Want to get out in nature, watch some birds and enjoy some lovely winter weather this year? Escape that cold, blustery snow and ice of the north and fly or drive south for the winter. The birds know enough to get out of the cold and so could you! Enjoy some of the best bird watching the Sunshine State has to offer in these parks that welcome winter visitors.

To help you plan RV camping activities in Florida this year, here are some of our recommended state parks – including Everglades National Park, to round out the  mix.

Starting at the southern end of Florida, in the Florida Keys, Here you can find abundant places to stay with your RV – and beautiful weather to enjoy while you watch plentiful dolphins as well as sea birds and even the amazing roseate spoonbills. Each winter, along US 1, while driving down the Keys Highway, watch these beautifully colored birds as they treat visitors to a spectacle in pink.

Places to Camp in the Florida Keys:

From Key Largo at the northeast tip of the keys and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to Long Key State Park in Layton, there are abundant places to stop and see the sights and many where you can camp overnight. If you drive all the way southwest to Key West, you can enjoy amazing sunsets and street performers on the pier as well as visits to such historical icons as the Ernest Hemingway House and the Truman House. This is well worth the 4 hour drive south of Miami.

Places to See Near Miami:

If you haven’t walked out on a jetty to see a real lighthouse, then Miami has just the thing for you. Only minutes from downtown Miami, the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is just such a lighthouse, surrounded by water and amazing sights to see from atop. While not an overnight campground, this park contains the oldest structure in Miami-Dade. The lighthouse is a time capsule containing an immense amount of Florida history. First erected in 1825, the Cape Florida Light has survived nearly 200 years of erosion, dozens of hurricanes, an attack by native Seminole Native Americans, and an explosion of lantern oil and gun powder. Well worth the drive for the amazing view. There are also wonderful other attractions around Miami such as the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Visit the 1920’s-era Charles Deering Estate and if you wish to go a bit farther afield, there is Parrot Jungle and Monkey Jungle, both unique places to see these birds and animals.

Places to Stay Near Miami:

Florida’s state parks have many options for camping throughout the state. Full-facility campsites for tents as well as RVers include water, electricity, a grill and picnic tables, along with centralized showers, restrooms and a dump station in most parks. In the Miami area, there are several, including the Oleta River State Park and Greynolds Park in North Miami Beach, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, and Larry and Penny Thompson Park. Check the Florida State Parks website for more information.

Alligator in the Everglades
Alligator in the Everglades

Don’t forget to stop in and visit alligators and numerous water birds and other unique animals in Everglades National Park while you are in South Florida. While you should check in advance for campground reservations, there are many unusual sights to see in this gem of a park, also known as the River of Grass. You can easily rent one of our RV’s at either of our Florida El Monte locations, in Miami or Orlando. Check out both of them and more suggested Florida vacation ideas on our Where you can Rent RV’s page.

Take a road trip in your RV or ours to sunny south Florida this winter and escape the cold weather while basking in sunshine. The South Florida Fair takes place in West Palm Beach starting on January 18th and runs through February 3rd. There are 5 performance stages of continuous entertainment featuring bands such as Building 429, The Outlaws, Frankie Ballard and The Pat Travers Band, just to name a few. For more details check out the South Florida Fair.

Since 1912 each January, over a half million visitors have enjoyed 17 fun-filled days at the South Florida Fair, one of Florida’s oldest and largest community events. Fairgoers are entertained by first class stage shows, national concert performances, sensational midway rides, unique shopping and the best of fair food.

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington is home to the Winter Equestrian Festival from January 9 to March 31 this year. This largest and longest running horse show is the world’s premier winter equestrian event and offers competition for children, junior, adult amateur and professional equestrians in 70 unique divisions over 12 weeks. Featuring riders from more than 42 countries, more than 6000 horses compete with their riders for total prizes of over half a billion dollars.

You can even celebrate Everglades Day Festival on February 9th at the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach. This eco-adventure is dedicated to having fun while learning in a unique ecosystem. Free admission gives a full day of wildlife presentations, interactive games, guest speakers and more. To learn more about this amazing Florida Everglades ecosystem, see their website.

If you love garlic, there is even a South Florida Garlic Festival from February 9th to 10th.  The South Florida Garlic Fest celebrates its’ 20th Anniversary this year! This event is the epitome of homegrown talent and a cultural showcase providing an outlet for local artists and chefs to express themselves. In a variety of mediums, Garlic Fest serves as a gathering festival focal point for musicians, artist of every genre and culinary artists. Each year over 40,000 local South Floridians attend to enjoy the premier food and entertainment event in South Florida. And the event raises money for non-profit organizations that support arts and/or education for youth.

On the following weekend from the 16th to 18th of February is ArtiGras – billed as the premier fine arts festival of the Palm Beaches. This event is held over President’s Day weekend and showcases top artists in all media types along with live music and incredible food to tempt your palate. This local art show has grown into a nationally recognized arts festival and ranked in the top 50 of America’s Best Art Fairs.

And that’s just in Palm Beach County.

