Florida RV Parks: The RV parks in Florida You Want to Visit!
RV parks in Florida, at their most elaborate, are the East Coast’s answer to the lavishness of the top-of-the-line RV parks you can find in California, Arizona and Texas. Overall, it’s a relatively subdued answer, but my wife and I found a few RV parks in Florida that offered some amenities we hadn’t seen since the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, such as ballroom dancing and restaurant meals.
Karen and I spent more than two and one-half months in Florida RV parks, waiting for spring so we could follow it north up the East Coast. This was part of a 30,000-mile adventure that we undertook in search of our country and ourselves. The trip is recounted in my book, In Search of America’s Heartbeat: Twelve Months on the Road.
For reasons I can’t explain -- probably the bad press Florida often gets in the national media -- neither of us expected to like the state. We were there only to enjoy its warm temperatures, we thought. To our surprise and delight, Florida turned out to be a fascinating place of many unspoiled beaches, swaying palms and lovely green seas. Fishing was good, people were open and friendly, restaurant food often was outstanding. The people we met, mostly “Northerners” in Florida’s south and “Southerners” in Florida’s north, made a fascinating mix, not to mention the nearly overwhelming Latino influence on Florida’s southeast coast. We found in Florida everything from Cuban-style food and drink in oceanside bistros to bluegrass festivals and fundamentalist revival meetings in hayfields in the interior portions of the state.
We camped in several parts of this intriguing state, to learn as much about it as we could, and left our RV behind temporarily to travel to Miami and the Florida Keys so we could experience those areas as well.
The Florida RV parks where we stayed as we explored were:
- Tallahassee RV Park in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city. This RV Park provided paved interior roads, 73 grass sites, all with full hookups, 59 of them pull-throughs. It provided wireless Internet access, cable TV, laundry room, pool and recreation room. Convenient to the capitol and to colleges. An attractive park, with campsites located under the pines. Karen and I spent only one night here en route to warmer climes farther south. The temperature when we pulled out of this campground on a mid-January morning was 28 degrees.
- Clearwater Travel Resort in Clearwater, on the Gulf Coast just across the bay from Tampa. This is a lovely section of Florida’s west coast, with beautiful Tampa Bay on one side of the city and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. The cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg are close by, as is the interesting Greek fishermen’s town of Tarpon Springs with its ethnic restaurants and shops. Fishing here is good, and party boats are available in Clearwater. This Florida RV park provided paved interior roads, 75 grass sites with patios and full hookups for travelers, laundry room, LP gas, heated pool, recreation hall. The RV park was fairly quiet despite its location on a major Clearwater thoroughfare, but traffic on the street made getting in and out of the park tricky when towing a large RV.
- Fort Myers/Pine Island KOA near St. James City. This RV park was crowded and busy and not terribly aesthetic, but it was tucked away on a wonderful island, Pine Island, in the Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s southwest coast. The RV park provided paved interior roads and 270 sites for travelers, all with full hookups, 220 of them paved and the rest grass. It provided cable TV, laundry room, LP gas sales, tennis court, heated pool, hot tub and recreation hall. Freshwater fishing was available in a pond, and saltwater fishing was all around. Some RVs had outboard-powered boats on trailers parked at their sites. Trucks and other RV tow vehicles were crammed into sites at various angles. In spite of the apparent disorder, we liked this Florida RV park. And we loved the island.
- Gulf Waters RV Resort in Fort Myers Beach. This RV park, nearly treeless and grassy, provided paved interior roads, 319 paved sites with patios, all with full hookups, cable TV, laundry room, pond, heated pool, hot tub, recreation hall. We spent more than a month in this Florida RV park, which was clean and attractive and a great place from which to visit all the attractions in this part of Florida, including fascinating Sanibel Island. The guided kayak or canoe tour through the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel is definitely worth doing. Lots of saltwater fishing opportunity around Fort Myers Beach, both from party boats and from the beach. The pond at the RV park, by the way, sported a sign that warned, “Do Not Feed the Alligator.” And, yes, we saw it on several occasions.
- Indian Creek RV Resort, in Fort Myers Beach. Located across the road from Gulf Waters RV Resort. Karen and I stayed in this RV park only a few days, after our reservation expired at Gulf Waters RV Resort and another couple wanted to occupy that site. At least one in your party must be 55 or older to stay here. This was a pleasant resort, nicely wooded, and we liked it, although we found some of the corners on the interior roads sharp enough to be challenging for someone pulling a large trailer. This RV park provided paved interior roads, 250 grass sites with patios for travelers, 50 of them pull-throughs, all with full hookups, wireless Internet access, cable TV, laundry room, pond, heated pool, hot tub, recreation hall.
- Okeechobee KOA Kampground & Golf Course near Okeechobee. This is an interesting area; speckled perch capital of the world, and a lake so large you can’t see across it even on a clear day. Forty-five miles of water, from side-to-side, and reportedly the second-largest body of water wholly within the United States, after Lake Michigan. Average depth? Only 15 feet. Fishing in the lake is good, once you get the hang of it. This RV park provides paved interior roads, 450 paved sites for travelers, with patios, all with full hookups, 10 of them pull-throughs, wireless Internet access, cable TV, laundry room, groceries, RV supplies, LP gas, heated pool, hot tub, recreation hall, golf.
- Lake Waldena Resort, east of Silver Springs on Highway 40. A pleasant, rustic, very rural park with freshwater fishing opportunity right outside your RV. This RV park provides paved interior roads, more than 100 grass sites with patios, six of them pull-throughs, 100 with full hookups, four with water and electric. It provided cable TV, laundry room, groceries, recreation hall, fishing and swimming in Lake Waldena.
- Ocean Grove Camp Resort in St. Augustine Beach. A nice place to spend a few days while you explore St. Augustine and its interesting historic district. The Spanish founded St. Augustine in 1565, making it now the oldest city in America. This RV park provided paved and gravel interior roads, 178 grass sites for travelers, 40 of them pull-throughs, 163 with full hookups and the rest with water and electric. It provided cable TV, laundry room, RV supplies, LP gas sales, pool, hot tub, recreation hall, boat-launching ramp, dock and access to saltwater fishing.
If you’re considering exploring any Florida RV parks, I hope you’ve found these descriptions helpful. If you know of any other RV parks in Florida that I shold add to this list, e-mail me at email@example.com.
To read a great book about life on the road, including my travels through some of the great RV parks in Florida and neighboring states, grab your copy of In Search of America’s Heartbeat: Twelve Months on the Road.