The BEST of the FL Keys + Everglades
The Florida Keys are a MUST do. Our travels also look us through the Florida Everglades so lucky for you we have itineraries for both!
The Florida Keys
Ah, The Keys... Beautiful beaches, the bluest of water and one of the best vibes imaginable.
As mentioned in our post on camping in the Panhandle , the WInter in Florida is crowded (the Keys especially) so approach your trip with a flexible mindset and good things will come (or just plan ahead... like at least five months ahead).
John Pennekamp State Park
Camping at John Pennekamp State Park is a nice first stop, pretty close to Key Largo (the first key) and offers some of the best snorkeling in the US covering over 170 square miles of coral reefs. They have daily snorkeling tours, for availability call ahead or check into the visitors center upon arrival. If snorkeling isn't your thing, they offer glass bottom boat rides, scuba tours and/or kayak rentals. For yoga nearby, visit Yoga Key Largo... Kathy, the owner is fantastic.
Long Key State Park
We were able to score three nights at Long Key State Park located south of Pennekamp SP. ALL of the campsites are on the water! The views outside our front door were some of the best yet. On top of that, the staff here was incredibly friendly and one staff member, Heather offers FREE Friday morning beach yoga every week (make sure to sign up at the front desk). Camping at Long Key makes for an easy day trip to Key West and an even easier happy hour at one of the best beach bars in the Keys, The Lobster Crawl. The location, technically located in the RV Park on Fiesta Key, gives this place just enough of the "off the beaten path" vibe you want in the Keys. Folks come for the drinks and views. Their live music and 4-6pm happy hour are just an added bonus. Also nearby are two decent breweries: Islamorada Brewery and Florida Keys Brewing Company. First, head to Islamorada for two for one beers on happy hour from 4 to 6pm ish, play a game of giant connect four and then check out Florida Keys Brewing Company and try their seasonal "Rum Around."
The Florida Everglades
Even the Everglades are crowded in the Winter, but somehow we found a perfect little campground off of Hwy 41. Monument Lake Campground is a small, no fuss campground with spots centered around a little lake in the middle of the Florida Everglades. Pros are views and proximity to Everglades City, Everglades National Park and Clyde Butcher's Big Cypress Gallery.
Everglades National Park: Bike/walk through Shark Valley, a 16 mile loop you will not regret.
Clyde Butcher's Gallery: Clyde's been photographing spectacular black and white shots of Florida for 50+ years. This gallery is small and simple but will blow your socks off.