Cave Diving and RV Camping in North Central Florida

The rivers and springs north of Gainesville, Florida are world famous for their clean, clear water, an amazing variety of marine life and epic underwater cave systems. The good news for divers who like to travel by RV is that North Central Florida RV parks are also famous for their laid back hospitality and scenic beauty.

If you’ve dived underwater caves elsewhere and hope to visit Florida’s caverns soon, here’s a quick guide to finding the best cave diving and RV campsites in North Central Florida.

Three North Central FL Cave Diving Venues

Ginnie Springs Outdoors, a private recreation complex on the Santa Fe River, is just north of Gainesville, or two hours north of Orlando, via I-75. Not only do they offer RV camping plus swimming, tubing and paddling in a beautifully-wooded natural setting, they also offer scuba divers the chance to explore caves in seven freshwater springs. If you’re new to the sport, the on-site staff can provide PADI certification instruction. Certified cave divers can explore more than thirty-thousand-feet of underwater caves in the Devil’s Eye Cave System—it’s on the bucket list of most well-experienced divers!

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park, two miles east of Luraville, FL, is also cave diving heaven for veteran divers. If you’ve received certification in cave diving, you’ll be able to explore the longest underwater cave system in the US. Not quite ready to try this extensive cave system in two large springs and six sinkholes? You can still immerse yourself in outdoor recreation by swimming, paddling or hiking throughout the park. RV camping isn’t available on-site, but there are a number of private campgrounds just up the road in Live Oak.

While RV camping in Live Oak, FL, you’re also going to want to explore

Madison Blue Spring State Park

Madison Blue Spring State Park

the extensive, mapped cave system at Madison Blue Spring State Park.

A pretty place on the banks of the Withlacoochee River, this small spring delivers a big treat for certified cave divers. It’s also a popular swimming hole and kayakers will enjoy paddling the river for a scenic taste of North Central Florida.

These are just three of the most famous cave diving venues in North Central Florida—the area’s more remote, less-documented springs and sinkholes also promise adventure for highly-experienced cave divers. We do need to mention that cave diving isn’t for everyone—it requires extensive training for certification. But those who’ve spent the time underwater to learn what cave diving takes will no doubt find Florida’s freshwater springs a first-rate experience.

The campgrounds you’ll find throughout historic North Florida are well-equipped to meet the needs of divers, paddlers and hikers in search of adventure. So why not come RV camping to Florida’s spring-rich northern paradise? As always, we’re ready to help with a Florida RV rental.

The rivers, springs and sinkholes, combined with ‘old-time Florida’s’ relaxed and friendly campgrounds, will soon have you planning your return trip to discover even more underwater caves in North Central Florida.

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RV Camping on Florida Panhandle Scenic Byways

Beaches, wildlife and one magnificent sunset after another—that’s what you can expect to find while RV camping along the scenic byways of Florida’s Panhandle. We’ve picked three itineraries to help you discover the area’s diverse beauty.

RV Camping on Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway

Follow Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway to discover mysterious legends, small town charm and the highest bluffs on the Florida coast. Follow US-90 in Pensacola north along Pensacola Bay and get ready to fall under the spell of these fascinating places:

  • Magnolia Bluff – incomparable views of Escambia Bay
  • Emanuel Point – where shipwrecks wait to be discovered offshore
  • Bayou Texar – take the drive across the bridge for a one-of-a-kind experience
  • Gaberonne Swamp – discover the plants and animals of native swampland, with a touch of Spanish history tossed in for good measure
  • East Pensacola Heights – quaint shopping and residential district with old Florida charm

Search our directory of Florida campgrounds in the Pensacola area, and take your time to enjoy its dramatic beauty.

Scenic Highway 30A by RV

It’s less than thirty miles long, but this stretch of highway through Florida’s South Walton area encompasses the very best of the state. With more than a dozen distinct beach communities offering almost unlimited attractions, the question will be, “What should we enjoy first?”

