as the annual week-long Fantasy Fest at Halloween and Key West’s hilarious New Year’s Eve “drops,” take place in the winter. But there are plenty of events during the rest of the year to keep visitors busy as well. July’s Hemingway Days fills Key West with Hemingway re-enactors which is a can’t miss event.
Many fishing tournaments take place all year long. And so does the monthly Islamorada Third Thursday ArtWalks offering live music on three stages, local food and brews, and original art and hand-crafted jewelry in the Upper Keys.
Divers and spearfishing enthusiasts come to the Keys to hunt Florida lobster on nearby reefs. There’s a two-day mini-season for amateur anglers, usually in July, followed by an 8-month open season from August 6 through March 31 every year.
Tips for RV Camping in the Florida Keys
1. Watch the Weather in the Keys
The weather is typically close to perfect on the Florida Keys throughout winter, spring and summer, although summer does see more rain. However, late September through November is the best weather of the year in my opinion. Ironically it is also the height of the hurricane season, with storms that frequently require fast evacuation on US 1, the only road off the Keys. If you decide to go RVing in the Keys at this time of year, keep your eye on the weather and plan ahead. It’s better to leave early than to be trapped in a 100-mile traffic jam. And above all, obey all instructions from the authorities.
2. Consider Florida Keys State Parks vs Private RV Campgrounds
Some of the most desirable RV campgrounds and beaches on the Keys are in the four state parks found here. The state parks in Florida with RV camping don’t change prices with the seasons and are much less expensive than the typical RV sites in the Florida Keys. All of which makes them even more desirable. If you want to score a stay at one of the best Florida State Parks with RV Camping, particularly in the winter, try to book your RV site a year in advance. Reservations may be made one day to 11 months in advance. Any unreserved sites are rented on a first-come basis. The maximum reservable stay is 14 days at any one park, although, during less busy times, you may be able to extend to 28 days at the discretion of the camp management. Seniors over 65 who are Florida residents receive a 50 percent discount on camping fees.
Traveling south on US 1, RVers find both sides of the road lined with private campgrounds, many quite small and often featuring tiki huts on the water. These make for an enjoyable stay, with sunset the best time of all for cocktails and making new friends. Others are enormous modern RV resorts often occupying their own islands. In the winter, prices typically soar to over $100 a night but may be half that during the summer. If you plan on spending a month or two in the winter on the Keys, look for a deal on long-term camping, usually available for around $2,000 a month.
3. Sight See as You Drive the Overseas Highway
US Route 1, a.k.a. The Overseas Highway provides the only road access to the Florida Keys. Much of it follows the right-of-way of the Overseas Railroad built by Henry Flagler during the first decade of the 1900s.
Today, the Overseas Highway runs the length of Monroe County, 113 miles along the Florida Keys, ending at Milepost 0 in Key West. Directions on the Keys sometimes use Mile Marker (MM) shorthand. Look for the MM signs along US 1 to get your bearings.
As you drive along the Overseas Highway, keep an eye out for old spurs of the railroad and the highway. The latest construction bypassed these sections, many of them now repurposed as public fishing piers.
4. Drive Smart
The Keys have an active police force and low speed limits along most of US 1. Many drivers are surprised (read: annoyed) to see a couple of hours added to their projected trip time but you need to obey the speed limit anyway. Observing the speed limit is especially important on Big Pine Key where the authorities enforce a nighttime limit of 35 mph, and 30 mph on side roads. They are serious about the speed limit to protect the population of endangered Key Deer. Relax, it’s only a few miles, from Mile Marker 29 to Mile Marker 33.
Incidentally, you need to keep an eye out for these cute little deer, which typically grow to less than 3 feet tall, all over the Keys. They often swim from island to island. The adorable fawns are born April through June, and you’d hate to run over one. The US Fish & Wildlife Service operates an information center on Key Deer and their habitat on Big Pine Key.
For the most stress-free visit to the Keys, if you have an RV bigger than a van, plan to bring along a tow car to use on the islands. That way you can stay hooked up at the campground and not worry about maneuvering your Class A through the often crowded, always narrow streets of Key West and other island towns. If you don’t tow, consider renting a car for the duration of your stay.
