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Old 03-14-2019, 11:16 AM   #1
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Suggestions for first time RV trip (FL/GA/SC)

Hi all,


We are looking to rent a small Class C (22ft) from El Monte or Cruise America) this summer, probably mid to late July, as our first experience RVing. The trip will be a short 4-day weekend (Fri - Mon) most likely, although that is not yet set in stone.


We'll be picking the RV up in Orlando. We are currently trying to decide on where we should go. With such a short time frame, and having to return before 12p on Monday, I am thinking this realistically leaves us with a limited area to explore.


Ideally we'd like one camp site to be a relatively easy-to-navigate camp ground and two sites to be more boondocking in nature, on BLM land. So far I've found a few different sites that allow us to search for approved BLM land were boondocking is allowed, but I'm lost at trying to determine:
1. What will be the most 'newbie' friendly in terms of driving there? (e.g. minimal mountain driving at first)
2. What will be most 'newbie' friendly in terms of an area least likely to get stuck in?
3. What are some campgrounds to avoid for whatever reason?


Does anybody have suggestions on where we should look into exploring?


Thanks,
Jon
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:52 AM   #2
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If you are picking up an rv on Friday in Orlando and have to be back by noon on Monday that really means you have Saturday and Sunday. On Friday by the time you get the Rv , go through the orientation and get it provisioned you won’t have much time.
What do you like to do? Is the purpose of the trip to find out if you like driving the rv or to have fun camping? .If it were me I would stay in Florida. It is flat and easy driving. Within a 100 mile radius of Orlando you can go to the Kennedy space center, which takes 2 days to see. You could go to St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US. Do an air boat ride at midway. Etc.
If you want a longer say 250 mile one way drive you can do the Florida Keys. Key Largo (John pennekamp State Park) has great snorkel trips. There is also Everglades National Park or Key Bisquaine.
What do you want to get out of the trip?
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dsallach View Post
If you are picking up an rv on Friday in Orlando and have to be back by noon on Monday that really means you have Saturday and Sunday. On Friday by the time you get the Rv , go through the orientation and get it provisioned you wonít have much time.
What do you like to do? Is the purpose of the trip to find out if you like driving the rv or to have fun camping? .If it were me I would stay in Florida. It is flat and easy driving. Within a 100 mile radius of Orlando you can go to the Kennedy space center, which takes 2 days to see. You could go to St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US. Do an air boat ride at midway. Etc.
If you want a longer say 250 mile one way drive you can do the Florida Keys. Key Largo (John pennekamp State Park) has great snorkel trips. There is also Everglades National Park or Key Bisquaine.
What do you want to get out of the trip?

Hi Dsallach,


True, I hadn't considered the length of time to go through orientation on Friday. The primary purpose of the trip is to make sure we are comfortable driving and living/sleeping out of an RV, both in a campground and boondocking. It will be 3 of us (myself, the misses, and our 8 year old).



Activities wise, we do enjoy fishing, swimming, and nature activities. Ideally we'd like to avoid busy areas (theme parks, the Space Center) since we won't have a tow car with us and it'd be our first time driving an RV. I am hoping it won't be too much different than driving a U-Haul or a towing a small 16-foot John Boat, although its been a few years since we've done either.



I will take a look into the options in the Keys, we do enjoy it there and honestly hadn't even considered it (which is sad, considering I'm originally from Marathon!)


Thanks,
Jon
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:45 PM   #4
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With so little time donít add stress by trying to drive long distances, and not having much time at your destination.

How about this park? Gets excellent reviews, and is not
far away.

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Old 03-14-2019, 06:41 PM   #5
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Anastasia state park is beautiful but, you will have traffic getting thru St. Augustine. Florida has some beautiful state parks. Kissimmee prairie and Highland hammocks are just south of Orlando. For your first outing I would concentrate on having fun doing something everyone will enjoy. The comfort in driving will come with time. If no one has fun camping it won’t matter if it’s comfortable to drive.
Just my two cents.
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Old 03-28-2019, 10:02 PM   #6
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Weekend in the Keys

Hi, RestlessInFL~

Your post reminds me of the first RV trip I ever took with my husband. We rented the RV in Miami and went to Venture Out at Cudjoe Key. Many years later, Cudjoe Key is now our permanent address (when weíre not on the road).

