Our personal favorite CGs are flagged with the heart.
Alachua - Travelers Campground - This CG is directly off I-75 (exit 331) and
not far from Gainesville so the locals use it often when attending University of Florida football games. $33/night, 50 amp, water, sewer and free WiFi.
Conclusion - This was an overnight CG for us. While it met our needs, it is the strangest layout we have ever seen. Several rows with sites end on end. Each RV must park within the designated area so there is enough room to get out. They escort you to your site to be sure you park correctly. Though the setup works it does not give you much privacy and very unattractive. The WiFi worked sporadically and the interior roads were in terrible shape but the staff were quite friendly.
11/07 - Rating 7.5
Alva - Riverbend Motorcoach Resort - This Class A ownership resort is 17 miles east of Fort Myers and a good portion of it sets directly along the Caloosahatchee River.
All interior roads are paved (great condition) and all sites are deep and extra wide with nice landscaping. Many sites have lovely water views as there are several ponds. We stayed during “off season” so it was very quiet and had our pick of sites. $44/night (FL resident), water, 50 amp, cable and free WiFi. Grocery Shopping available in LaBelle — about 7 miles east of the resort.
Conclusion - Great resort - we loved it and probably will return someday as it is fairly close to home and we would like to enjoy the activities and meet some folks who spend the winters here. We are told it is a very active resort during the peak season. The WiFi worked great. If you choose to stay here - I’d recommend a site near the back. Sites in the front get noise from Route 80 as the resort entrance is directly off it.
05/07 - Rating 10
DeFuniak Springs - Sunset King Lake Resort -
This resort is a couple of miles from town and right off US 331. Reasonable rates @ 29/night for 50 amp, water, sewer, free WiFi (though we were told a charge for WiFi is coming soon). It is also a Coast-to-Coast CG, but we are not members so no deal for us.
Conclusion - Unlike some folks, we don’t consider this a destination resort. The sites are a bit too close together for us and unattractive. The pool was nice though a bit small, the grounds near the lake are nice with the pine trees too, but that lake? Strange - we called it Lake Forest. Those from Chicago will understand that pun. They had a kitchen and meals are served at times but not during our stay. Lots of activities for the guests and you can tell there are folks who truly enjoy this place a lot - but it was not for us. I doubt we will ever return.
09/07 - Rating 7
Jacksonville - Flamingo Lake RV Resort - This resort is located off I-295 North of Jacksonville at exit 32. A large resort that caters to travelers and snowbirds. Our visit was for overnight only. $45/night water, 50 amp, sewer, cable tv, free WiFi, pool, CG cafe and some other things we never got a chance to see. Check their website for more details.
Conclusion - Nice place. Love the tall pine trees in the middle of the campground. All services worked fine and we even tried the cafe. Food was OK. They have karokee on Friday night. Kinda loud from our site, but tolerable since we knew it would end at 10 p.m. Nice paved roads and a big park so you can get in lots of walking. Premo sites right on the lake are awfully close to the interstate so lots of road noise there. We’d visit again for overnight.
I give it a 9 for it’s convenience and services…in terms of beauty I’d have to say an 8 as the visual appeal is inconsistent. Some sites are big and pretty and others are cramped and quite unattractive. Definitely has that snowbird park feel. You can see a few more pics here.
10/08 - Rating 9
Kissimmiee - Fort Wilderness - Finally after living in Florida for 3 years, we made it to Fort Wilderness. Probably the most popular and highly rated CG in the state. Tom had some business in Orlando so we took the Bus up for a week stay. We’ve been to WDW and our kids are now grown so we don’t really care to spend more time visiting the theme parks, but we wanted to see if the CG offered us something special.
Researching this CG is a bit exhausting. Lots of different forums and Mickey enthusiasts exist, but I finally cut to the chase and tried to pick the best loop vs. finding a specific site and settled on 700.
