Florida Keys, Key West

Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know

Sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation. This can be especially true for RV life with setting up camp, managing waste, and cooking your own meals. So, when you’re up for a little downtime, head south, way south, to Key West Florida—the edge of the United States, but the beginning of all things fun in the sun during your rented RV road trip!

Key West, colloquially referred to as the Florida Keys or even simply “the Keys” is a land all its own. Closer to mainland Cuba than to Miami, the Keys exudes its own culture and style—from its famed pastel-hued, conch-style houses to its own world-famous delicacy.

Why Visit the Florida Keys in Your Rented RV?

Crystal clear waters? Check. White sandy beaches? Check. A rich vibrant history and culture. Check! The Florida Keys has all this and more packed into just seven square miles! A tropical locale as far south as the States allow may not have been what you had in mind when you decided to rent an RV or dip a foot into RV life, but it’s a must-visit destination that will leave you craving more and more of it from the moment you leave. Here are the top five reasons to check out the Florida Keys either while renting an RV in Florida or during a planned trip.

Great RVs in Florida

Water, Water, Water

Dive into your Florida Keys vacation with a diving charter. The Florida Keys offers several diving excursions based on your interests. Head up north to Key Largo for a diving excursion to ship-wrecked sites or stay put in Key West for a lost reef adventure. Scuba diving is also a fun option. Training and classes are also available to get you up to speed before you make your dip.

Watersports are another great option. From jet skis and wave runners to kayak tours through the backcountry, and more Key West has more than enough ways to have fun on the open sea. 

And, above water, there is just as much to do: swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling. It’s all up to you at the dozens of beaches that span the Keys. Keep in mind, there are no lifeguards on duty, so swim at your own risk.  

Tours

Why not give your rental RV a bit of a rest and hit up a new mode of transportation while in Key West? The rich history of Key West lends itself to tours and there’s no better way to get around than on a trolley. And, as with every other attraction in the Keys, you’ll have your pick. Up for a ghost tour—they’ve got you covered. A history buff looking to learn more about this unique corner of the U.S.—yup. Not good at staying seated? They have a walk-on-and-off tour as well. Book your trolley tour in advance and look forward to everything you’ll have to look back on.

If you’re up for getting off the land, hit up a boat tour. Key West offers a glass-bottom boat tour perfect for seeing colorful fish, coral, and plants. Plus, an onboard guide will explain what you’re seeing and provide great commentary and information.

Fishing

The curving slope of islands that make up the Florida Keys creates a one-of-a-kind fishing paradise and ensures a catch anytime, any day, any season. As many varieties of fish there are available—bonefish, tarpon, permit, redfish, snook, marlin, swordfish—there are ways—deep sea offshore, wreck and reef, bridge, party.

Before you dip your line in, make sure you have a saltwater fishing license. These can be purchased at bait and tackle shops or online. However, if you choose to hire a guide or backcountry boat, you will not need a license as you are covered by the captain’s documentation. The Keys also promotes a widely practiced, catch-and-release approach in order to balance preservation with recreation so plan on getting your fill of fish and seafood from the amazing restaurants.

Museums and History

You may not think an island chain destination would be rich in history and museum, but the Florida Keys continues to defy rules and expectations. The area has a defined culture, and its museum scene reflects that.

Consider going on a guided tour to the Hemingway Home and Museum—a registered national historic landmark. You’ll see the “Old Man and the Sea” author’s writing studio and Key West’s first swimming pool. You can also hit up the History of Diving Museum—dedicated to, you guessed it, collecting, preserving, and displaying artifacts, antiques, and photographs relative to diving and its heritage.

Botanical Garden

With 15 acres of native garden and forest, the Key West Botanical Garden is a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of RV life. Enjoy seeing and learning about the local flora and fauna. And, if you visit in the spring, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of birds and butterflies as part of their migration pattern.

Campgrounds and RV Parks for Florida Keys (Key West)

Due to its size and the fact that it is just a series of islands, the Florida Keys is limited on space. This means it’s also limited on campground and RV parks. However, there are several quality campgrounds to check out that are sure to meet and exceed your RV needs during your time in the Sunshine State’s very edge.

Leo’s Campground and RV Park

Park, play, relax—that’s what you’re promised at Leo’s Campground and RV Park in Key West, Florida. A family-owned campground for more than 40 years, Leo’s strives to put the guest first. RVs of up to 42’ are accommodated and each back-in campsite includes a picnic table, water, electric, sewer, hook-up, and cable. The campground also offers Wi-Fi spots, a bathhouse, and laundry facilities. 

Boyd’s Key West Campground

Just off US 1 (the main road leading into and out of the Keys) near Mile Marker 5, Boyd’s Key West Campground is as convenient as it is oasis-inducing.  Their open-waterfront view, back-in RV full hook-up sites are perfect for your RV rental getaway accommodating up to 40’ motorhomes. Your stay will also grant you free Wi-Fi, watercraft and boat rentals, a fishing pier, bike and walking paths, a game room, and much more.

El Marv RV Resort

A “5-Star Tropical RV Vacation Resort,” El Marv RV Resort in Key West puts relaxation first. With just 11 RV camping sites (six waterfronts and five non) you’ll want to reserve your spot as soon as you can. All sites are graveled with patios and offer full hook-ups with 30/50 amps. Other amenities include cable TV, Wi-Fi, and, of course, beautiful ocean sunsets.

Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA Holiday

A favorite among RVers, KOA offers pristine sites with great amenities and options. The Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA is no exception. Located on the Sugarloaf Key (island) it’s about 18 miles from the heart of Key West, but if you don’t mind staying a little bit away from the action, it’s a great choice. On top of all the traditional RV campground musts—30 and 50 amp lots, Wi-Fi, firewood, etc. the Sugarloaf Key KOA Holiday offers a full-service marina, boat rentals, an interactive dog park, and access to a private beach!

Sigsbee Campground

An army-administered campground, Sigsbee Campground is only available for service members, personnel, and sponsored guests. If you fit these requirements, it’s a great option during your Keys getaway. There are 90 RV sites available with 30 and 50 amps or between $27 and $32 a day. Amenities include a marina, car wash, access to fishing, a beach, and dump and sewer stations.

Places to Eat in the Florida Keys (Key West)

Many parts of The United States are famous for a meal or food—the Idaho potato, Kentucky-fried Chicken. Well, the Florida Keys have their very own dish: Key Lime Pie! You have to scoop up a slice of this tart yet sweet delicacy during your time in the Keys! Many of the restaurants and bakeries proudly serve up this bright green dessert made famous from the Key Limes that once grew in abundance on the islands!

Outside of dessert, the Keys are teeming with dining options. As a coastal locale, you’ll have your pick of fresh seafood options with everything from mahi-mahi and sushi to grilled salmon and stuffed crab. Dine at the famous Sloppy Joe’s—known for generous drinks, food, live entertainment, and world-famous t-shirts. And, for a nightcap, hit up Fat Tuesday bar for some of their world-famous daiquiris.

The Keys also serves up more traditional food options with plenty of bars, American cuisine, Italian, Asian Fusion, and more. Dine to your heart's content while in this culinary capital! 

The Florida Keys is a land waiting to be discovered. It is a destination not quite synonymous with RV travel, but that’s all the more reason to give it a stop to soak up all it has to offer. So, pack into your RV and begin your discovery.

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