Big Pine Key? Ohio Key?
I had a comment saying that this rv park is actually not on Big Pine Key, but on Ohio Key.
I had wondered about that because looking at a map made me think it was another key (island). The mailing address however, is Big Pine Key.
Where ever we are, we have really enjoyed our two weeks stay here. We have enjoyed it so much that we’re already planning a return visit towards the end of March. Our Thousand Trails membership doesn’t let us make reservations further away than 2 months, so we can’t book anything yet.
The plan is to try and stay 5 weeks. It’s a long way to come for just two weeks. We can only stay 2 weeks at a time with Thousand Trails and then we need to be off one week. We’ll figure something out.
Sunshine Key Rv Resort is in a great location in the lower keys. It covers the whole island/key and sits between two bridges. There is a walking/fishing bridge on both sides of the campground. You can watch the sunrise from one side and the sunset from the other. We spent a lot of time just walking around the campground looking at sunsets or sunrises.
We launched our kayaks from the marina and the beach. We could have stayed right here and been entertained.
The map below shows us at Ohio Key. You can see we are very close to Bahia Honda State Park.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the Keys haven’t changed too much since we first came here in 1983.
There are very few chain restaurants, grocery stores or fast food restaurants. Most of the businesses are locally owned. There is no Walmart!
The closest big grocery store is in Big Pine Key, about 5-6 miles away.
There is one way in, and one way out, via US 1. In the event of a hurricane, it can be a long drive.
There are no parking meters (except in Key West) and you can park along the highway just about anywhere you want. If you want to put your kayak in, no problem. If you want to fish, there are many old bridges converted into fishing bridges. Most of Florida now have beach side parking meters. You cannot park overnight in the Keys though, so no free rv camping. You can however, park your rv all day long if you find a nice site along the water.
They make it real easy to enjoy the water and there is no charge. We like that.
The biggest change we noticed was underwater. When we first came here in 1983, we found wonderful dive sites in just 10-12 feet of water. The next few times we came here, we started noticing a layer of silt covering everything. It’s still that way today. I don’t know where all the silt comes from, but you can see it covers just about everything. I haven’t dove off shore for many years, so I don’t know what the reefs are like, but silt is not good.
We have seen very few (like 2) colorful tropical fish. That is not normal. I think the Keys have suffered from too much development.
But, the kayaking is still beautiful. The water is crystal clear and calm. We had hoped to do some snorkeling right from the beach on our kayaks, but we haven’t seen much worth getting wet for, at least close inshore we we have been. We’re still looking though! You can go on snorkeling trips offshore to the reefs for a “small” fee.
Okay on to Sunshine Key Rv esort.
There is virtually no privacy between campsites. There are very few trees and not much shade.
This is our site number 160. It’s plenty wide and long enough. It definitely has no “it” factor, but it’s all about “location, location, location.”
We can launch the kayaks from the campground. From that launch, we can either go into the Atlantic Ocean, or the bayside. We can paddle under two large bridges connecting the island/key to the other islands.
We are about a mile from Bahia Honda State Park. There is great fishing right from the campground. There is a marina where you can dock your boat or go out on dive, snorkel or fishing charters. There is a bait shop on the property and a gas station/convenience store next door. A large motor home could actually fuel up with gas or diesel.
The snowbirds that are here have been coming for many years, and they all know each other. They are very friendly and have a lot of activities. There is something for everyone.
The following picture shows the entrance. There is a big area to park and unhook. When entering the campground, you go through a gate and go down a pretty good incline. A little scary the first time.
The next pictures show one of the waterfront sites.
The Florida Keys are proud of their sea grasses because they are very beneficial to the marine life. It’s against the law to remove sea grass from the beaches. There is a lot of it and it doesn’t make for beautiful beaches. The Keys are not known for white sandy beaches. That’s okay with us because we’re not much for sitting on the beach anyway. We’d much rather be out in the water.
The next photo is some campsites along the bay side of the campground.
This is what the campground looks like from the water.
This is where we launched our kayaks. We went to the right and were in the Atlantic Ocean. Left is bayside. You can kayak all the way around the key.
There were quite a few open sites after New Years week was past.
Some people rent sites annually or for several months. They make the sites “their own.”
Some times it is not a good thing.
Most of these sites look okay, but there are a few that need to be reigned in a little. People who come to the Keys tend to stay a while and want all their “stuff.”
The next are waterfront sites facing the marina. There is a nice view, but a lot of activity.
Cabanas for rent and sale.
The pool is beautiful. There is a poolside snack bar that is open for breakfast and lunch. We never did eat there. They have fish fries on Friday nights.
While the camp sites didn’t have the “it” factor, the area certainly did. We love the Keys and could easily see ourselves spending the whole winter here….if we could only afford it!
We spent today cleaning up, packing up and readying for our trip back to Tampa. We are going to brave the bad part of Highway 41 and head back to Midway campground again…hoping for a site.
We loved the Everglades and decided to spend another night on the way back.
We are planning to go to the Tampa Rv Supershow one day this week and see if we can find some bargains and some free camping.
We sure are going to miss the Florida Keys!
Here are a few pictures from last nights Kayak sunset paddle.
Yep, we’re going to miss this place.