My only problem was the site itself. We paid the same as others in this loop (premium loop), yet our patio area was not as wide as all the others. We like to sit outside and watch the evening news or drink our morning coffee. Our chairs would have been too close to the TV on the pavement or sat on an angle due to the small berm we had beside us. The ugly transformer box was also a disappointment.
The picnic table for our site was at the back, however, there is even less room back there. The day we arrived the back of the site was completely flooded and that happened again a few days later. It was absolutey pouring and we were lucky to get in — thus the reason we left a muddy tire print. It was amazing Tom got it in there at all, but we had to get parked it was ligthening and thundering and wasn’t going to get any better. I did try to get us moved to this beautiful site up the road that appeared unoccupied, but the office said it was paid for and in use by another family. So we stayed put. It was April and too cold to sit outside anyway.
Early spring is a cheap time to be @ WDW. The following week this site went up in price by $20/night to 94/night. Our stay - $74/night, 50 amp, water, sewer, cable.
Conclusion - Nice place and we thought Loop 700 was the perfect location as it was ashort walk to the CG restaurant, boat ramp to the theme parks and one of the trading posts (stores), etc. I did learn that the reservation gals know the width of each site, but you need to ask the question and not accept generalities. I’d recommend you do this to avoid getting the transformer, berm site, aka worst site in the loop. Just ask them for to give you the widths of available sites.. and pick the widest. I cannot remember the site# of the one we had or the one we wish we had.
04/2010 - Rating 9
Key West - Bluewater Key - This resort is about 15 miles from downtown Key West @ MM 14.5 It is a luxury “ownership” resort and one of the most popular in the Keys. Folks always debate about which is the best place to stay in the Keys. Close to downtown so you can ride your bike to town or at one of the State Parks to save cost, etc. I can tell you unless you stay @ in a State Park be prepared for sticker shock no matter which resort you pick. They are all very expensive. Due to the high cost I am offering a little more info than what I normally do on reviews.
$120-140/night, water, 50 amp, cable, free WiFi, pool, dog walk area, small boat launch, etc. See their website link above for more current info and other amenities. We stayed a few nights before the peak season so we had a less expensive rate for those days. They set the rates once a year. Remember my price info was in 2008. Our stay was a few days before Thanksgiving so we got a reduced rate for those days and then the high season rate kicked it for the last few days.
Conclusion - We liked this resort for its location to Key West, however, we were a little disappointed with our site experience largely because there were very few bushes on the patio side and they were fairly new so not very tall. Privacy was not there. Our neighbors spent a lot of time indoors @ their dinette with their shades and windows wide open or out on their patio —- you expect the latter. When we did get to sit outside, they were just right there. It was a very strange feeling. You felt like you were on a picnic with them. We like to take walks in CGs we visit and it is a small resort so it is hard to get in a good walk unless you go out to the main road and then the traffic noise gets old and you are far away from things like restrooms. Yikes! Tom is an avid walker so he’d have to do 10 or more loops to get a good walk in.
Tips to picking a site
- It common to have lots of wind on the bay side, so if that is a concern I suggest you request a site that has canvas panels on the tiki hut or one with good bushes on both sides otherwise you may not get to enjoy much outdoor time. Not all sites have them — plus our site did not even have a tiki hut. The only one in the entire CG without one. sigh
- Hardly any wind on canal side sites, but the noseeums can be brutal.
- Sites near the front of the CG get more road noise. I was surprised how much you can hear this.
- Sites near the pool/clubhouse can also be problematic. You may like those sites for the convenience to the pool if you have kids and you may want to avoid them if you don’t. E.g., A young family stayed in a site right behind us and the pool was right there. They had 3 young kids and a small Class C. They spent all day/evening outside and by mid day the kids began crying and rarely stopped. So we had cozy neighbors beside us and crying kids behind us and sometimes too much wind. :-( Obviously this can happen anywhere, but in this park there is not much else for kids to do besides go to the pool and your chance to be close to them is probably higher around it. Don’t beat me up - I’m not opposed to kids. this is just FYI.
