Saturday, March 01, 2014

You’re Never Going To Believe What we Did!

 

We love spending our winters here in the Florida Keys. 

Someday we might decide to winter out west somewhere, but from what I’ve seen on other blogs, most of the places I see look to be a little too chilly and windy for us.   Unless you are in southern California where Rick and Paulette are, the weather seems too “iffy.”   It might be since we’re Floridians and aren’t used to cold weather, but even if the daytime temps are in the 60’s or 70’s, those 30’s and 40’s at night are too cool for us.  We love the Keys in the winter.

We have been very happy here at Sunshine Key Rv Resort the past few winters, and we’ve managed to stay here very inexpensively.  The campground is definitely not the 5 star resort that management wants it to be.  Most sites have no trees or  buffers between sites and the rules are definitely not enforced, but the people are nice, there is a lot to do and the location couldn’t be more convenient, and we’re in the Keys!

We are within walking distance to two beautiful fishing bridges, there is a nice marina to launch our boat, and we are able to keep the boat on our site.   Like most campgrounds in Florida in the winter, most of the people here are older.  Not too many wild parties around here.   The site has no “it” factor, but hey, we’re in the Keys in the winter!

The biggest problem is when the summer residents start arriving in April.  They come in droves, putting up “compounds” on their campsites. Apparently, they split the cost among several families, and there will be 3-4 trucks, several golf carts and maybe a boat or two on most of the sites.  There is loud music, golf carts racing around, trash strewn all over, and general chaos.  When the summer people come, we leave.   The good thing about the summer residents, is that while they can leave their rv’s  and compounds set up all week long, they are only allowed to actually be here Friday through Sunday.  Come Monday, it’s quiet and nice for a few days, but on the week-ends, forget about the beach area.

Sunshine Key has been extremely busy this winter and in fact we’ve never seen it this crowded.  The 400 sites here have been completely booked most of the winter.  It seems that all the campgrounds here are more crowded than usual.  Since it’s becoming so popular, we’re afraid we won’t be able to get a reservation through Thousand Trails next year, and we don’t really want to pay the $6375 for 3 months or $7524 for 4 months.

So…..we decided that while we were here this year, we would look around and see if we could find an RV lot to purchase.

We were initially looking for a piece of land where we could park an RV, but unfortunately the zoning laws do not allow that. 

We didn’t have any hope of purchasing a waterfront site, but we figured if we could find any lot in the Keys, we would make it work.

Our next thought was to look for a nice RV park that had deeded lots.   Of course there is Bluewater Key Rv Resort,  but unless you have a spare half million, you can’t buy much there.   There are certainly some beautiful sites there though.  

How would you like to winter on this site?

Wow    Review of Bluewater Key RV Resort  Florida Keys  FL   TripAdvisor

 

There is another RV park called Breezy Pines, but the lots are small, the roads narrow and tight for a larger rig. Not for us.

 

Twenty-eight years ago, we came down to the Keys for a dive trip and rented a little mobile home on a canal in a park called Venture Out.  It’s located on  Cudjoe Key, which is in the lower Keys.    Al remembered the park, so we decided to drive by to see if they had any RV lots for sale.

It turns out there is a security guard who won’t let you in unless you live there, or have a Realtor, so we couldn’t even get in the gate. 

Long story short, we found a Realtor, gained access to the park and  after much looking, stressing, and angst, we put a bid out on an RV lot.

The owner of the lot countered our offer, but in the end, we couldn’t come to an agreement on that lot. 

Water front or canal lots were not in the budget, and there are not a lot of “dry” (not on the water)  rv lots for sale.

It took some searching before we could find one that was suitable and large enough.   We fell in love with site 296.  It wasn’t directly on the water, but it overlooked the open water, and had a gorgeous view.   However, it was out of our budget, so we reluctantly looked elsewhere.  This picture didn’t really capture the gorgeous view, but trust me, your view out your front window is spectacular.  We will likely live to kick ourselves for not owning this lot, because I’m sure it will appreciate a lot over the next few years.

 

Lot 296 Venture Out

This next picture was taken on the balcony of the house next door to that lot.  Can you see what I mean about the gorgeous view?   Those channel markers take you right out into the Atlantic.

view from deck next door to lot 296. VO

After much searching, we made an offer on lot 611.  The owner came back with a very good counter offer and we accepted.  Closing is set for March 14.