Plan time to take in the sights, sounds and flavors along South Walton’s white sand beaches. From the architectural wonders of Seaside to the towering dunes of Blue Mountain Beach, there’s something for everyone to love along this byway. You’ll also want to add a trip to the area’s two state parks, Grayton Beach and Topsail Hill Preserve, to round out your enjoyment of South Walton. Bonus: both state parks boast full-service RV campgrounds!

Big Bend Scenic Byway

As this combination of highways winds between Tallahassee and Apalachicola, the Florida Panhandle RV traveler is treated to an amazing array of natural and cultural wonders. Use this detailed guide to the Big Bend Scenic Byway to map your route along the Coastal Trail spurs, the Forest Trail or the all-encompassing Two-Day Loop Trail. Everywhere you turn, you’re going to find something memorable on this Byway.

Big Bend Scenic Byway, Florida

Photo courtesy of http://www.floridabigbendscenicbyway.org/

Here are just a few of the sights you can see along the way:

  • George Island State Park—unspoiled beauty, sea turtles and plenty of specimens for your shell collection
  • Wakulla Springs State Park—home to one of the world’s deepest freshwater springs
  • Marks—a vintage coastal town where two rivers meet, with easy access to a wide range of hiking and biking trails
  • Ochlockonee River State Park—come watch for manatee and other coastal wildlife in this lush preserve
  • St Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse—seventy thousand acres of wetlands and marshes plus a well-preserved lighthouse make this a stop you’ll want to make.

As you travel through Florida’s sun-drenched Panhandle, you’ll find fascinating wildlife, beautiful beaches and history reaching back to the first Spanish explorers. Get in touch with us for a Florida RV rental and start planning your own epic journey along a Florida Panhandle Scenic Byway.

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RV Camping Flea Market Adventures – Florida Style

The Sunshine State is a flea market shopper’s wonderland, and there’s no better way to travel there than by RV. Why? Because the money you’ll save sleeping, cooking and traveling in an RV, as opposed to booking hotel rooms and rental cars and eating in restaurants every day, leaves you plenty of vacation dollars for your favorite flea market finds. Here are four fabulous Florida flea markets within a four hour drive of each other.  flea_market_shutterstock_229645399

Waldo Flea and Farmers Market – Waldo, FL

This old-fashioned, 50 acre, open air flea market is just northeast of Gainesville on Hwy 301. It is also located only two hours north of Orlando, if you’re flying into Orlando International to pick up your RV rental. With more than nine hundred dealers on-site, plus a twenty thousand square foot Antiques Village indoors, you can’t possibly go home without at least one treasured bargain. This gem is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Camping Ideas: Every type of RV travelers will find their style of campground in the vicinity, which includes the towns of Alachua, Starke, Gainesville and Waldo. River Rise Preserve State Park near High Springs also gets great marks from campers.

Pecan Park Flea & Farmers Market – Jacksonville, FL

Another northeast Florida favorite, off I-95 in Jacksonville, is Pecan Park Flea & Farmers Market, where more than seven hundred covered ‘store fronts’ attract thousands of shoppers each Saturday and Sunday. This is a true family destination, with mini-golf, restaurants and special events on-site, so plan for a full day of fun. Here’s one more bonus—Pecan Park RV Resort is right next door, with large, full service campsites in an attractive setting.

St Augustine Flea Market – St Augustine, FL

Another North Florida flea market popular with RV travelers is the St Augustine Flea Market, just off I-95. Hundreds of vendors in both indoor and outdoor booths offer everything from electronics to fresh produce and antiques. Park your big rig at St Johns RV Park adjacent to the market, and plan to spend both Saturday and Sunday shopping. And don’t miss seeing the nation’s oldest continuous settlement’s many historic attractions while you’re there!

Daytona Flea & Farmers Market – Daytona Beach, FL

Before returning your Florida RV rental in Orlando, or on Friday as you head to the North Florida markets, be sure to stop in Daytona Beach, home of one of the top-rated flea markets in America. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Daytona Flea & Farmers Market offers one thousand booths on forty nicely maintained acres for the ultimate in flea market shopping. Crazy Horse Campground is right next door to make your trip even more enjoyable.

