American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
Celebrating a Century of the RV Lifestyle
In late December, I shared some of the reasons that my husband and I once loved living the full-time RV lifestyle. As I wrote then, we relished experiencing life on the open road, meeting a wide array of fascinating people, and encountering a variety of towns and landscapes. Although we still live a nomadic lifestyle – making seasonal moves between New Orleans, the Florida Keys, Los Angeles, and northern Michigan – it's not quite the same as when we called a 24-foot home-on-wheels our primary residence.
Well, it just so happens that we're not the only ones who appreciate traveling via recreational vehicle – whether it be a motorhome, a souped-up bus, a fifth-wheel trailer, a pop-up camper, an adorable teardrop, or a simple travel trailer, as ours was. In fact, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), this year marks the 100th anniversary of RVing. Given how expensive airline baggage fees, hotel rooms, and restaurants have become for travelers on a budget, a self-contained recreational vehicle is a viable option for many Americans as well as foreigners visiting the United States. Whether you're traveling as a couple or embarking on a family vacation, RV camping is ideal for those who hope to see the country at their own pace, whether you favor cultural attractions, amusement parks, or outdoor activities.
Considering the vast assortment of RV accommodations available in the United States – from exclusive RV resorts to basic state park campgrounds – you're bound to find a place that's ideal for you and your fellow travelers. While researching Moon Florida Keys, for instance, I discovered a wide array of RV camping facilities, stretching from the Florida Everglades to Key West. Although there are plenty of high-priced ones in this region, there are several affordable ones, too. Better still, no matter how much a particular campground costs, you're almost always guaranteed a decent view in southern Florida. Some of my favorites, in fact, can be found at the year-round Bahia Honda State Park (36850 Overseas Hwy., 305/872-2353 or 305/872-3210, $36 daily), a Lower Florida Keys locale that, in addition to overnight camping, offers access to swimming, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, and other outdoor pursuits, not to mention incredible Floridian sunsets.
At Bahia Honda, you can choose from three budget-friendly campgrounds – Buttonwood, Sandspur, and Bayside – which collectively contain 80 campsites for tent and RV campers. Buttonwood has gravel sites, each with electric and water service, a picnic table, and access to a dump station, restrooms, and hot showers. Some of the sites are situated beside the water, and all can accommodate a variety of set-ups, from small tents to 40-foot RVs. Sandspur, located in a hardwood hammock, has much smaller sites, with lower clearance – ideal for tents and RVs less than 14 feet in length. Some of the sites have electricity and waterfront views, and all have a picnic table, a grill, and water service. Bayside is the smallest campground, with eight sites and a tiny restroom, though all campers are allowed to use the dump station and restrooms in Buttonwood.
To reach Bayside, your vehicle must be able to travel under the new Bahia Honda Bridge, which has a height restriction of six feet, eight inches. Also available for rent near the Bayside campground are three stilted duplex cabins ($120 May-Oct., $160 Nov.-Apr.) that overlook the bay. Each of the six cabins has a full bath, a kitchen/dining room, a living room with a sofa bed, one or two bedrooms, and central heating and cooling; five of the cabins accommodate up to six people, and one is wheelchair-accessible. Although pets are prohibited in the cabins, they're permitted in the campgrounds, provided they're confined, leashed, or otherwise kept under control. In addition to campgrounds and cabins, Bahia Honda provides 19 boat slips for overnight rental ($2 per foot, $30 minimum), which includes water, electricity, and the use of park facilities such as restrooms, showers, and trash disposal. For reservations at Bahia Honda or any of Florida's state park campgrounds, contact ReserveAmerica (800/326-3521) – and if you do decide to go, try to choose a campsite that provides picturesque views of the old railroad bridge (pictured above).
For more details about RV camping in southern Florida and the rest of the Sunshine State, consult the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (FARVC) (1340 Vickers Rd., Tallahassee, FL 32303, 850/562-7151), and if you don't have an RV of your own, don't worry. You can always rent one from companies like Cruise America (480/464-7300 or 800/671-8042, rates vary), which offers a dozen locations in Florida, including Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. You can also pick up a copy of Moon Florida RV Camping.
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.
Photo / Text © 2010 Laura Martone