Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snowbirding in Florida?

Arizona has had gorgeous winter weather this year.  I would say the weather has probably been about the best we’ve experienced since hanging around during the winter here.  Most of our time has been spent in the Phoenix area except for a few little “vacations” and Quartzsite. Today we finally pulled the motorhome out of the spot we had been sitting in pretty much for three months.  We left Phoenix in our rear view mirror and headed southeast.  We were Tucson bound with an intent to stay there for about 3 weeks.  We’ll be watching the weather east and hoping it warms up before we head in that direction. 

We arrived a little earlier than planned because we have an appointment to have our motorhome serviced on March 2nd.  So, it is only one night at the Voyager Resort but we’ll be returning here when the Escapade is over.  After our RV is serviced on Monday we’ll spend another night at one of the local casinos before we move (on our anniversary) to Diamond J’s for five nights and then to Escapade.


We’ve always heard people say how expensive it is to winter in Florida.  I had no clue what people called “expensive” because that figure varies on who you are discussing it with.   So, I decided to check for myself and see what expensive really means.

First of all, I wanted to look at state parks in the Keys.  I knew they had some there.  We had visited the John Pennecamp State Park many years ago.  The rate at the parks on the Keys vary according to season and specific park  but they seem to run between $36 to $43 a night.  The problem with booking reservations for next winter ispennecamp that most of the sites in the state parks on the Keys are already booked until January 2016.  Reservations can be booked 11 months in advance so another couple weeks opened for booking on March 1st.   The two weeks that opened up were sold out pretty quick. 

I’m going to guess that some (many?) RV parks are already full for the next winter season too.  We know that northern Florida isn’t as warm as the southern part.  Others know that too and that’s why they flock south.  The RV parks in southern Florida have some pretty steep daily and monthly fees. 

Prices seem to be much lower through December.  We found parks in the $600 – $800 range.  However, once January rolled around those monthly fees jumped up.  I did find parks that were definitely in that expensive category.  Some of these ranged from about  $2,500 a month to close to $4,000 a month!
Arizona is another very popular snowbird state and that monthly price  would cover a whole season in many nice RV parks there.

Grassy Key Resort – with waterfront site $1675 a month until December 14 and after that the rate jumps to $2720 a month.  Now that’s real expensive to me.

There are quite a few Elk lodges in Florida. However, most of the lodges don’t have RV parking.  Some allow boondocking and a very few have more than 3 or 4 sites with hookups.  I bet they fill up pretty fast as well.    So, where do the hoards of people who go to Florida for the winter stay for a reasonable price and with full hookups?  savannas1 They could  stay in membership parks like Thousand Trails but then they are limited on the time they can stay depending on the membership they own.  It could be only 2 weeks or 3 weeks.  Again, getting reservations may be a little difficult.

Northern Florida can get wet and cold.  We were there once in December.  The weather was nice until about the middle of the month and then, it rained and rained and rained.  Some snowbirds stay in the northern RV parks but the stampede of RVers head much farther south.  Try to book the Keys and you not only run into high monthly fees but also parks without any availability.  I think the Keys would be the perfect canoeplace to stay but the problem is so many others do too.  The east coast of Florida isn’t quite as popular as the Keys but it’s cheaper.  County parks around Florida are another option.

 Savannas Recreation Area is a county park just north of West Palm Beach.  The rate jensonis $25 a night.  Now that’s a deal and one that might be worth checking into.  Jenson Beach RV parks are owner lots.  Many of the owners rent their lots out to snowbirds.

 Check out this riverfront lot on Jensen Beach for $1,500 a month.

So, what are the real secrets about snowbirding in Florida?  John (HeyDuke Blog) shared his favorite secret resort in Florida.  Where are the other great and secret places?   We’re thinking maybe we should go check out some of the RV parks in Florida.   That’s what we’re thinking alright.

‘Tis life on the road.


  1. Is it going to be Casino Del Sol on Valencia in Tucson? Best casino parking, we think.

  2. Thanks for doing some of the leg work for me. We probably won't be there in the winter months but are thinking of heading there when we leave Ohio in September. I am looking at state parks and Elks along the route. I didn't think of County parks. I need to look into COE parks also.

    I am finding that even in September the state parks charge around $27-$30/night. I know people what look at me and say....that is no money, but when we stay at the Elks for $20/night....

  3. I am really glad we dont have any desire to visit Florida again...especially in the winter. MAYBE spring or fall. We have stayed on the Gulf a couple of winters, but it is chilly and rainy. Joe has no desire to visit the Keys so it isnt on our radar.

    Welcome to Tucson!

  4. we spent the winter in FL a coupleof years ago. Even using 2 phones an ipad and a computer it was pretty much impossible to hit the "book now" button fast enough to get a spot in the state parks. We checked every day for 7 months and grabbed a couple of cancelations. We really liked Jolly Roger on Marathon. thanks for the jeep info!

  5. we have been to Florida a few times, and really don't much care for the crowds, humidity or expensive rv parks. With most of our camping free memberships or $10.00 a night we don't like to pay any more than that, so pretty well leaves our Florida, except for a couple of parks.

  6. We did not like the humidity and critters in Florida. That said we did find a nice county park and we lucked into some cancellations at state parks and we spent one very expensive night at Boyd's in Key West so we could do a quick tour of Key West. We now have a been there; done that attitude about Florida.

  7. We started out saying we had no desire to spend time in FL, but other bloggers have shown me a side I really want to see, so we will eventually make our way there for a month or two. Thanks for more good info, maybe we'll win that lottery before we go :-)

    1. Like you, we have to do it for a month or two. We've done the north during the winter but never done the south that time of year. RVers flood to that area for a reason. I want to find that reason. PS: I don't have your email.

    2. It's under contact information on my google profile (click on my name)

  8. Thank goodness I don't have any desire to visit Florida! Sounds as bad, or worse, than San Diego, CA. Of course, San Diego is pretty nice all year long, but they just don't have a lot of options. I love being able to camp cheaply (or free) with the LTVA permit in AZ/CA BLMs and New Mexico State Park Annual Pass. I'm so spoiled now, I don't even want to pay $10/night. :)

  9. Just a few ideas for military campgrounds: Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville; Patrick AFB, Port Canaveral; Coast Guard Station Marathon (2 FHUs), MacDill AFB, just south of Tampa; Naval Station Key West. Key West has 200 boondock sites and a two week rotation into the FHU sites. The boondock sites have water, dump station and showers on site. Out the back gate and right into downtown KW.

    On the Panhandle: NAS Pensacola (2 campgrounds), Eglin AFB, Army Rec Center, Destin, Naval Support Center, Panama City.

    Also an Escapees CG in Bushnell, FL.

    Where can we meet up with you??? I have a dollar to repay you (plus interest). :c)

  10. When will you be heading east and for how long?

  11. We spent part of two winters in south FL around Naples and the rates were 800 a month range and you had to book way in advance. We spent parts of several winters in the panhandle of FL, where we now live and there are any number of parks available here. It is cooler but nothing like the north.

  12. We might visit Florida in November or December but we hate crowds so can't seem to decide.


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