Camping Adventure: Two (Plus) Weeks

image(Campsite at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve)

We’re just over two and a half weeks into our camping adventure.  It’s been a great learning experience and most importantly, we’re having a great time.  We have stayed in private campgrounds and a state park campground.  Each type of campground has its own benefits.  Private campgrounds have full hook-ups (water, electric and sewer), offer more amenities, such as cable TV, free wi-fi, a camp store, and often will have swimming pool or on-site restaurant.  However, on the downside, the site sizes are often tiny, with barely enough room to park the RV and a vehicle.  Meanwhile, state or national park camp sites have bigger sites, which means more privacy and more room for the dogs to be on their leads without encountering other dogs.  Both public and private campgrounds offer restrooms and bathhouses, and the quality and cleanliness depends upon the facility.  So far, all of the bathhouses and restrooms at the camping facilities we have visited have been very clean.

After we left Daytona, we spent two nights at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve in Okeechobee, Florida.  The GPS had no idea how to get there, however, Google Maps on my iPhone provided great directions.

imageThis place is secluded and remote, with only 35 camp sites.  It is a star gazer’s paradise, as there is little to no light pollution.  When the moon is absent and skies are clear, the campground is full with amateur and professional astronomers alike with fancy sophisticated equipment gazing at the night sky.  There is also abundant wildlife present.  You just have to be patient and wait.

imageYes, there are alligators present in many places in South Florida.

imageDo you see the alligator in this photo?

_DSC9515LRThe dew in the morning illuminated all of the spider webs.  It was really cool.

_DSC9522LR

This little guy paid a visit to the camp site, and stuck around for awhile.

imageI tent camped here last March, and fell in love with the seclusion, the photo opportunities and the Florida prairie.  I had been longing to come back, and I’m glad I was able to do so, and want to continue coming back.

We spent the past five nights in private campgrounds, one in Ft. Lauderdale, and one in Fiesta Key (about 20 miles north of Marathon Key).  Both sites were tiny, and campers are crammed in as many as possible.  Ft. Lauderdale did have a nice fenced in dog run, and our site was over looking a man made pond, and the bath house was clean, and had been updated.  (I didn’t take any photos of our site in Ft. Lauderdale).

Our site in Fiesta Key was the worst one so far.  Again, a tiny site, and as soon as we arrived, other campers came and told us that the people behind us had been up partying until 3 a.m. and were loud.  Awesome.   There were a ton of people at their site, and they kept walking through our site to get to the road that led to the water (instead of walking around the corner, which was two sites down and then around).  The kids also felt free to use our site to cut through on their bicycles.  They had a huge cookout, and there were guests that came in cars that weren’t staying at the campground.  However, by dark, the party was over, and it was quiet.

People come and spend the winter here in Fiesta Key.  On our left was a huge fifth-wheel camper and the outside is just filled with stuff everywhere.  One camper a little further up had a block party outside of his site and was playing music and taking requests.  Golf carts are abundant here, and many campers really go all out to decorate their sites to make them look nice, with screened in seating areas, outside refrigerators, and lots of decorations.  Unfortunately, we weren’t near any of those people.  Thankfully, we were only here for two nights.

The big plus for Fiesta Key, is the view (not from our campsite, but just a short walk up the road).  There are beautiful expansive views of the Gulf of Mexico.  In the evening, the breeze felt great.

I am a HUGE fan of state/national park camp sites.  However, the problem in season in any of these campgrounds is getting a spot.

Need to figure out how the system works.

Even getting a site anywhere in a state campgound in the Florida Keys for next year is already sold out.  Every single spot.

Going to have to do my homework on this one.

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