Most places in the U.S. are feeling a little bit of a chill in the air as fall descends, and we all know that winter is on its way. While winter is a great season with lots of fun to be had, the dream of renting an RV and taking a self-lead, bohemian vacation through the perpetually sunny state of Florida is always a dream that crops up in the coldest months.
If you’re thinking that this year is the year to finally take the road trip of your dreams, read on for some tips about the best places to visit in Florida. If you don’t have an RV, that’s ok! You can rent a great RV suited to your needs, directly from a knowledgeable local owner, with Mighway.
Get Started in Miami
In consideration on where to start, it’s hard to pick a better city to start with than Miami. Miami is the epicenter of food, culture and nightlife in Florida. You can enjoy a variety of Cuban and other regionally-dictated ethnic favorites. Miami Beach is great for people watching, or you can go a little farther south, about 30 minutes, to Boca Raton/Boynton Beach for a more relaxed and private beach experience complete with a playground for the younger travelers.
There’s no shortage of RV campsites, but a stand out is Miami Everglades Resort, a 34 acre-campsite that features avocado, mango and palm trees. There’s a reason why Everglades is in the name; it’s next door to the Everglades National Park. It’s a quick trip to tour the Everglades, ride a swamp boat and have a face-to-face alligator experience.
While there are many alligators in the park and parents are urged to caution their children about touching them, it’s a kid-friendly park that has many programs for children to enjoy.
If you have more time in the Miami area, Sawgrass Mills is a great place to shop the day away. There are several eating establishments, including a Rain Forest Cafe with animatronic forest creatures, and every shoppers’ desire from Burberry to more mid-range brands.
Leave Miami and head south to US-1. The map will show a three-and-a-half-hour drive, but prepare for a longer trip. You won’t really mind it once you reach the coastal highway, and there are plenty of places to stop along the way. Just be sure to monitor your gas and fuel up before and mid-trip, because if you plan to go to the Southernmost Point, there’s little opportunity along the way to re-fuel.
One of the first notable towns on the trip is Key Largo, of the Beach Boys fame. It still looks much like it probably did in the 1960’s, and is easily one of the best places to visit in Florida. Weather-beaten roadside diners and eateries advertise their goods. If you choose to overnight here, there’s Riptide RV Resort and Marina, mile marker 97.5, which has a private beach as well as Wifi, a clubhouse, kayaking, shuffleboard, picnic areas, laundry and shower facilities. Pets are welcome.
Stop by Islamorada to view the local Theater of the Sea attraction where you can swim with dolphins, sharks, or take a snorkeling cruise. RV parking in Islamorada can be found at San Pedro RV Resort and Marina just off the Overseas Hwy.
Marathon, Fl, is your last big-city stop between Miami and Key West. RV parking is found in several places; Grassy Key RV Park, or Jolly Roger RV Resort. While the Jolly Roger is smaller, they both offer a variety of amenities to the RV traveler as well as beautiful beach views. Take the kids to tour the Dolphin Research Center for some hands-on-learning about the ocean’s ecosystem, or just explore Grassy Key and all the fine dining it has to offer.
Key West is the very lowest that you can go. You’ll want to leave your RV stationary as you explore this town. Street-side parking is tight and parking garages are usually booked. Luckily the island has rentals of mopeds, bikes and quad bikes for visitors. RV parking is available at Boyd’s Key West Campground. There’s plenty to explore after you take your own photo of the Southernmost Point.
During the day, explore the many museums and aquariums off Duval Street downtown. Stop by Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe for a tasty local treat, see Ernest Hemingway’s house, and be sure to have some dollars on hand when you watch the Sunset Celebration that occurs nightly in the square where you’ll have the chance to enjoy local musicians, performers and vendors.
Keep in mind that the Florida Keys are home to the last significant population of Key Deer. These deer are smaller than typical deer and often roam the streets and highways. Take caution when driving at night or early morning.
The best part about this trip is that it’s just as fun on the way back. So, if you’ve been dreaming of the perfect Florida-by-RV vacation, head over to Mighway. You could be enjoying the sun and the sand sooner than you think.