Fun in Florida: Top Winter RV Destination with Wander Free and Queer

RV Owners

Winter is quickly approaching in the northern hemisphere, and for many full-time RVers, it signals a time of transition. It becomes preferable to seek out a warmer destination to wait out the freezing months. Some of the most popular winter destinations for RVers include Arizona, Florida, Southern California, and Mexico. 

We made the bold decision to stay the entirety of last winter in Oregon, in our fifth wheel, and it was absolutely brutal. It took a lot of effort to keep the fifth wheel warm, despite our propane and electric heaters. Homes-on-wheels are not insulated in the same way that homes-on-foundations are. We could hear and feel the winter winds whipping right through the cracks in our slideouts. Electric blankets helped, and even the shihtzus wore fleece pajamas at night. 

On top of the cold, the snow and rain created a host of other problems for us and our camper. We experienced several leaks and therefore sustained some serious water damage that we are still trying to remedy a year later. We also had frozen water lines and even an exploding water filter. The tracks of our slide-outs became rusty and stuck over time from lack of use and upkeep. We spent hours scrubbing mold from the outside storage bays. What a disaster that winter was!

We learned a lot, and although we haven’t sworn off cold weather climates forever, we look forward to traveling to some warmer destinations when it gets to be winter in the Pacific Northwest!

Thankfully, our home is on wheels and there are some fabulous warm-weather areas for RV travelers to consider when searching for a winter escape. 

Why Florida

One top destination for RVers in the winter is Florida, and for good reason. There are over 800 RV parks in the state of Florida, ranging from inexpensive sites with zero hookups to glamping resorts with full amenities. 

We recommend becoming Thousand Trails members if you are going to be spending an extended length of time in Florida. We enjoyed camping at many of Florida’s Thousand Trails campgrounds, in particular, the well-known Orlando location. This resort was only 20 minutes from the Disney World theme parks, but we also found the campground amenities, like the pools, to be top-tier.

Epcot Disney park in Florida

Many full-time RVers choose Florida as their domicile state because it is easy to become and stay Florida residents, even if you don’t reside there full-time. Florida residency comes with the added benefit of half-priced Disney Theme Park tickets, and we enjoyed a full week of enjoying the parks at a very discounted price.

Another Thousand Trails campground we enjoyed in Florida was near Miami, The Encore Miami Everglades. From there we enjoyed many of Miami’s attractions, our favorite being Villa Vizcaya, a historic estate and 1914 mansion with formal gardens, sculptures, and grottos. We enjoyed walking the grounds and practicing our landscape photography.

Florida’s state parks also offer plenty of options for camping throughout the panhandle state. Some of the parks even offer full-facility campsites, with water and electric hookups. A few popular state parks in Florida for RVers include:

Blue Spring State Park

This state park is a must-visit destination for both campers and day-trippers. At Blue Spring you can swim, snorkel, and even SCUBA dive. There are canoes and kayaks available for rent, as well as other water vessels. This is a popular park for viewing the hundreds of manatees in the spring waters. The campground has over 50 sites and many can accommodate recreational vehicles up to 40 feet in length. 

Big Lagoon State Park

We’ve discovered during our 5 years on the road that many full-time RVers and travelers are avid bird-watchers. It can be fun to observe the different species as we travel to other parts of the country. Big Lagoon State Park is a popular destination for birders, as it is known as the “gateway” to the Great Birding and Wildlife Trail, home to more than 23 species of warbler, ducks, sand-pipers, and plovers. In addition to wildlife viewing, we enjoy night sky ranger talks as we travel across the country in our RV. Big Lagoon is one of the state parks that happens to offer nighttime stargazing talks to the community. The campground in this state park conveniently accommodates big rigs, has hookups available, and is pet-friendly.

RV parked in casino in Florida

Other Options: Boondocking, Casinos & more

If RV resorts and state park campgrounds aren’t really your thing, Florida offers yet another option for winter camping. Boondocking is becoming increasingly popular with RV travelers, and Florida is not to be overlooked when it comes to camping options outside of parks and resorts.

Florida does not have any BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands, but there are other options for camping on public lands, including water management districts, national forests, and wildlife management areas.

Some of Florida’s casinos even offer free RV camping. We had a very pleasant experience staying several nights in our Class A at Miccosukee Casino and Resort. We called a few days ahead to ensure they could accommodate our large RV, and we checked in with casino security upon our arrival. They wrote us an overnight parking pass which we were able to display on the door of our RV. The casino was right outside of Everglades National Park and we felt perfectly safe leaving the RV and our dogs parked at the casino while we went searching for alligators on one of the area’s airboat expeditions.