These are just four fantastic reasons for coming to Florida for an RV camping and flea market shopping vacation. Spectacular beaches, freshwater springs and charming ‘Old Florida’ towns can round out your perfect loop. Use our convenient link to find your Florida RV campground if you plan to stop and play along the way. And be sure to get in touch if we can help with an RV rental!

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Sarasota, Florida RV Camping-Three Ways to Thrill the Kids

How many times have you said, “Next year we’ll camp in Florida?” Two hundred miles northwest of Miami and less than two hours’ drive southwest of Orlando, Sarasota is the perfect place to get your feet wet in Florida family RV camping. And the kids will love you for it! Here are three ways to thrill the kids when you make Sarasota your family’s RV camping destination.

Run Away to the Circus!

John and Mabel Ringling, the couple who helped introduce America to the circus, once lived in a fabulous mansion on Sarasota Bay. Now a part of “The Ringling”, a public attraction that includes a circus museum, the Ringling mansion, a world-class art museum and a dizzying collection of all things circus, this stop is a must for families camping in Sarasota.

Wander the grounds and experience this beloved destination as you learn about John Ringling’s fascinating life and the circus whose winter home was once Sarasota.

Hit the Beach!

Florida’s Gulf Coast is nowhere more spectacular than on Sarasota Bay, where six islands (“keys”) sit in the sparkling water, waiting to enchant your family. The white sand beaches on the keys off Sarasota offer RV camping families endless days of fun. Build sand castles, splash in the surf and search for shells with the little ones, while older kids tour the shoreline on stand up paddle boards. No matter what your family loves to do at the beach, you’ll find a place to do it along Sarasota Bay.

Sarasota Beach Hot Tips: Turtle Beach, run by Sarasota County, has a full-service RV campground and the chance to see the sea turtles that give this beach its name. You’ll also want to visit celebrated Siesta Key Beach to find out why it’s one of the most popular in America.

Go on a Gator Safari!

Reserve a campsite at Myakka River State Park and open the door to outdoor adventures the whole family will enjoy. From searching for alligators from the safety of an enclosed airboat tour to a walk among the treetops on the park’s Canopy Walkway, this state park offers enough excitement for an entire camping vacation.

Families who love to explore from the water will find dozens of special places to canoe or kayak along the shores of two lakes and the river within the park’s boundaries. Set up camp at the park and then plan to hike, paddle and tour your way through the wonders of nature.

Ready to discover Sarasota and Florida’s spectacular Gulf Coast on your next family camping vacation? All it takes is a Florida RV rental and a sense of adventure. With so many ways to thrill the kids in Sarasota, get ready to hear them say, “This was the best vacation ever!”

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Plan Now for RV Camping at the Florida Folk Festival

Smart camping fans know that November is the perfect time to start planning for early summer RV camping excursions. The Florida Folk Festival, held Memorial Day Weekend each year at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, Florida, is one place you’ll want to plan to attend in 2015.

Why go? We thought you’d never ask!

Here are five exciting reasons to plan your RV camping trip to the 2015 Florida Folk Festival.

Reason #1: The Music!

The folks who put on this three day festival promise the best the Sunshine State has to offer in a wide range of musical traditions. Come listen, dance and sing along as these artists play in concerts, workshops and jam sessions. They provide the perfect backdrop for a festival that celebrates the cultures that keep Florida fascinating. With hundreds of performances over the weekend, you’re sure to hear just what you came for.

Reason #2: The Folk Culture Experience!

If your RV camping crew enjoys hands-on cultural experiences, this is definitely the place to go. In the finest folk culture tradition, the Florida Folk Festival offers an amazing array of food, craft and artistic workshops, demonstrations and exhibits that showcase the diverse peoples of Florida.

Unplug the kids from their screens and challenge them to learn how to make something with their own hands. Enjoy talented storytellers spinning tales that will entertain everyone in the family. Forget what you thought you knew about Florida and be surprised by the cultural influences that have played a part in the state’s history.