- Some resorts (including this one) don’t promise specific sites, but @ these prices I requested one anyway and followed up a couple of times prior to our arrival to check the status. I had a recommendation from a fellow RVer with pictures. In my followup calls I’d always work into the conversation that we really wanted that site. If you build a rapport with these people they will work with you — I find that works just about anywhere. Anyway - it was “thumbs up” to getting the site I wanted. Only problem though - we were given the wrong number for the picture we saw and did not discover it until we arrived. The site we had reserved was dismal. Good grief — I was paying $120-145/night for 7 nights so I did all I could to get something better. They were very helpful and we were able to move to site 51 which was definitely a better site, but as I mentioned earlier, we had little privacy and no tiki hut at all. It was beautiful and recently renovated but it was frustrating to not be able to enjoy the one thing we like the most — sitting outside for the reasons described above.
If we were to return I’d pick either site 64 (the one I thought I was getting) which has lots of big hedges on both sides for privacy or 42 which is on the point, has a tiki hut with canvas walls — all paved, huge and you would see both the sunset and sunrise. Only thing is it might always be windy at the point. See pics of both of these and several other sites here. Good luck and save your pennies !
11/2008 - Rating 9.5
La Belle - Ortona South
$24/night - water, 50 amp - dump station. Washer and dryer in the lower loop bathhouse. Our roof top satellite has worked fine from many sites but there are a few in the lower loop where you may need a portable.
Conclusion A fabulous CG - we love it and visit often since it’s only 90 miles from home. Sites are really large and the entire CG is impeccably maintained. All roads and sites are paved. Landscaping such as grasses and bushes look fairly new so in a couple years there will be more privacy between sites. This CG is a popular spot for the snowbirds. COE rules limits CG stays to 2 weeks per month so some snowbirds alternate their time between W.P. Franklin and here. W.P. Franklin is closer to Fort Myers and it is nice but we found Ortona sites to be more spacious.
Closest grocery store, Ace Hardware, and several fast food restaurants are in La Belle. Fora and Ella’s, a family owned restaurant also in La Belle, is a good place for a home cooked meal (closed Sundays). Sadly - Flora & Ella’s closed for good in the Spring of 2011. The American Legion has a fish fry every Friday night in the winter (very popular) and you can get a nice Sunday brunch for $5. There is a Shell station about 6 miles east of the CG which has a small store, diesel, and propane.
Plan your winter stays months in advance. We usually spend Xmas or Thanksgiving here so getting a site during that time not too difficult — but to get one during Jan-April — can be really tough. Checkout a video tour I made in Feb 08 here. Four videos in total. And see a few more photos I took during our first stay here. And checkout a new photo album I created in April 2009 here and a link to a few pics we took during a summer stay here.
09/07, 12/07, 02/08, 10/08, 12/08, 3/09, 4/09, 11/09, 12/09 — and so on.. I stopped keeping track - Rating 10
Lake City - Oaks n Pines Campground
Conclusion A nice overnight CG — we’ve stopped here before. Although I-10 is close the traffic noise did not bother us. WiFi worked great and the owners are very accommodating. Some nicer sites in the shade were available - but we picked one in the open so we could get our satellite connection. And also requested one that would be closest to the WiFi tower. Sites in the back are close to each other, but chances are you will never have anyone parked next to you so no big deal. You can get fuel right up the road at a brand new station with lots of diesel pumps. I give this CG high marks for their convenience and service, not their beauty.
09/07 - Rating 9
Marathon Curry Hammock State Park - This SP is 1 mile North of Marathon, FL at MM (mile marker) 56. We have not stayed here, but drove thru on an auto day trip in January 2008. We like this place a lot and hope to stay here before we get relocated again.
Update — We finally stayed @ this CG in April of 2011 — but I have not updated this review. For now just click on this link for a little more info and a picture. We had site 22.
01/08 — (No stay - So No Rating) But I can tell it will be great!