I agree that staying in FL is your best option if you only have the rig for what amounts to two full camping days. Even a 250 mile drive will seem like a lot of time on the road when youíre not used to driving an RV.

You mentioned you are originally from Marathon and that you would give more thought to the Keys. If so, I would suggest Bahia Honda State Park. It got hit pretty badly in Irma but the South end of the park has been refurbished and the beaches are in great shape. From there, itís 45 minutes to KW and if you donít want to move the rig the county bus is a good alternate.

For the months youíre looking to travel, much of the mainland will be hot and sticky, which is why the Keys would be my first choice, but there are also some really lovely west coast areas a clear shot across the state via I-4 that donít have the drawback of driving through Jax. For example, Myakka River State Park near Venice has enough to keep you busy, and if you want to go exploring itís a short drive to the Ringling Museum which is fun for all ages.

There are really a lot of options but either of these are relatively easy in terms of traffic (out of season). Deciding where to go is half the fun! 🤩

If you do decide to do the Keys, do yourself a favor and buy the Sunpass so you can use the Turnpike. I-95 is a nightmare through Miami no matter what season! And donít try to pack too much into it. Iíd highly recommend selecting a simple out-and-back route to one destination so you can relax and enjoy. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:14 AM   #7
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Mid to late July can be very hot in Florida, so my suggestion is go someplace cool, or at least some place with cool water. My first thought is Gennie Springs, it is 130 miles from Orlando so not too far, but far enough to get the feel of driving a Class C, they have a campground onsite, ...


It has been over 25 years since I was last at Gennie Springs (ex-wife's parents lived just a few miles from there), so I can't say how it is these days. Swim, tube float, canoe, scuba dive ... lots of options in the spring fed waters that are cool year round.


p.s. there is little if any BLM land within a thousand miles of Florida, your best bet for boondock camping in the eastern US will be National Forest Service dispersed camping areas.
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Old 03-30-2019, 06:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsallach View Post
Anastasia state park is beautiful but, you will have traffic getting thru St. Augustine. Florida has some beautiful state parks. Kissimmee prairie and Highland hammocks are just south of Orlando. For your first outing I would concentrate on having fun doing something everyone will enjoy. The comfort in driving will come with time. If no one has fun camping it wonít matter if itís comfortable to drive.
Just my two cents.
If you approach from the South, and cross 206 to A1A, you won't have to fight the St Augustine traffic. Annastasia has a nice beach and is within bicycle distance from St. Augustine itself.
Hillsboro Rive State Park near Tampa is nice and has trails to walk and a swiming pool. It would be a good choice for your first outing.
Most state parks have water/electric only so you are half way to boondocking anyway. For the BD experience, just don't plug in.
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:25 PM   #9
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Salt Springs CG in Ocala Natl Forest is a very nice spot only 60-70 miles from Orlando It is a very open campground , easy to navigate and the spring is good for swimming. There is a little hiking and maybe some wildlife even possibly gators and bears.
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Old 04-03-2019, 05:18 AM   #10
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Welcome aboard to the RV world! Lots of good information on this website. Below is my recommendation for a quiet and easy to get to RV Park. We like Suwanee River Rendezvous RV Park located outside of Mayo, FL. Lots of activities with a great swimming pool and hot tub. RV Park is located out in the country and is about 200 miles from Orlando. https://www.suwanneeriverrendezvous....edium=referral
Safe travels and enjoy your RV.
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Old 04-03-2019, 07:31 AM   #11
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Hi,
Strongly consider St. Augustine. Second place would be Pensacola. The Naval Air Museum is there.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:22 AM   #12
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Suggest you stay in state and explore some of the sites and locations there. Time frame is not enough to get out of state.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:28 AM   #13
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I suggest going to Salt Springs National rec Area ( not the commercial CG) on Friday after pickup. Large spaces and full hookups. Next, either St. Augustine or over to the panhandle.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:30 AM   #14
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Lake Dorr campground in Pittman, FL. Just north of Umatilla. It’s inexpensive, being part of the National Park System. Water fill spigots, no electric or sewer, so you’ll be boondocking for all intents and purposes. I understand the fishing in Lake Dorr is pretty good.
This spot gets you out in the woods, but close enough to civilization to go get what you forgot to pack.
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