Another option for getting around is public buses. The Lower Keys Shuttle travels between Marathon and Key West and has numerous stops. And Key West itself has an extensive city bus system as well as the free Duval Loop bus.
The Best RV Parks In The Florida Keys
Our list includes the best of both public and private parks on each of the Florida Keys. We start at the north end of the Overseas Highway and work our way south, giving you MM directions where we can.
RV Parks in the Upper Keys: From MM 113 to MM 73 (MM is Mile Marker)
Just an hour from Miami, the Upper Keys are known for their snorkeling and diving opportunities centered on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, location of the only living coral reef in the continental United States, and the third largest in the world, as well as a Shipwreck Trail for divers.
Public: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (MM 102) – John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is one of the best RV Parks in Key Largo Florida and is known as the nation’s first underwater park. John Pennekamp concessions offer a variety of water sports options, including canoeing, kayaking, diving, and snorkeling, with a wheelchair friendly snorkeling vessel available. A glass-bottom boat tour provides a look below the surface for visitors who don’t want to get wet. Swimming and snorkeling from shore are available at the park’s two beaches, including one with a Spanish shipwreck just offshore. The campground here has 42 RV or tent sites, all with electric and water. A dump station is available. Also located within the park boundaries, the Blue Fin Rock Harbor RV Park & Marina offers full hookup sites, a dive shop, full-service marina, and restaurant.
Private: Kings Kamp RV Park & Marina (MM 103.4) – Kings Kamp RV Park & Marina is a small RV park with a small beach on the bayside with a boat ramp, and jetty. It has 60 RV and tent sites with water and electric and its set on Blackwater Bay which has waterfront tiki-style establishments. Also, its one of the closest campgrounds to Miami and the Mainland, in case you have to “bug out.”
Resort Option: Keys Palms RV Resort (MM 104) – Keys Palms RV Resort has all the bells and whistles, with WiFi, security gate, dog park, bayside hot tub and heated swimming pool on-site.
RV Parks and Campgrounds in the Middle Keys: MM 73 through MM 47
Long and thin, this series of keys bore the major brunt of Hurricane Irma’s damage in 2017. The area is known for its spectacular fishing. Two of the most interesting small towns on the Keys are here: Islamorada with its active art scene and Marathon with its turtle hospital, aquarium, bird sanctuary, and Dolphin Research Center. Marathon at about MM 60 is known for its natural attractions, including beaches with an offshore reef, bird-rescue center, and loggerhead turtle nests.
Resort Option: Fiesta Key RV Resort and Marina (MM 70) – Fiesta Key RV Resort and Marina is one of the top notch Thousand Trails RV Resorts in the Florida Keys. It sits on its own island (with the neighboring KOA) and offers 324 full hookup sites as well as a full goody box of amenities, including lots of sandy beach, an on-site restaurant, beach bar, free WiFi, spa, pool and a marina with watersports rentals.
Public: Long Key State Park (MM 67.5) – Located midway between Islamorada and Marathon, Long Key State Park was once Henry Flagler’s Long Key Fishing Camp, a luxurious spot popular with celebrities, presidents and the world’s best saltwater anglers in the 1920s. The campground, with 60 water/electric campsites overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, suffered severe damage during Irma and had to be completely rebuilt, with reservations suspended through December 31, 2019.
Public: Curry Hammock State Park (MM 56) – Curry Hammock State Park is a gorgeous RV campground in the Florida Keys. It is an undeveloped stretch of oceanfront beach that has mangrove forests and seagrass beds. And you can explore them by foot, kayak or paddleboard. The 28 campsites RV camping right on the beach and have water and electric, plus amazing views of the ocean. This eco-conscious park with compost toilets and solar-powered hot showers is one of the best kite-boarding spots in Florida. For more info about composting toilets check out our article called Why You Should Consider a Composting Toilet for Your RV.