This CG is part of Miami-Dade county park in South Miami about 1 mile off the Florida Turnpike (Exit 13-184th Street).
240 RV full hookup sites - arranged in 11 circular areas they call PODS. We have not stayed in this CG just drove thru it one Saturday in February of 2008 for a looksee. You can read more about our visit and see lots of pictures via this link.
Note — this is an extremely popular snowbird park that caters to loyal return customers. I’ve read it is very hard to get a space during their peak season.
02/08 - (No stay - So No rating)
Milton - Avalon Landing RV Park - This small CG is just 1/2 mile off I-10 on Rt 281 - via exit 22. and about 8 miles from downtown Pensacola. An overnight stop for us. All sites are either pull-in or back-in and some are waterfront. $39/night; Water, 50 amp, cable TV, free WiFi (but we did not use it).
Conclusion - Nice little place - they even have a small pool. The waterfront is mostly marsh and a very pretty setting. There is a Camping World in Gulf Breeze, FL - about 15 miles away right down 281, but that is a toll bridge and it is expensive. A few sites backup to 281 and those do get more road noise. We’d stay again if in the area, but do prefer pull thru for overnight stays and they do not offer any of those right now.
09/2010 - Rating 8.5
Milton - Milton/Gulf Pines KOA This KOA is right off I-10 @ exit 31. Lots of tall pines around the peremiter. Sites are pretty spacious for a KOA. We decided to splurge on a premium site because of storm warnings. I read on the review website that some of their sites flood or are a muddy mess in rain, so we wanted to avoid that. But we paid dearly for it. $52/night, Water, 50 amp, sewer, cable, free WiFi (which we did not use), patio furniture, swing, firepit, BBQ.
Conclusion — Nice CG, paved roads throughout and very well kept. Nice big pool and miniature golf. One of two laundry rooms directly across from us, though we did not use it. Office and small store closes @ 6 p.m. which we thought was really odd for an overnight CG. Recommend you get a site away from I-10 — it is very LOUD. Next time we’ll opt for a grassy site assuming no rain is in the forecast. I can see how a few of those sites might be a problem in heavy rains.
09/2010 - Rating 8.5
Naples Pelican Lake Motorcoach Resort - This Class A ownership
(min 26’) resort is 9.2 miles south from I-75 exit 101 (Collier Blvd.) We stayed here for a couple nights during the off season and unfortunately I cannot remember exactly what we paid and their website does not list the fee. I think it was something like $45 for water, 50 amp, sewer, free WiFi and pool access.
Conclusion. A beautiful resort - quite peaceful during our stay as I believe we were 1 of 5 coaches there. It could be quite different during the peak season. Beautiful owner landscaped sites some decked out to the 9’s. Easy to get to and we’d stay again but may try it when it’s cooler. It was the absolute wrong time of year to be in Naples, hot sticky, lots of mosquitoes at night — but we knew that and went merely to get our Bus out on the road after sitting for a few weeks. Beach pic above is @ Marco Island - very close and a nice side trip.
08/07 - Rating 10 for beauty and comfort.
Note: We are unsure we’d feel comfortable during peak season though, as we have nothing in common with the Prevost crowd.
Ocala Silver River State Park - This SP is about 8 miles off I-75 and the CG loops are
about 1 mile back from the entrance. Be aware you will go through town traffic for about 8 miles thru several stop lights. Reserve America states it is only a few miles off the main road, but we followed the brown signs off I-75 to get there and we were not the only ones using this route — we followed several other campers on our drive in. A slow drive but not bad. We have been to this CG twice now. We spent just 1 night here on our way up to Topsail with the purpose to scope out the CG and see where we might like to stay on a future visit. I would not pick site 2 again as it was closer to the loop entrance and just not as pretty as some of the others. But for one night it was fine.
All the sites @ this CG are huge with many set into the beautiful tall pine trees reminding us of some of the CGs up North. There are 2 loops (Sharp Fairy & Fort King). I thought the Sharp Fairy loop was nicest because it had more pine trees. $21/night, 30 amp, water, nice size fire pit. Fires were permitted during our stay and you could buy firewood at the check in area.
