Ultimate Guide to RV camping in the Florida Keys
From pristine beaches, epic snorkeling, and gorgeous coral reefs, RV camping in the Florida Keys unlocks a range of experiences for adventurers. Whether you want to fish, swim, or simply relax near the water’s edge, you’ll find plenty of RV parks with all the amenities needed for your dream getaway.
The Florida Key’s gorgeous blue waters, laid back atmosphere, and warm sunshine makes it an RVers paradise. But given it’s popularity it’s a trip that requires major planning.
This ultimate guide to RV camping in the Florida Keys will help your plan and prepare for your RV trip including some of the best RV resorts and RV campgrounds to stay at, tips for scoring reservations at hard to book campgrounds, and some of the must visit destinations in the Florida Keys. So sit back, buckle up, and prepare for your ultimate trip to the Florida Keys by RV.
About the Florida Keys
Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico on its northwest and the Atlantic ocean on the southeast, the mixture of the waterways create brilliant blue waters that resemble the Caribbean. It’s an incredible area for diving, snorkeling, boating, kayaking, and home to incredible beaches.
The Florida Keys are a series 800 of islands located off the southern most tip of Florida. Most of the Florida Keys are natural barrier islands that are too small to be inhabited by people.
The 5 largest Keys, Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine, and Key West are where the roughly 12,000 residents call home. And where you can find incredible RV camping.
Key Largo is 33 miles long, making it the largest of the 5 Keys. It’s also the first Key you’ll reach when heading south from Miami. This is a fantastic spot for RVers short on time and still want to get a taste for the vibe and beauty of this area. There’s several reefs you can dive or snorkel at in this area making it a great spot for those wanting to enjoy water activities.
Islamorada is the next Key as you head south. This small key is home to loads of higher-end resorts and has a super laid back vibe to it. If you like diving or looking for off-shore fishing trips Islamorada is the place for you.
Marathon marks the halfway point from Key Largo to Key West and is where many of the residents and workers in the Florida Keys call home. Boating is a popular activity here and you’ll find loads of marinas and RV resorts on this Key.
Big Pine is one of the least inhabited Keys and has a much more natural aesthetic. If you want to explore the more untouched side of the Florida Keys through its mangroves, beaches, and natural parks then this is the spot for you.
Key West is the final Key along the Florida Keys making it the southernmost point of the country. It’s just 329 miles (530 km) from Cuba it has a lot of influence from the nearby Caribbean islands. This is a fantastic spot to visit for history buffs or those looking to have a good time. It’s fun, eccentric, and somewhat wild vibe simply can’t be beat.
When is the best time to RV the Florida Keys?
There really is no bad time to go to the Florida Keys. Each season offers it’s own activities to enjoy. However, many RVers prefer to visit in late fall to early spring when the weather is more favorable.
November to March is peak season with warm sunny days in the mid 70’s to 80’s and temperate evenings. It’s also the dry season for Florida, meaning rain showers shouldn’t keep you from exploring.
Summers in the Florida Keys which start around April and go until late October can be extremely hot and humid. It’s also the rainy season, so visitors should expect daily thunderstorms in the afternoons or evenings.
Summer is better for those who want to enjoy water activities as the water is warmer in the hotter months compared to winter.
Driving an RV to the Florida Keys
The 5 main Keys are connected by US 1, a 110-mile long two lane highway home to 42 bridges. Also called the Overseas Highway, the road can accommodate any size rig from small vans to larger class A motorhomes or giant fifth wheels.
The highway passes through mangrove walls with pockets of crystal clear blue water and beautiful beaches making it one of the most scenic drives in the country. The water that can be seen from the Florida Key’s longest bridge (aptly named the Seven Mile Bridge) is sure to take your breath away.
It takes around 2 to 3 hours to drive from Key Largo all the way to Key West. However, since the road is only a two lane highway any accidents, even minor ones, can cause very long delays for traffic.
We suggest embracing the slow-paced relaxed vibes of the islands as soon as you start your drive to the Keys. And if possible, secure RV camping on a few different Keys to make the most of your time in paradise.
RV camping in the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys is only 137 square miles in landmass (which really isn’t big in the scheme of things). Limited space and high demand means RV camping in the Florida Keys comes at a premium — no matter the season.