Private: Grassy Key RV Park & Resort (MM 58.7) – Grassy Key RV Park & Resort is a sweet spot on the Gulf of Mexico has 38 RV sites with full hookups, pool, dock, WiFi.
Resort Option: Jolly Roger RV Resort (MM 59) – The Jolly Roger RV Resort is a pet-friendly 160 site park that offers full hookups on the Gulf with lots of trees, a pool, and cable TV.
Best RV Parks in the Lower Keys: MM 40 through MM 0
After crossing the Seven Mile Bridge, the longest over-water stretch of the Overseas Highway, visitors enter the lower Keys, with Key West just ahead. The Lower Keys Shuttle runs from Marathon all the way to Key West with numerous stops in between.
Big Pine Key
Public: Bahia Honda State Park (36.8) – Bahia Honda State Park is the star of Florida’s state parks on the Keys. Because Bahia Honda is one of the best Florida State parks for RV camping it is tremendously popular, and it’s tough to book RV Campsites. But it’s worth it for the sandy beaches on both the Atlantic and the Gulf. Plus scenic views of the Old Bahia Honda Railroad Bridge, the highest section of the Overseas Railway, serves as a backdrop. Kayaking is popular here, with rentals available at the marina. Snorkeling tours run out to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, with the Keys’ most spectacular reef. Hurricane Irma destroyed some of the park’s campsites, but 42 electric sites remain available.
Private: Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge (MM 33) – If you’re towing your boat, then Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge is the RV park for you. The 172 water/electric RV sites join 75 “rustic” sites for tents and RVs. The campground has a fully stocked store and bait shop, a pool, free WiFi, boat ramp and marina. Fish cleaning tables make this a great place for fishing enthusiasts to kick back and enjoy.
Resort Option: Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina (38.8) – Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina is a Thousand Trails affiliate is one of the largest RV campgrounds in the Florida Keys with 399 full hookup sites and all the amenities set on a private island just north of Bahia Honda State Park.
Lazy Lakes RV Resort (MM 20) – Lazy Lakes RV Resort is a laid back RV resort located about 15 minutes from Key West. It features 99 full hookup sites around a 7-acre saltwater lake. Plus, it has a heated pool, WiFi and cable TV is available. They also have errific off-season rates. The bus to Key West stops just across the street making this RV campground very convenient to get to Key West.
Geiger Key Marina & RV Park (MM 10.5) – Geiger Key Marina & RV Park is set in a secluded spot that was a former fishing camp. This small 37-site RV park is worth seeking out for the great tiki hut, old Florida fish camp cuisine, and live music. Even if you can’t book a campsite, it’s worth a visit.
Best RV Campgrounds in the Key West Area
Soaring real estate prices have wiped out all the campgrounds that used to be on Key West itself. The two we list are actually on Stock Island, the gateway to Key West, and within biking distance of downtown. Alternatively, you can catch the Lower Keys Shuttle or a city bus to connect with the free downtown Duval Loop bus.
Boyd’s Key West Campground (MM 5) – Boyd’s Key West Campground one of the best RV parks because of it’s proximity to Key West. It’s Coconut palms and swimming beach give the 150 RV sites here a tropical feel, despite its close-in location to the Key West crowds. Amenities include free WiFi, a heated pool, a boat ramp, and docks.
Leo’s Campground (MM 4.5) – Leo’s Campground is conveniently located RV campground, just a block off US 1 as it crosses over to Key West. It has 30 full hookup RV campsites and nine gravel tent sites and includes Free WiFi.
Congratulations! You’ve made the full trip down the Overseas Highway, 113 miles and 42 bridges. Hopefully, you took time to visit with the dolphins, sea turtles and Key Deer, to snorkel in the crystal waters and to raise a cocktail to toast the sunset. Now that you’ve reached Key West don’t forget to get your picture taken at the iconic MM 0 at the end of US 1. It’s the longest north-south highway in the nation, 2,390 miles from Key West to Fort Kent, Maine. Now that’s a road trip!
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Do you have a favorite RV park in the Florida Keys? Let us know and maybe we can add it to The Best RV Parks in the Florida Keys – A Complete Guide!