Conclusion - Beautiful place - exactly the type of CG we love. I took several pics of some of the camp sites (20 in all) check them out here. Make reservations through Reserve America.
11/07, 04/08 - Rating 10
Pembroke Pines - C.B. Smith Park This CG is part of a large and popular county park in Pembroke Pines which is approx 30 miles Northwest of Miami and not far off I-75. We stayed here twice in a two month period during our house hunting trip and while waiting to take possession of our new home. Traffic is an issue around this park as it sets inside a popular shopping area so you will hear it at some sites inside the CG, but it was not an issue at site 11 or 12. $23/night for Florida residents - $30/night non residents, 50 amp, water & sewer. Big waterpark, nice tennis courts in the public park area and both stay very busy especially on weekend. Our satellite worked great on site 11 however, we had to pull forward a bit on site 12 to get a good signal. WiFi available @ Starbucks on Flamingo Road — about 5 min by car. Note — these rates are several years old.
Conclusion Great park with paved roads & spacious paved sites. Perfect location for folks visiting relatives as it’s close to Miami, Miramar, Weston, Fort Lauderdale areas. A few sites have good shade others out in the open. Natural habitat surrounds the CG with nice walking trails. Only “big” issue - they have a huge concert area nearby (don’t believe it is inside the park) We were there the night of a concert and it went on all night long — literally all night. It was awful. We got about 3 hours sleep.
03/07 & 04/07 - No concert Rating 9 (with concert — i give this place a 3) - NOTE: There were no concerts during our 2 week stay in April.
Port St. Lucie - Outdoor Motorcoach Resorts This is a Class-A only “ownership” resort
approx 50 miles North of West Palm Beach, FL. Not far from I/95, but far enough away so it was quiet. We had an owner-developed site (#54) and it was lovely. Several sites were 4 sale -and boy are they pretty but also expensive. Checkout this link to see more pics of this place. Very nice, but we’d rather own one in a cooler climate - like near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Several new restaurants are being built nearby and plenty of “close” shopping already exists including a Walmart. We paid for 5 nights but did not spend 5 nights on site. We chose to stay here as we felt it would be safe to leave our Bus unoccupied for a couple days as we went further South to spend time with relatives over Christmas. Linkspot WiFi was available - for $5.95/day and worked fine. 58.50/night (Winter rates & 10% FMCA discount), 50 amp water/sewer.
Conclusion Very expensive. For the amount they charge, WiFi should be included. Seems reasonable they could offer this to non-owners, but since they do not I do not believe they deserve a 10. Not much of a scolding I know, but there - I feel better - lol.
12/05 - Rating 9
Santa Rosa Beach Topsail Hill State Park -
We have been to Topsail many times since 2005. This is one of our favorite places to stay. Section 100 seems to be the most popular as you get more privacy with the vegetation. It is about a 1/2 mile walk or bike ride to the beach or you can take the CG tram which runs about every 2 hours (sometimes more frequently during the busy season).
Sites are paved as well as all roads inside the CG. And the beach is drop dead gorgeous. Lots of shopping in Destin including a good size outlet mall. The Publix grocery store is not far from the CG off 98. Also off 98 is the Donut Hole a great breakfast place we enjoyed but it is very popular so plan accordingly. You can get free WiFi @ Lucille’s Gossip shop which is off Rt 30A - turn east out of the CG and it is about 3-4 miles up the road. Continue driving East on 30A and you will run into Seaside which is a popular tourist town where they filmed the exterior shots for the movie “The Truman Show”. Wikipedia says the cast and crew lived there during the shoot. It’s kinda fun to walk the quaint streets, some good places to eat and a few shops to explore.
Conclusion - Fabulous - simply fabulous. See pics of every site via the reservation link above where you can make site specifcic reservations. A big plus! We spent our last Xmas in FL there - you can see one more pic of that trip in this link.