Plan to immerse yourselves in all the Festival has to offer and go home enriched by the experience!

Reason #3: Abundant RV Camping Nearby

One of our favorite reasons to attend this annual festival is the abundance of friendly RV campgrounds close by. Whether you plan to stay right there in White Springs or a little farther out, you’ll love the small town hospitality that’s offered. Here’s a well-written guide to camping close to the Florida Folk Festival (just click the Accommodations link for complete details.) Be sure to make your reservations early!

Reason #4: Plenty to Do Before You Head Home

First time visitors to Florida’s Suwannee River Valley will be thrilled to discover all the area has to offer. Crisscrossed with rivers and natural springs, the Valley offers some of the best tubing, paddling and scuba diving venues in Florida.

Spots like Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Fort White and Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park offer water-loving visitors the chance to explore the blue-green, spring-fed, pristine waters of north Florida.

Like your RV adventures a little less on the wild side? Be sure to visit the Valley’s many antiques stores, battlefields and historic sites in lovely spots like Lake City and High Springs. We’ve also heard rave reviews about the area’s bird and wildlife watching opportunities.

Reason #5: Affordable, Family Friendly Event

At $50 per adult weekend pass (purchase tickets in advance here) and free or reduced fees for the youngsters, the Florida Folk Festival is a real bargain! Combined with the benefits and affordability of RV travel, you won’t find a more budget-friendly way to spend Memorial Day Weekend in north Florida.  Florida Folk Festival

We’ve given you just five of the many reasons to plan an RV camping trip to next year’s Florida Folk Festival. You’ll find your own reasons to return once you’ve attended!

Don’t forget, you don’t have to own an RV to camp near the festival in motorhome luxury. We’re happy to help you reserve the perfect RV for your festival weekend in Florida. White Springs is just two and a half hours north of Orlando, so give us a call when you’re ready to reserve your RV.

Picture credits: The photo of Florida Folk Festival was found on Flickr Commons. It is licensed under the Explore/Creative Commons license.

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Stop in St. Augustine on your Florida RV Vacation

One of the oldest settlements in the U.S. is historic St. Augustine, Florida. The rich heritage here is worth some time spent devouring the sights and sounds, the fascinating ambiance and the landmarks. Of course the beaches are also a major attraction any time of year. And there is a lot more than just history to bring you here! Read on!

Flagler College St. Augustine College

Flagler College St. Augustine College

You will have a wide choice of RV parks so you can remain for a time to explore. One that comes highly recommended is the Stage Coach RV Park.

This park is close to all the places you have on your itinerary for St. Augustine. You’ll find full hookups and a relaxing atmosphere.

Check out Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth while here. Get a tour and discover the area that Juan Ponce de Leon found in 1513. This area has such a rich history.  The Archaeological Park is an entertaining sight for the whole family. This is the spot where America began, settled years before Jamestown and even before the Pilgrims landed.

The oldest structure in St. Augustine is the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. See some re-enactments of history as people dress in the costumes of days gone by and show you what life was really like in those early days. Be sure to allow at least one or two hours for your visit so you can see everything possible. Enjoy exhibits and walk through the fortress. There are also Ranger Programs where you can learn so much of the history connected with this most fascinating place.

Next comes the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum where you may wish to get some exercise and climb the steps to the top. Fabulous views can be enjoyed from the top of the lighthouse. Learn the story of this nation’s oldest port. This lighthouse is now in the spot where a Spanish watchtower once stood. The watchtower was the first lighthouse in Florida, protecting ships beginning in 1824.

The outdoors beckons at Anastasia State Park. There are so many activities here, such as hiking, walking self-guided nature trails or watching all the wildlife. The tidal marshes are home to a wide variety of life. Theses marshes are also a great place to paddle. RV camping is available, close to the beach and all the fun.

If you are a real history buff, you’ll love the Lightner Museum with the amazing collections of costumes, furnishings and more from the 19th century. See beautiful cut glass and some wonderful samples of Tiffany stained glass.

