We spent almost a month in Florida waiting for it to warm up enough to travel north without running into too many freezes. We took the time to drive both the gulf and the Atlantic coasts and all the way down to the keys. We even decided to skip the more often visited Disney and Universal and other big tourist locations in exchange for scenery, beaches, everglades and travel. We even got a little spring break time in.
Looking back at our pictures I think this will need to be a multi post. There is so much we did in Florida and so much to see. You could spend your entire winter exploring new cities and not setting foot on the same beach twice.
We’ll start off with our method of travel:We dry camped / Parking lot camped for most of this journey. This was a good experience for us and it allowed us to streamline the way store things while moving vs storing things while standing still. There are a few things we want to buy yet but we have a good system down.
As far as places to stop overnight at first look it seems it would be impossible. You will find that most if not all cities along the coast, especially in southern Florida have no overnight parking clauses. Add to that stealth camping in a 5th wheel or large RV isn’t. It looks really hard for bigger rigs, but there is hope.
There are well maintained secure rest-stops along the Florida turnpike that allow overnight stopping. While there are signs posted that say no camping / trailer camping, the consensus among the staff that take care of these rest stops is that it means you can’t put up tents or drop a trailer and go places. There are benefits to these stops, if you are traveling long distance you don’t have to exit to stop for the night. Plus, there are security officers on site starting at 8pm. Some stops even segregate trucks from rv’s! This is good because you don’t have to listen to big rigs run their trucks all night.
Walmart! … well not really. You may be surprised to find that in southern Florida and most Walmarts, if asked will tell you no over night parking period. Whey even actively have people evicted from their parking lots. Some Walmarts even threaten legal action. No walmart meant looking for options.
What surprised us is that there are a host of other places that will not complain. Like, Home Depot for instance, said they don’t allow it but they also won’t complain to the police if you don’t give them a reason to. And the police, when I asked a sheriff about the ordinance in Ft. Lauderdale he said “Yes there is an ordinance but unless someone complains we won’t do anything.” Also he assured us that if they don’t feel like you are trouble, causing trouble, or a nuisance in any way they’ll let you know and give you some time to get on your way.
We managed most of our dry camping or over night parking by zig-zagging out to the coast and then in bast the beach.
Next: South Alabama .. I mean the florida panhandle.