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Old 10-03-2019, 09:42 PM   #1
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Florida in the winter

I’m wondering what it’s like to travel in Florida in the winter without reservations. I suspect that many places get booked a year in advance, but is that true for everywhere?
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:43 PM   #2
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Pretty much. We had reservations near Fort Pierce for a month mid Oct-mid Nov, then had to extend another 3 weeks due to slow mechanics working on our boat. The park had us move every 4-5 days to accommodate our overstay. After Dec 1, there were no more spaces available. Luckily our boat was completed by then. Savannas Park off Midway Rd was the park, it is a wildlife refuge mainly. Canoe rentals, pickle ball? court, and little else. Nice showers, full hookups, about $30/day.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:04 PM   #3
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It's pretty grim. The state parks allow reservations eleven months ahead of time, and they quickly fill up. As a Floridian I'm mildly annoyed that I have difficulty reserving stays in my home state's parks.

But there is some kind of strategy being worked here. People will make reservations in multiple parks on the same date then cancel some of them at the last minute. I don't quite understand what they are doing, but I'm not paying much attention, either. I'll turn my attention to Florida state parks after I turn 65 and can get their "geezer" pass for half-off camping. Then I can explore my home state more.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:32 AM   #4
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Never had good luck getting reservations at Florida State Parks during the Winter season especially the Keys . Having to book 11 months in advance ,having to pay up front for your campsite and Florida’s excessive tourist taxes , caused us to abandon “The Sunshine State”
We found Georgia to be a better fit for our Winter travel needs .
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:51 AM   #5
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Never had good luck getting reservations at Florida State Parks during the Winter season especially the Keys . Having to book 11 months in advance ,having to pay up front for your campsite and Florida’s excessive tourist taxes , caused us to abandon “The Sunshine State”
We found Georgia to be a better fit for our Winter travel needs .


Any in Georgia you especially like?
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:09 AM   #6
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Any in Georgia you especially like?
Hi: JStelly... We had a nice stay in Crooked River St. Pk. It's right on top of Florida, but I can't throw a stone that far. Georgia had a curious res. system though. They kept a spot for you but you only find out which one it is when you arrive. We got an early look around and pick one!!! Got a nice huge corner lot, but the Georgia resident drove a 40' Moho towing his fishing boat diagonally through ours to get to his. Next time I parked the truck a lot closer!!!
The seafood is just fine there, but res. recommended too!!! Alf
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:21 AM   #7
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Any in Georgia you especially like?
Crooked River , Reed Bingham , Seminole , Amicalola Falls and a couple others I can’t remember .
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:23 AM   #8
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Things may have changed in the 6 years since we spent Dec and Jan in North Florida. We rarely had a problem with no reservations. We were mostly in the Ocala Nat Forest, Cedar Key and the Panhandle. We did try to arrive on a Thurs or Fri for the weekend. We did not try to go to the beach till we got to the panhandle. South Florida and the Keys are another story though...
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:40 AM   #9
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Thanks for the Georgia recommendations. It’s on our list to head east from Texas next Spring perhaps.

Texas used to have a similar reservation system. You’d make a res but not a specific spot. When you arrived, they would assign one or you could pick it out. In 2019 they switched to Reserve America so you can now pick a spot. They have some bugs in the system but it’s getting better as the year progresses.

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Old 10-04-2019, 08:15 AM   #10
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FWIW, many of the northern GA COE campgrounds are closed till sometime in March.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:17 AM   #11
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Thanks for the Georgia recommendations. It’s on our list to head east from Texas next Spring perhaps.

Texas used to have a similar reservation system. You’d make a res but not a specific spot. When you arrived, they would assign one or you could pick it out. In 2019 they switched to Reserve America so you can now pick a spot. They have some bugs in the system but it’s getting better as the year progresses.

John
Hi: JStelly... The only bugs we found in Georgia were the "Sand gnats". They emerged from the ground so the shelter with "No see-um" proof screens kept them in!!! Alf
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:06 AM   #12
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Yesterday I was reading about Ocala and it looks like they have a lot of unreserved sites as well as first come.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:19 AM   #13
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Another consideration, we could not leave FL in one day from Fort Pierce heading west to AZ. We were trying to get state campground reservations in the Suwanee River area for our first day of our exit. The 2 state campgrounds near i10 and i70 were booked solid, at the last minute 1 site opened for the day we needed. Otherwise it would have been a rest area overnight. Moving around in FL to or from your winter site is also a PITA.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:21 AM   #14
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Georgia

The COE parks at the West Point project are nice. With the Access pass, cheap too.

The person at Recreation.gov told me that COE requires reservations now. Even if the park was empty you would not be allowed in without a reservation.

I find that hard to believe. Probably shouldn't, after 32 years in Army(active and reserve). No reason needed, just policy!

Haven't inquired elsewhere to see if the person at rec.gov was correct.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:26 AM   #15
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Yesterday I was reading about Ocala and it looks like they have a lot of unreserved sites as well as first come.
No wonder, it is right in the middle of a state surrounded by water. Too far away from any entertainment and beaches.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:57 AM   #16
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Hi: JStelly... The only bugs we found in Georgia were the "Sand gnats". They emerged from the ground so the shelter with "No see-um" proof screens kept them in!!! Alf

escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie


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Old 10-04-2019, 11:12 AM   #17
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My experience lately is that all campsites on the coast are booked solid. If you’re willing to move inland a little, there are sites available. Some are on rivers. Or if you boondocks, some of the National Forests are available on the springs. As to the keys, occasionally I’ll find a site for 1 night. Too far for one night!
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:25 PM   #18
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Here are two lesser known municipal parks in/near Jacksonville. Right on the beach.
Hanna Park and Huguenot City Park. Two good choices. Excellent seafood restaurants nearby.

https://www.coj.net/departments/park...-at-hanna-park

https://www.coj.net/departments/park...rial-park.aspx

Enjoy your travels

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Old 10-04-2019, 12:44 PM   #19
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I’m wondering what it’s like to travel in Florida in the winter without reservations. I suspect that many places get booked a year in advance, but is that true for everywhere?
Hi! I stayed at a few places back in 2017 with short-notice reservations of a couple months.

Now, I did have to travel and stay at a couple of different RV parks as a “fill-in” between reservations already in place. I wouldn’t go without calling first, however, and setting up a plan.

We do have the smaller trailer size in our favor, so, you’ll find that options with the Escape is better than trailers over 21’; there are more open spots for smaller rigs than larger ones.

I stayed at a Key Largo park for a month:

https://www.keylargokampground.com/?page_id=655

Then moved on to Woodsmoke RV camp in Bonita Springs for an additional 2 months.

Keep in mind that the Hurricane wiped out much of the Keys, so I’m not sure which sites are still operational.
Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:45 PM   #20
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Ps- the “noseeums” in the Keys are brutal!!!
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