Naturally, you want to see an alligator farm and you can experience all the magic of this part of our animal kingdom at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. Not just alligators, but tropical birds, crocodiles and lemurs will be there. You can see it all from the tree tops if you opt to ride the zip line. See a show or two. The fun is truly never-ending.

If you’re interested in booking an RV trip in St. Augustine, FL, El Monte RV has an RV pick-up location in Orlando, FL.

Picture credits: The picture of a Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

 

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Some of the Best RV Camping on a Vacation in Florida

Where else can a traveler find a lovely seaside climate to explore during the winter months but beautiful Florida? Taking an RV camping excursion in this southeast state may be one of the best yet, particularly when everyone else in the United States is experiencing snow and sleet conditions. Let’s begin our journey in the panhandle of Florida and travel south all the way to the southernmost tip of the US.

Bridge in Key Largo

Bridge in Key Largo

Pensacola is the ideal start to an RV trip through Florida. The Portofino Boardwalk has all sorts of activities for all ages, including shopping for unique gifts to take home. Pensacola Beach is great any time of year. Biking is a favorite pastime at the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Stop by one of the free concerts for some entertainment. Make your home base at the Perdido Cove RV Resort and Marina with all the amenities you could need, and then take off to visit the National Museum of Naval Aviation in town.

Discover more of fascinating Florida attractions in Jacksonville. Walk the beaches, see what events are happening at EverBank Field and explore the city. You can stay at Flamingo Lake RV Resort in North Jacksonville while you take your time to see everything this northern Florida destination has to offer. This park is rated highly by RVers the country over. They have a laundry, a great pool and even a beach on the lake to enjoy.

Further south you’ll come to St. Augustine. The attractions here are numerous. The St. Augustine Wild Reserve offers tours by appointment. Since St. Augustine is one very historical spot, you won’t want to miss the Ximenez-Fatio House which is within the city’s oldest settlement. Other places of interest include the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Fort Matanzas and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. There are all sorts of beaches where you can enjoy beachcombing. The Bryn Mawr Ocean Resort is a full service RV camping resort with full hookups and is the perfect place to stay.

After your visit in St. Augustine is done, head south to Daytona Beach. If you are a racing fan, you certainly can’t miss a stop at the Daytona International Speedway. The family will also love the Daytona Beach Pier and all the fun amusements available here. Recommended is the new resort for RVs, the Daytona RV Park. It is close to everything, including the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, fishing piers beyond compare and fine dining. Many of their sites are pull-through and can accommodate very large RVs. Get free WiFi and basic television service.

Pop inland for a visit to Orlando next. When you come to Florida it is a large mistake to pass by all the fabulous sights in this vacation destination. Even if you have been there a million times before, Walt Disney World can be enjoyed again and again. Sea World and Universal Studios are big must-see spots. Play golf or simply enjoy your RV site at Lake Whipporwill KOA. They have a pool and hot tub, big rig camping with full hookups and a lake right there where you can boat or fish.

Only 120 miles southeast and you are at Port St. Lucie. Discover parks, lovely beaches, golf courses and museums to explore. Be sure to stop by the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens and in Fort Pierce see the amazing display of tropical bonsai trees at the Heathcote Botanical Gardens. Fishing is wonderful here too. You can do a deep sea fishing excursion and perhaps catch a swordfish, tuna or sailfish. RV camping is available at the Port St. Lucie RV Resort with paved sites, a solar-heated pool and laundry room.

Next stop is Ft. Lauderdale where you can enjoy many varied events and art exhibitions. Get exercise along Riverwalk, then return to your spot at the Yacht Haven Park and Marina surrounded by water canals and boardwalks. Although you could spend days just exploring this city, you will want to head to the Florida Keys as soon as possible. Key Largo is waiting, with so much to see and do. Stay at the Point Of View Key Largo RV Resort and sit to enjoy the sunset as the cool ocean breezes blow.