It’s a small lot,  not on the water, and no shade, and nothing fancy, but it’s in the Keys, and it will soon be ours.

The Real Estate market here in the Keys took a big hit when the housing market tanked a few years ago.  We feel the lot is about as cheap as it will ever be, so now is the best time to buy.   We would have absolutely no trouble renting the lot in the winter, but it will likely sit vacant most of the summer months.  We may be able to rent it out during lobster season.  We shall see.

Venture Out is not strictly an Rv park.  It’s called a resort community.  There are some tiny old mobile homes, some half million dollar waterfront homes on stilts and some rv lots.

The small old mobile homes are being demolished as they come up for sale, but there is still a pretty good rental market for them. 

None of the lots are very big, but some have some big views.   Ours isn’t one of them with the big views, but we can actually see the water on two sides!  

This  next picture is of Venture Out from Google earth.  You can see we are surrounded by water.  The yellow marker is where our lot is.

 

Venture Out

Venture Out is on the Atlantic side, at mile marker 23. We are close to Key West, but pretty far from the Sunset Grill. :(

We have a tenant through the end of March, so we won’t be able to move until they leave.

The lot next door is an RV lot that’s usually vacant.  We don’t have a lot of privacy, but we’re hoping a few plants can help that some.  It’s the best we could do with the budget we have, but we think we’ll be happy there.

Here is is.  Excuse the garbage can that is out of it’s cubbyhole.

Venture Out 611

 

Venture Out 611

The site is on a quiet street in the park, away from the pool and marina.  There are tons of amenities, including this beautiful saltwater swimming area.

 

saltwater pool at Venture Out

There is a beautiful pool and hot tub.

venture out pool

A marina and boat dock with dockside fuel, high pressure wash and air compressor.

Venture Out

There is also an onsite convenience store, tennis, bocce, pickle ball and basketball courts.  There is a clubhouse with free internet an “adult club” that you can reserve for parties and get-togethers. 

There are a lot of interesting activities including a boat club.  You can join the tennis club for a minimal fee and get free tennis lessons. 

There is no real beach as in most of the Keys.  There is a seawall around the park protecting it from the surge from the Atlantic. 

This next picture is where we plan to have some happy hours.  This looks like sand, but it’s actually gravel.

Venture Out "beach"

 

About 10 miles out into the Atlantic is Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.  I’m sure we’ll do some diving there.

There are VERY strict association rules, which we were initially of some concern.   Now that we’ve seen how Sunshine Key Rv Park has become, by not enforcing rules, we understand and appreciate the strict enforcement.

Once the tenants leave on April 1, we will move in to our new RV lot in the Keys!  

42 comments:

  1. I am not one bit surprised. I knew it when I read your title. :) Congrats!

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  2. Do the hoa rules exclude planting bushes and trees? Ours does. We are limited to one page of plants we can plant. No palm trees--get too big and fronds falling would endanger the other homeowners. Anyway the site looks very nice. I am jealous as I live 2 hrs inland from the coast.

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    1. We can plant whatever we want, other than invasive species, but since the lot is so small, I don't think we'll be planting much. We can plant coconut palms, but if you don't trim the coconuts off every year, they do it for you and bill you.

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  3. Congratulations! I am happy for you. Just hope we'll be able to find something when we start looking.

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  4. Very, very nice. I especially like your selected spot for happy hour. Congratulations. Enjoy your little bit of heaven on earth.

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  5. Congrats...it looks like a nice place to chill out...or warm up;o)) We are having no luck getting a site in the keys for next winter already. Let us know if you want to rent it out:o))

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    1. We will definitely be renting it out but probably not when you want to come since we'll be there!

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  6. As soon as I read your title had a clue just knew thats what you did. Looks like you will enjoy you new home in the Keys.

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  7. Congrats! And, yes, you are right...the Keys is the warmest place to winter. We lived in Marathon for 10 years. Even when it was "cold" in Marathon, we were still the warmest place in the country (usually). We winter in AZ now. We love the desert...but if you want warmth...head to the Keys!

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  8. You're becoming real RV Land Barons! Mucho congrats, I think that was a very smart move. :c)

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  9. Congratulations! Sounds like you got just what you were looking for.... wishing you many, many happy hours there!

