The Sunshine State is famous for its beaches and warm weather all year round. There are not many places in the US that escape the chill of the winter months, not even the traditionally warm states of Texas and Arizona. Florida has become a hub for those who are trying to beat the cold, making it popular with RV.
Florida is not all Fort Lauderdale Beach and Walt Disney World; many fascinating places make great sightseeing options too. There are several natural landmarks to explore that have been left untouched that showcase the true beauty of Florida, away from the skyscrapers and crowds of people at the beach. Although Florida can be expensive, particularly for florida rv rentals, here are some tips and tricks to beat the prices and crowds of Florida.
Seek Out National State Parks
Maybe it has something to do with the crazy development prices as well as extremely high demand, but it is no secret that RV parks are expensive for what they offer. We’ve all splurged a bit on RV parks, but they often come with the bells and whistles that make the high cost seem worthwhile. For a spa, rooms with games to while away the night, and pools to relax in the water, 100 dollars a night may not seem cheap by any means, but you certainly get what you pay for.
Though this may seem the norm in Phoenix and even California, private Floridian RV parks are notoriously expensive and hard to book. There is a way to still get some affordable and relatively nice accommodation, and that’s the Florida State Parks.
Thankfully, there is an app called “Campground full?” that helps you find availabilities in Florida State Parks and alerts you when there is an opening for your time frame. Here are our top favorite national parks.
Anastasia State Park
By far one of our favorite campgrounds, Anastasia State Park is dotted with salt-shaker beaches, expansive dunes, and dreamy boardwalks that are ideal for romantic strolls at night. It is also home to a vast and lively forest located next to the ocean and has well-spaced camping sites suitable for both vans and small RVs. The forest ground is teeming with foliage, and the oak trees are covered with moss and lichen… you’ll never guess this tropical paradise is in Florida! There are also several quaint cafes and food trucks situated nearby St. Augustine for you to enjoy.
Rainbow Springs State Park
Many camp goers who visit Rainbow Springs never fully enjoy the true extent of this park’s beauty. Though the campground is pleasant, a trip down to the nearby river is what makes this experience magical. Take a paddle upstream towards the springs, and you’ll see birds dance in and out of the forest, fish dart around your kayak, and turtles sunbathing on corner logs before diving back into the cool river. The sun is warm and the water’s sparkling.
Once you reach the other side of the river, you’ll see a row of never-ending houses: seasoned tourists and a local community waving as you make your way down. After your trip, recharge yourself at a local riverside bar, where you can enjoy delicious food and ice-cold margaritas. At night, head back to your RV for a campfire and smores.
Paynes Prairie Preserve
Nearer the northeastern side of Florida lies the Paynes Prairie Preserve, a scenic park where you can soak in the sights of the swinging Spanish moss, grand live oak trees, and even live horses and alligators about. Though this isn’t the particularly sunny Florida that visitors often imagine –– it’s quiet and thickly wooded, and a perfect getaway for a peaceful retreat.
Ready, Camp, Go! And Thousand Trails Passes
Alternatively, you can also look into the Thousand Trails and Ready, Camp, Go! Passes if you can’t get any slots at a State Park.
You pay a membership fee which is about forty-nine dollars annually, but these passes get you discounted rates at RV parks that beats the overpriced rates. Additionally, some of them are really good value, too, as they offer amenities that otherwise you can’t find elsewhere without paying high prices.
Just note that the passes are sold according to different quarters of the entire country and that you should get the specific passes for the area of the country you want to use the passes in.
Surviving The Traffic
The most notorious of Floridian traffic is along the I-95, where speeding is commonplace. Good luck trying to overtake anyone or for a peaceful drive of any sort while you’re on it.
The I-75 is a great alternative if you’re in Florida just to sightsee and don’t have any particular destination in mind, as it travels on the left side of the state and is not as populous or crowded. You should also explore traveling on the backroads of the western coast or even the middle areas of Florida.
Yes, there are beaches and gambling and enough drinking spots to last a lifetime in Florida, but what else is there to do? Besides the theme parks and space museums, Florida is host to a wide range of natural flora and fauna that show the second half of Florida’s wild side.
There are also world famous aquariums to see sharks, whale and other sea creatures.
Visiting Small Towns
Though most of Florida is connected with big city centers, Apalachicola is one of our favorite small towns to date. Fill your day by popping by cute coffee shops, checking out vintage boats, and visiting delicious restaurants. If you plan on staying in Apalachicola for a while, we recommend parking at St. George’s Island State Park and St. Joseph’s Peninsula to enjoy the northern coast. Alternatively, you can also check out Siesta Key and St. Augustine as well!
Birding is a great pastime to explore while you’re in the state, as Florida is home to more than 500 species of birds that can be seen inhabiting the state. Many of the birds are big and easy to spot, making it a great place to build up your birding experience.
For interested birdwatchers, you might want to visit the Big Cypress National Preserve, as the canal is often full of exotic birds. Some common ones include the great blue herons, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, and great herrings.
Florida is a great place for those less physically inclined or for children to do some light hiking, as the state is fairly flat but still offers some breathtaking vistas. There is plenty of variety to be had, from dunes to forests and even swamps that have walking platforms. You could even catch a glimpse of the famous flamingos and crocodiles that Florida is so famous for.
Florida, for what it’s worth, holds plenty of beauty and opportunity for us RVers to have a great time while beating the cold of the rest of the US, without spending too much money.
On the surface, Florida can be an expensive place for RVers to visit, but with the right know-how and with some of the tips mentioned above, there is plenty that can be done even if you’re not one to enjoy the stereotypical Floridian lifestyle of beaches and parties. So don’t feel hesitant to visit, and plan your next trip to the Sunshine state!