12/05, 9/07, 11/07, 08/09, 11/09, 12/10 - Rating 10
South Bay South Bay RV Park. This is a Palm Beach County campground that sits at the base of the levee on the southeast shore of Lake Okeechobee. In lieu of a summary review I wrote an extensive blog with a lot of pictures during a 1 week stay in January 2011. You can read it here.
Conclusion - This park has great services and nice sites, but it sits a bit too far away from things to do. However, if would be a nice place to stay for a few weeks if you are a snowbird moving between COE CGs that only allow a 14 day stay in a 30 day period. Pick a site near the back of the CG to avoid road noise. They offer discounts for extended stays - call the CG for more info. My rating reflects the services not the location.
01/11 - Rating 9
Sunrise - Markham Park This is another popular Broward County Park that sits just west of Sawgrass Parkway (which is Rt 869 - a toll road) and North of State Road 84 and I-75.
Yikes - rates have increased @ all Broward Parks in the last few years. It’s now $40/night for non residents and $30 for FL residents (proof required). It was $30/23 in 2007. Pretty pricey increase, but it is South Florida and the economy has hit the area hard. And it is still quite popular with the Snowbirds because you get full hook ups. Water, 50 amp, water & sewer. In addition you’ll have access to the other park amenities. A big waterpark, shooting range, nice tennis courts in the public park area and large dog park called Barkham @ Markham. How cute is that?
Conclusion Great park for those visiting relatives nearby, or snowbirds wanting the warm weather and access to everything in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area. It is about 35 miles Northwest of Miami and the Fort Lauderdale airport and beaches are about 20-25 miles east — straight down I-595. Barkham @ Markham is not far from the CG loops. We are not dog owners so I cannot comment on the features it offers, but it sure looks like doggie heaven to me. Read more about it here.
Paved Roads exist throughout the entire park including the CG however not all sites are paved. Eg. Loop F has all paved sites and a few pull thrus. The remaining loops only have 1 paved site each. I’m not sure why as they are not considered handicap sites. Anyway, I scoped out this place thoroughly and feel site 5 in Loop G is one of the best sites in the CG. Very roomy as you can see by the pic. So if you desire a paved site be sure to request it. Check out this PDF file to see an illustration of the park layout and the proximity of all the amenities.
10/08 - Rating 8.5 I’d give it a 9 if all sites were paved. Some of the grassy sites are small and appear to be a little lumpy. During our visit, I noticed there are no security lights in the loops so it is pitch black at night. We don’t wander around at night, but no lights at all seems unusual and quite creepy. I probably should check to see if that has changes - perhaps they lost them in the Hurricane along with the trees. Anyway a sheriff does live on site in a mobile home close to the CG loops.
See more pics here. FYI — You must use exit 22 (Glades Parkway) off I-75 then travel east on State Road 84 til you get to Weston Road. Turn Left on Weston Road - go under the overpass and the CG entrance is directly in front of you. Suggest you verify your GPS route or use mapquest to get the specific directions. State Road 84 runs parallel with I-75 and there are only a few exit ramps near the CG.
Tierra Verde - Fort De Soto Campground This is a very popular
CG in Pineallas county (not far from Tampa). Most sites are directly on the water either on the bay or along the boat channel. We stayed on the bay side. Some pull thru sites but those are not on the water. Our site was very roomy with lots of vegetation for privacy. You’ll have visits from critters here — raccoons, squirrels, and lots and lots of birds. The famous beach is a few miles away — drive or ride your bike on the pathway. Lots of tolls around this area. One to get into Tierra Verde, one to get to St. Petersburg, one to get to De Sota CG/Beach area. All small amounts 35-50 cents each. Just makes going to the grocery store out to eat a bit of chore. $25/night 50/amp water - dump station.
Conclusion - Lovely CG — the raccoons were a bit of a nuisance. Isolated from services like a major grocery store but the CG has a nice store for essentials. See more CG pics here.
5/07 - Rating 9