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  10. Congrats....that spot looks just perfect for you guys!

    The Keys are probably the only place I'd choose to spend the winter instead of Palm Springs (maybe...)!!

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    1. Vancouver Island to Cudjoe Key.....boy would that be a long drive! In fact, just for fun, I looked it up and its over 3700 miles! Tell you what Rick, if you come, we'll let you stay a week for free!

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  11. Congrats! Looks like a good spot to spend your winters, that's for sure. Is there room to store boat while motorhome is there too??

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    1. Yes, there are 2 options. One is an overflow lot that we will have to pay $120 a month, and a regular lot that we have to get on the waiting list for. It is only $200 a year. The wait is about 3 years! We have a plan B though

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  12. Awesome! This looks and sounds fantastic. You two are becoming quite the real estate moguls! We will be looking in Florida or California for something similar. We love rules and having our own spot of heaven!

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  13. Making it "your" home with plants etc, will make you even happier. Congratulations

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  14. Congratulations! Lots in the Georgia Mountainsand the Florida Keys....can't get much better I'd say!

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  15. Beautiful choice! Happy days and good health in your new "home" -

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  16. Wow, a place in the keys! Will your travels now be mainly between your lots in the Keys and Georgia?

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    1. Yes, and Tampa. My Mom lives there and is elderly, so we don't feel comfortable getting too far away. If at some point we decided not to winter in the Keys, we will rent out the lot.

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  17. Love your blog. Wish my husband would love RVing as much as I do. If my health were better, I'd take off. It is so much fun following you.

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    1. Thank you. I don't recall ever seeing a comment from you. Don't be a stranger. I love hearing from the people who read my blog.

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  18. Your new lot looks great, and in such a beautiful area. Now you're set - winter place, summer place. Some day when I'm tired of moving around so much I hope to do the same thing. But probably in AZ or NM if I don't have a place in California. Congratulations - and many happy cocktails in that beautiful place by the sea. :)

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  19. Congrats you guys. That looks like a really great spot for you. And it is so nice to always have your own spot to go to. You are really going to have fun.

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  20. Karen, Please email me at millsnj1245@yahoo.com.

    I am trying to contact you about your Georgia Lot and the email I have for you is incorrect.

    Thanks, Nancy

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  21. Congratulations! What a great place to buy a lot! :)

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  22. Looks like you are totally set now. Summer and winter taken care of. I knew it from the title. Will you still keep your spot at Quail Run? Or just move from the Keys to the Mountains? Sure sounds nice.

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    1. We are trying to figure out something else, but for now we'll probably need to keep the spot in QR.

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  23. Congrats guys! I know you will enjoy your lot! How long before you get a golf cart and hot tub? Huh Al?!! Haha. Let me know when you get back to Quail Run and we can visit!!

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  24. Congratulations! Will this mean we will see less of you in the mountains? I think KW would be great year round if you have your own place!

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    1. No, we'll be back in the mountains as much as we can. We love it there as much as we love the Keys.

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    2. I envy your options. We are headed to RE on Thursday. Hoping not to find any ice damage. Will look over your lots too and let you know if anything needs attention.

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  25. We are very happy for you. I am so glad you found something. You are all set now :)

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  26. So wonderful that you found something in the Keys! Looks great. I also was hoping there was a place for your boat as well, so plan B is a good one hopefully. You are definitely the RV Land Barons of Blogland. RVLBB sorta like PDD?

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  27. Just found your blog. The Keys look lovely; we've never ventured that far South.

    I imagine the harsher than usual winter is pushing people down to Florida who would normally be happy to stop in the Carolinas or Georgia. I'm not surprised you described Sunshine Key as more crowded than usual.

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  28. The mts in the summer & fall, in the Keys winter & spring! sounds good to me. ENJOY.

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  29. Nice spot Karen…what's the market price for something like what you got down there. We've sent the last couple of winters in North Fort Myers…but I could see us moving winter quarters to the Keys if the price wasn't too bad.

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  30. congratulations..you definitely have a piece of heaven there!!!! enjoy

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  31. Congratulations - looks good to me! I hope you have many happy, sun-shine-filled days on your new lot.

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  32. Wow now you'll really be able to enjoy yourselves when you are down in the Keys. Congratulations!
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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