There are dozens of different RV resorts, campgrounds, and state parks for RVers to choose from throughout the Florida Keys. No matter where you plan to stay, reservations are 100% required. This is not an area you can simply drive up to and score a last minute spot.
Below are some of the best options for RV camping in the Florida Keys.
How much does RV camping in the Florida Keys cost?
State Parks are by far the most affordable option for RV camping in the Florida Keys. Home to some of the most picturesque campsites directly on the beach or water front, a camping spot at a State Park can cost between $16 to $42 a night depending on the campground.
RV parks can cost anywhere from $100 a night to $300+ a night depending on the RV resort and the time of year you are visiting. Many resorts will offer weekly and monthly rates, but bookings for these spots fill up months if not years in advance. So make sure to call ahead and secure your spot accordingly.
Florida Keys State Parks
There are 4 state parks in that offer RV camping in the Florida Keys:
- John Pennekamp State Park
- Long Key State Park (currently closed to RV camping)
- Curry Hammock State Park
- Bahia Honda State Park
John Pennekamp State Park is located on Key Largo and has 42 reservable camping sites with 30 and 50 amp electricity. The state park is mostly located in the ocean, having 70 nautical miles of coral reef for visitors to explore.
The campground is located about a 5 minute walk from the marina and a 10 minute walk from several small beaches. Renting kayaks is a popular activity as there are several mangrove trails for you to paddle through. You can also take a snorkeling tour to some of the reefs off the shore.
If you’re coming during the winter make sure to keep your eyes peeled for manatees who frequent the area from December to February.
Long Key State Park is located on Long Key and offers campers an absolutely incredible beach front camping. This area is largely undeveloped making it an incredible spot for swimming, kayaking, birding, or just relaxing under the shade of the palm trees.
Sadly, the State Park suffered serious damage from Hurricane Ian in October 2022, and has closed the campground to all RV camping. There is no update as to when the park will be re-opening.
Curry Hammock State Park is located in Marathon on an undeveloped area of the Key. This park has fantastic nature trails highlighting many native plants and species of the Florida Keys. Strong winds off the island make it a good place for kite boarding, but kayaking, birding, and bicycling are other popular activities.
There are 28 camping sites with 30 and 50 amp electricity, with many having direct water views. This is a fantastic spot for those looking for easy access to the Florida Keys crystal clear waters.
Bahia Honda State Park is the southern most state park located about a 50 minutes drive from Key West. Most popularly known for the abandoned railroad bridge that was built by Henry Flagler in the 1900s to connect mainland Florida to Key West.
This remote island has some of the best beaches in the Florida Keys and is the perfect spot for those looking to relax on the palm lined beach, snorkel, or enjoy the wildlife. There are 72 electric sites that can accommodate virtually any size RV. Additionally, there are 7 primitive sites that have no electricity.
You can make reservations for state parks 11 months in advance and guests can stay a maximum of 14 days at any 1 park. If you want to secure your spot at any of the 4 state parks along the Florida Keys, we highly recommend you be at your computer at midnight when booking opens. Most camping spots will book within hours.
Score a spot in the Florida keys
Want to snag a week-long stays at incredible campgrounds in the Florida Keys? Become a pro member with Arvie and instantly book sites at sold-out campgrounds.
Arvie is a fully integrated campground booking service. Not only can you search and book your spot in thousands of different campgrounds across the country but it allows you to search for camping spots at sold out campgrounds.
Enter your desired dates of travel and Arvie will book your spot instantly if a cancelation opens up. This is how we scored a week in peak season at John Pennekamp in January 2022.
RV resorts in the Florida Keys
If you aren’t able to score a spot at one of the amazing state parks or if you simply prefer to stay in a campground that can offer more amenities, here are some of the top RV resorts in the Florida Keys.
- Keys Palm Luxury Resort (Key Largo): 30 full hook-up RV sites in Key Largo. There is direct water access, a kayak launch, pool and hot tub. Price per night ranges from $125 – $165 depending on site location and season.
- Fiesta Key RV Resort and Marina (Long Key): This is a Thousand Trails resort with roughly 150+ full hook-up sites this resort offers waterfront RV camping. There is also a pool, small beach area, restaurant, bar, and marina. Price per night ranges from $175 – $225+ depending on site location and season.
