Even though we’ve been living in Florida for a few months already, we hadn’t had much of a chance to explore the state by campervan until Becky managed to snag us a couple of campsites in the Florida Keys. These highly coveted state run campsites sell out within seconds of their release date 11 months in advance, as budget accommodation in the Keys is unheard of. At only $36 a night with full facilities (plus a 50% discount for seniors over 65), this is one of the best bargains in the region and competition for the few available campsites is fierce with lots of strategy used to secure a reservation. Even during coronavirus lockdowns, the sites remained fully booked and we were happy to get reservations for both John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo and Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon. But before reaching the keys, we planned out a circular whirlwind tour to take in a bit of Tampa, Bradenton, Sarasota, Punta Gorda, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, and Everglades National Park. Key West surprised us by living up to its considerable hype as we fell in love with the charm and attractiveness of this touristy destination. On our way back home, we stopped at Jonathan Dickinson State Park to camp for a few nights while we checked out Jupiter drift diving and Blue Heron Bridge which is considered one of the best shore dive destinations in the US. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was our last stop of the trip and we got to see baby green herons, Florida softshell turtles, alligators and herons. Not bad considering the best time to visit is between September to January and we were visiting during the off season! Camping in late April and early May was shockingly hot and humid and we wouldn’t attempt a repeat road trip without having full camping facilities as AC was definitely necessary at night. We are both keen to hit the road in Florida again during the fall/winter season as there should be more boondocking opportunities and there is still much of this lovely state that we want to explore.
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