Finally, the end of your trip at Key West, where the swaying palms make you forget it is winter. The Bluewater Key RV Resort is close enough to Key West to make it easy to access all the attractions. This is one Florida vacation that will stay in memory for years to come.

If you are interested in booking an RV Vacation in Florida, El Monte RV  has rental pickup locations in  Miami and Orlando.

Picture credits: The picture of a bridge in Key Largo  is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Visit Florida Winter Festivals for Family Fun

Florida winter festivals can fill winter days with music, art and friendly faces. Traveling throughout the state for fun-filled events can make the colder months pass quickly and pleasantly. Below are some festivals held in Florida that provide a unique opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the mild Florida weather.

Sunset in Sarasota, Florida

Sunset in Sarasota, Florida

West Palm Beach is the place to be on November 16. The Palm Beach Jazzfest will be held in the Meyer Amphitheater downtown, right on the waterfront. One major national headliner will close the show, so stick around for the whole musical event! On top of the music, there will be art, foods galore and plenty of excitement. This all day event goes from noon until 10 pm with many shows worthy of toe-tapping and applause.

If you love fairs, then the Broward County Fair is the go-to spot on the 21st of November. The fair runs from 21 November until 1 December in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Of course the rides are the favorites of the kids, but everyone loves the games and shows. Don’t forget to get a funnel cake! Stop by and see all the animals, too. There will be sheep, cows, goats, rabbits and many more! The live entertainment will enliven your day.

It is time for giving thanks on the 28th of November and what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by attending the Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival! A delicious dinner will be served on the grounds in Brooksville. All day music will make this visit worth your while. This event actually runs through the 30th, so stay awhile and visit with the new friends you are sure to meet. There is even RV camping nearby with hookups.

Travel to Harmony, Florida for the 6th Annual Harmony Winter Festival on the 6th of December. There will be caroling, music, face painting, visits with Santa and snow slides. Yes, snow in Florida! Harmony is a real winter wonderland this time of year. You may be amazed by the Ice Frozen T-shirt Contest, and it is definitely a must-see! The kids will love the bounce house and hot cocoa.

Sarasota is a great place to spend some time around the holidays. From 13 December to 22 December, the Snow Fest Sarasota provides fun for the whole family. Activities include snow slides, ice skating, and reindeer rides! Now, who wouldn’t thrill to riding a reindeer? Yes, it is all happening at the Snow Fest – pony rides, circus performers, caroling and even a Magic Workshop. Don’t miss this!

After your own Christmas celebrations, head for the Keys for the Florida Keys Celtic Festival on January 10th and 11th. There is nothing like a live Celtic band to inspire or pipes and drums to thrill. Discover an entirely new culture in Marathon Florida this winter. Then in January from the 16th to the 26th, stop and enjoy the 16th Annual Coral Gables Bluesfest in Coral Gables.

The festivals in Florida during the winter months are just what you need to get a break from the hectic workaday world. Enjoy!

Picture credits: The picture of the sunset in Sarasota, Florida  is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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The Florida Coast is Ideal for an RV Vacation in the Spring

An RV trip down the Florida coast is the ideal getaway for a spring vacation. The weather is just about perfect, not too hot yet and not chilly. As you drive south you will be surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Atlantic and a fascinating waterway on the other side of the highway. Take in the sights and stop at many famous attractions.

Jacksonville, Florida is the starting point for your trip down the Florida coast. Stunning beaches and many cultural attractions make Jacksonville a real wonderful destination in itself. No matter how long it took to get here from your home, you can unwind and enjoy the nightlife that this Florida city has to offer. You will find RV camping in many great campgrounds in the area but you may wish to try the Flamingo Lake RV Resort in North Jacksonville. They have a large number of full hookup sites and free wireless Internet. The best part? A lake right there.

Picture of Ponte Vedra BeachPonte Vedra Beach

Ponte Vedra Beach

The place to go biking is at Ponte Vedra Beach or you can do some deep sea fishing if you hire a guide to take you out into the ocean’s expanse. This is not far from Jacksonville and on your way down the coast to your next stop. The sand dunes are something extraordinary, with sometimes forty feet of sand stretching toward the blue skies. Plenty to do here!