- Jolly Roger RV Resort (Marathon): This is one of the larger RV resorts in the Florida Keys with over 160 full-hook up RV sites, many that are directly on the water. The resort has a pool, dock, small beach area, and a spot for snorkeling. Price per night ranges from $100 – $115+ depending on site location and season.
- Sunshine Key RV Resort (Big Pine Key): Another RV Resort in the Thousand Trails umbrella, Sunshine Key RV Resort offers 160+ full-hook up RV camping spots, many directly on the water. The resort has a pool, dock, marina, ocean access, sports complex with basketball court, tennis court, volleyball court, and pickle ball court. Price per night ranges from $130 – $200+ depending on site location and season.
- Bluewater Key RV Resort (Key West): If you want a full blow-luxury RV camping experience, look no further than Bluewater Key RV Resort. Some of the spots come with a private dock and outdoor living space complete with a cabana.
They do sell spaces and have requirements for the type (and age) of RVs that can stay here. Make sure to visit the website for more information before booking. Price per night ranges from $121 – $247+ depending on site location and season.
- Alternative Key West options: If you are looking for a more economical RV campground near Key West, check out El Mar RV Resort or Leo’s Campground. Both have similar pricing $99 – with full service hook-ups and normal amenities.
Getting around in the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are long and narrow. Most destinations that you’ll want to visit from restaurants, state parks, or other activities will be 10 to 30 minutes or more from your RV campground.
If you have an e-bike (check out our favorite e-bike here) there are extensive bike paths along that follow the highway. However, a car or motorcycle will make exploring the various Keys the most comfortably.
Top things to do in the Florida Keys
There’s no shortage of fun activities to do throughout the Florida Keys. Below are some of the top things to do and must visit destinations along your RV road trip.
Get out on the water
The keys are mostly known for water activities. Things like snorkeling, boating, fishing, kite boarding, or kayaking. If you don’t have your own boat you can hire a charter that can take you on a private fishing, snorkeling, or diving trip.
This can run you several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on the type and length of the activity. For those trying to stretch their budget, you can join a more economical group tour.
Curry Hammock State Park and John Pennekamp State Park offering half and full day snorkeling tours. You can also book group tours through private companies. Many of the same parks and companies will also offer kayaks, paddle boards, or canoes for rent as well.
If you’re going to spend an extended period of time in the Florida Keys we highly recommend investing in your own inflatable kayak or stand up paddle board.
If you take them out just two times they will have more than paid for themselves compared to renting.
Relax on the beach
Many visitors are actually surprised to learn that unlike most other parts of Florida with expansive stretches of beaches, the Florida Keys doesn’t have many beaches.
Bahia Honda State Park is home to one of the most popular and prettiest beaches. If you aren’t camping there you can pay a day fee to relax on the beach.
If you’re staying near Marathon, you can also go to Sombrero Beach one of the few beaches with free public access. It’s also a dog friendly beach (on leash) and has calm waters making it the perfect family friendly beach.
John Pennekamp has several small beach areas to enjoy as well. Like Bahia Honda if you aren’t able to stay overnight at the campground you can pay a day fee to enter the park and relax on the beaches.
Smather’s Beach is the closest beach to Key West. Despite it being over 2 miles long its proximity to Key West makes it a popular get away on a sunny day. If you’re prepared to brave the crowds the views can be worth it.
Explore the natural side of the Florida Keys
Lobsters, warm sunshine, salty breeze, and umbrellas in my drink flutter to my mind when I just hear the words “the Florida Keys”. But it’s not the only side of the Keys.
One of the best things to do when visiting the Florida Keys is to get outside and explore the native plants and animals of the barrier islands. Most of the state parks have short trails.
If you’re near Marathon, we highly recommend visiting Crane Point Hammock. The park has a 100 year old home made completely from ground up sea shells! You can learn about the history of Marathon including the native Calusa tribe that called this area home.
Visit Key West
No RV trip to the Florida Keys is complete with a visit to Key West. This very popular tourist destination is a one stop shop for day drinking, delicious food, and crazy characters.
