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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
There is a beautiful pool and hot tub.
A marina and boat dock with dockside fuel, high pressure wash and air compressor.
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.
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!