Farther south in Dade and Broward Counties, you will find such festivals this winter as the famous Coconut Grove Arts Festival. Now in its 56th year, this arts festival started when in 1963, a local theatre maven named Charlie Cinnamon, asked a handful of locals to recreate an outdoor Parisian exhibition as a publicity stunt for the Coconut Grove Playhouse’s production of Irma la Douce. Held this year on President’s Day weekend from the 16th to 18th of February, all art lovers are invited to attend. Get more information at their website.

Florida State Fair

In Hillsborough County, just a few hours’ drive north, check out all the action in Tampa at the Florida State Fair, starting on February 7th and running through the 18th. This long-running official state fair features everything you would hope to see at a State Fair. There are photo contests, aquarium and horticulture contests, tons of baking and preserved foods contests and everything from arts and crafts to Fairy Garden competitions, as well as competitions in Succulents in Alternative Planters; Cracked Pot Garden and Largest Green Cabbage competitions, to name just a few. For all the entertainment schedules, see their website.

These are just a few ideas of sunny south Florida Fairs and Festivals to keep you having fun in the sun this winter.

Rent an RV for your trip:

For this sunny winter travel experience, you can rent from either of our El Monte RV Rental locations in Florida. You can find our rental locations in Miami (only a 2 hour drive from West Palm Beach) or Orlando (about an hour drive from Tampa).

Have you thought about what you might do to get out and adventure this winter: is cabin fever getting to you? Well in winter, the drop in temperatures and snowy landscapes will mean a different preparation for national park trekking, but the adventure is well worth the extra effort.

Just a few of our most scenic winter park picks are highlighted here:

Mt. Rainier, WA in winter
  1. Mount Rainier National Park, WA – At Mount Rainier you will find all the snow one could ever ask for in winter.One area known as Paradise averages 54 feet of snow each year and held the world record for most annual snowfall in the 1970s at 93.5 feet. Mount Rainier also has all the winter recreation you could wish for with sledding, skiing, sliding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, climbing and camping. Just be sure to prepare well for the weather and check local conditions before your trip. Note: All vehicles, including 4WD and AWD vehicles, must carry tire chains in the park during the winter season (November 1 – May 1) and be prepared to use them when tire chain requirements are posted.    
  • Crater Lake National Park, OR – Winter is the reason that Crater Lake exists. The high elevation and proximity to the Pacific make climatic conditions that cause Crater Lake to receive more than 44 feet of snow on average each year. Without all that precipitation the lake would not exist. If you would like to explore this snowy wilderness, it’s recommended that you try skiing or snowshoeing, plus there are ranger-led interpretive hikes each weekend.

Crater Lake was formed when a violent eruption of a volcano triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Native Americans witnessed this formation about 7700 years ago. Scientists still marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and perhaps the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.  

Note: Not only do RVs need to be winterized for freezing temperatures, but it’s good to check the park’s webcams website frequently as updates such as this are posted there: “Winter road closures are now in effect. You can enter year-round from the south or west on Hwy 62. The road to Rim Village is also open year-round, except during periods of heavy snow. At Rim Village, you can enjoy views of the lake, weather permitting.”

  • Bryce Canyon National Park, UT – It may be hard to imagine Bryce Canyon’s spectacular earthly spires covered with ice and snow but this park is truly amazing in winter. There are ideal skies for stargazing which due to the cold, dry air makes them even more amazing with a weekly Saturday astronomy program to take advantage of these awesome views. The annual Winter Festival is usually held on President’s Day weekend. Bryce Canyon is even more beautiful in the winter! In the cold, crisp air, it’s thrilling to hop in and out of the warm car at the various overlooks to see the striking contrast of white snow, red rock, and blue sky.  Feeling more adventurous? Bryce offers many opportunities to enjoy its entire snowy splendor.

There are many dangers here in this season, however, so if you do visit, be sure to follow park regulations and get up-to-date weather information at the visitors center before venturing out. Boots are mandatory and traction devices are highly recommended for trail hikers, and back country permits are issued to only the most prepared and experienced. 

Winter camping in the National Parks will be far less crowded than summertime, but check with each park before you go to see what’s available. There are also additional RV Campgrounds nearby.

Holiday Special:

Whatever you do for the holidays, this is a special time to enjoy visiting with family and friends. To make the season even more fun, take advantage of our Holiday Special.

All this month we’re offering a free Monty Christmas night to help you with your holiday travel plans or accommodations! Whether you’re traveling to see relatives, needing extra beds for those visiting you or just getting away from the Christmas hustle and bustle, get a free extra day!

Rent any Class C or Class A model motor home, pick up any day in December and rent for a minimum of 6 nights and get 1 extra night FREE!  Plus you get 50 free miles per night! Get 7 nights for the price of 6!

Use Coupon Code: HOLIDAY

You can easily rent one of our RV’s at our various rental locations from Salt Lake City to Denver or near Vancouver ,CANADA.  Check out our Where you can Rent RV’s page for a location that’s convenient for you.