This place is always happening and you never know what you’re going to see when you’re there. If you’re into history, we highly recommend booking a tour to visit the Hemingway House where famed author Ernest Hemingway lived in the 1930s.
If you’re patient enough, wait in what’s sure to be an incredible long line for a picture at the Southern Most Point. Also don’t miss the sunset in Mallory Square. This popular spot will be filled with other tourists, street performers, and vendors selling their fare.
Of course you’ll want to enjoy some of the delicious drinks and food Key West has to offer. Key West has an open container law, allowing you to drink and walk along the historic center. Grab a beer at the Waterfront Brewery, which is the only brewery on the island, and gawk at the million dollar yachts that line the marine.
More in the “center of town” is our favorite bar in Key West, Bar Agave. They specialize in tequila and make some pretty incredible margaritas! While they’re in a pretty touristic part of the Keys, if you blinked you’d miss it. We like to go there because it’s quiet, it gives us refuge from the heat and Key West noise.
Eat amazing food
There is no shortage of great restaurants to try the Florida Keys. Below are a few of our favorite restaurants in the Keys.
- Garbos Grill: Asian-Mexican fusion served from a vintage Airstream with an outdoor patio. They only have 9 items on their menu, but everything is delicious.
- Bad Boy Burrito: This walk up and order burrito joint serves way better than average burritos, prepped and made fresh daily. They also have a restaurant in Islamorada!
- Antonio’s: If you’re looking for a nice dinner out, Antonio’s is the perfect place. This upscale restaurant makes incredible authentic Italian food.
- Burdine’s Waterfront: This run of the mill restaurant serves typical foods like burgers and fries, fried or blackened fish sandwiches overlooking the water.
- La Isla Taco Grill: Craving some Mexican food? La Isla Taco Grill serves quesadillas, tacos, elotes, and burritos in a fun cabana setting.
- Irie Island Eats: This is a new food truck that serves local island inspired foods. Think jerk shrimp skewers, tuna stuffed avocado, and Kalua pork.
- The Square Grouper: Mid-scale fresh seafood dishes from fresh caught local seafood. It’s got a creative menu and it’s a super cute restaurant.
- Bayside Gourmet: If you get tired of fresh seafood head on over to Bayside Gourmet an Italian restaurant with pasta and pizzas.
- What the Roll?: This low key restaurants offers different sandwiches, rolls, and tacos with a variety of fish.
- Marker 88: The food is just okay, it’s waterfront dining is what makes this is a must-visit. This is also where we watched one of the best sunsets of our lives. Order their key lime pie. It’s one of the best we had in the Keys.
- The Fish House (Key Largo): This somewhat kitschy restaurant has super cozy vibes and a wide variety of fish dishes from the fresh catch of the day. You can also pick up fresh fish from the counter if you prefer to cook at home.
- C&C Wood Fired Eats: The only wood-fired pizza restaurant in all of the Florida Keys. This restaurant has a wide variety of delicious Italian dishes from cheese boards, wood-fired roasted veggies, and salads.
- Harriette’s: This iconic breakfast spot is known for their fresh baked muffins and amazing breakfast dishes. It’s loved by locals and tourists alike. Missed breakfast but still hungry, don’t worry they serve lunch too.
Of course there are countless other fantastic restaurants and bars to enjoy all throughout the Keys. These are just a few of the highlights.
Enjoy the beautiful sunsets
If there is only one thing you do when RVing the Florida Keys, you should enjoy a sunset.
The sunsets in the Keys are truly like no other. Some of the top spots for watching the sunset in the Florida Keys are:
- Marker 88
- The Island Fish Company and Tiki Bar
- Sunset Pier
- Morada Bay Beach Cafe
- Plantation Hammock Preserve
- Mallory Square
Taking an RV trip to the Florida Keys is an experience you’re sure to remember for years to come. Hopefully this guide will help you better understand the steps you need to prepare and plan for particularly with RV camping in the Florida Keys.
Liz & Dennis
We’re two travel-loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America as full-time RV’ers. This blog is where we share our lessons learned, tips and tricks, and favorite places to eat, see, and RV across North America! We hope it helps you find your wanderlust, plan and prepare for RV life, and get out on the road!
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