Now for one of the main stops along the way! St. Augustine, Florida is an amazing place indeed, with history, outdoor fun and so much more. The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum should be on your list of things to see. Discover just gorgeous views and more history to educate you on this intriguing region. Then for some outdoor exploration, make your way to Anastasia State Park. There is four miles of pristine beach, plenty of room for surfing or fishing or swimming.

Some other stops you need to make are the ones ranking high on tourist lists. One of those is the St. Augustine Wild Reserve where rescued wild animals have their home. You need to make an appointment to visit, but it is worth the time and effort. Fort Matanzas introduces you to more of Florida’s history. Taking a ferry to the island where the fort is built is half the fun. And of course, when in Florida, you can’t miss seeing some alligators. At the St. Augustine Alligator Farm there is not just one alligator but a multitude! Zip lining is also a great activity here as you sail over the gators below you, just like in some James Bond movie.

As you move further south, stop at Marineland to visit all sorts of sea animals, and then continue down to Gamble Rogers Memorial Park for some water fun. It’s right on the beach where you can snorkel or lay out in the sun. Then a memorable stop at the Canaveral National Seashore! The fun never ends!

As you come to the end of your RV journey, you may be sorry that all these good times are going to end. But stay a while in Key West and soak up more Florida sun before heading back the way you came. You can take some time for more sightseeing as you go.

Picture credits: The picture of Ponte Vedra Beach is adapted from an image in the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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A Spring RV Trip to Tampa, Florida

Spring is the perfect time for an RV trip to Tampa. The weather has not yet become unbearably hot, the fresh Gulf breezes are blowing and the flowers are in bloom. Tampa has a lot to offer vacationers. There are plenty of RV campgrounds where you can make your home base. For instance, the Lazydays RV Campground in Tampa has full hookups and lots of free amenities that make your stay exceptional.

Picture of the sign for Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

The first stop should be Lowry Park Zoo with an amazing array of animals and attractions. Feed the giraffes and peek in aquariums filled with exotic frogs and toads. Then hop over to the Big Cat Rescue where more than 100 lions, cougars and other cats await your visit.

Next stop, the wonderful Florida Aquarium where you will see creatures that you didn’t even know existed in our oceans. Take part in a dolphin cruise too, as you boat in Tampa Bay where these beautiful mammals show off for you. Then you will travel south of the city to the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center and can view the butterfly gardens and try the hurricane simulator to see just what residents may go through in this state. If the right time of year you’ll also see manatees.

If you would like to get out now for some hiking, fishing or other outdoor activities, you have a choice of parks. Lettuce Lake Park has a biking path which is a lot of fun, and you can rent a canoe and take a paddle on the lake. Al Lopez Park is a wonderful place to hike. You will see wildlife and can even fish in a lovely pond.

Naturally, you can’t miss the attractions that Tampa is most famous for. Busch Gardens is a family adventure that has tons of thrills, with shows, rides and many wild animal exhibits. Right close by is the Serengeti Safari at Busch Gardens, an unforgettable visit to the African Plain. Then if you want water fun, Adventure Island provides all you could ask for, with water rides, waterfalls to play around in and slides.

If you like a great scenic drive, take your RV over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and along the way you will surely see some dolphins leaping from the water below. There are many piers from which you can fish and the longest sidewalk in the world where you can take a 4.5-mile bayside stroll – Bayshore Boulevard.

Drive over to Clearwater Beach which likely has some of the whitest sand you’ll find on the Gulf. The pier is fun to explore and all the nearby shops offer dazzling displays of many goodies, from clothes and food to beach accessories and jewelry. Grab an ice cream cone and wade in the surf.

A Tampa Bay vacation has a wide array of things to do and see. Bringing an RV to stay in gives you the opportunity to experience some of the best of Florida without expensive hotel rooms. You’ll come home relaxed and with one of those famous Florida tans!

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