Don’t suffer with freezing temps and snow and ice this holiday season. Take a tropical jaunt (ok, semi-tropical) through Florida and enjoy lots of Holiday events and attractions in the Sunshine State.

To help you plan some holiday activities in Florida this year, here are some of our favorites.

Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando

It takes more work for some to get into the spirit of the season, and you can seethe heartwarming process in action with a live show of Grinchmas, as the Grinch tries to ruin the holiday for the Whos before finding the true meaning of Christmas. You can also see Macy’s Holiday Parade nightly,with balloons and floats straight from New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, along with music, entertainment, and a spectacular tree lighting display. Winter is also when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter comes alive,with sights, sounds, and even tastes straight from the books and movies! Learn more here. 

ICE! at Gaylord Palms, Orlando

For the most frigid attraction in Florida, look no further than ICE!, the award-winning display of millions of pounds of ice hand-carved into amazing sculptures by artisans from China. This year, the journey tells the story of how the beloved characters from DreamWorks’ Merry Madagascar saved Christmas after Santa and his reindeer crashed onto the island of Madagascar.There are also two-story-tall ice slides to take a ride on, truly a unique holiday experience in Florida! With the entire exhibit kept at a downright freezing 9 degrees, this is definitely the coolest event of the year. Click here to learn more.

The Holy Land Experience, Orlando

Fora more traditional take on the Christmas season, The Holy Land Experience provides a living museum and park that makes some of the most well-known stories of the Bible come to life. From the Garden of Eden to the birth of Jesus, experience the sights and sounds of the biblical world in a way you can’t find anywhere else. 

Walt Disney World Resort, Kissimmee

For the holidays, on select nights at the Magic Kingdom, the Walt Disney World Resort brings an extra holiday cheer with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Amid the spectacular decorations, enjoy a parade featuring several favorite Disney Characters, along with a special appearance by Santa Claus himself! There’s also a new fireworks show,complimentary cookies and hot chocolate, and even a wintry snowfall. Enjoy the magic of Disney at this enchanting time of year. 

Town of Christmas

What better place to explore than the town where it’s Christmas year-round? Just outside of Orlando, the quaint town of Christmas sees visitors flock to their post office yearly to have their cards and letters postmarked from “Christmas, FL” for a unique touch to their holiday mail. The town also features a historical park with a museum showing what life was like in the original settlement from the 1800s.  Let everyone else dream a white Christmas while you experience the real thing!  Find out more at their website. 

Mount Dora Events and The Polar Express

From early November through December 30th, you can ride on the officially licensed THE POLAR EXPRESS™ train ride from Tavares Union Train Station, bound for the North Pole. For tickets and more information on this and all their holiday events, see the Mount Dora website.

Busch Gardens, Tampa

Not to be confused with the Town of Christmas, Busch Gardens is being transformed into Christmas Town.  The theme park will have special holiday shows, Santa’s house, and an entire snow-filled playground! From snowmen to penguins to the Christmas Town Village,there’s an entire wintry wonderland just waiting to be explored. 

Gingerbread House Extravaganza, Jacksonville

You won’t believe your eyes or nose when you see what amazing creations people are able to make with gingerbread, icing, and imagination. For the 11th consecutive year, the Jacksonville Historical Society is hosting the Gingerbread House Extravaganza to raise money for children’s programs, but this is no ordinary bake sale. The artistry and detail of the edible creations are a real treat, providing enough awe to keep your sweet tooth in check. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can submit your own masterpiece to be part of the fun.

Nights of Lights, St. Augustine

If you enjoy going to local houses to see their Christmas light displays, then St.Augustine has just what you’re looking for. Every year, literally millions of holiday lights decorate the nation’s oldest city, transforming it into a twinkling spectacle. With so much to see, you may be better off taking one of the several tour buses than trying to take it all in on your own. There are also a multitude of events coinciding with the brilliant display. See their website here to find out more details.

Santa’s Enchanted Forest, Miami

Though we all know that Santa makes his home in the North Pole, South Floridians know he also maintains a warmer wonderland. Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Miami’s Tropical Park lays claim to the title of world’s largest Christmas theme park, with more than 100 rides, shows, games, and attractions.

El Monte RV Holiday Special:

Whatever you do for the holidays, this is a special time to enjoy visiting with family and friends. To make the season even more fun, take advantage of this Holiday Special from El Monte RV.

This month we’re offering a free Monty Christmas night to help you with your holiday travel plans or accommodations! Whether you’re traveling to see relatives, needing extra beds for those visiting you or just getting away from the Christmas rush, get a free extra day!

Rent any Class C or Class A model motor home, pick up any day in December and rent for a minimum of 6 nights and get 1 extra night FREE! Plus you get 50 free miles per night! Get 7 nights for the price of 6!  
Use Coupon Code: HOLIDAY

You can easily rent one of our RV’s at either of our Florida El Monte RV locations, in Miami or Orlando. Check out both of them and some more suggested Florida vacation ideas on our Florida RV rentals page.

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