Looking Back: 5 Best Trips of 2013

By: Kevin Mims

ADD TO FAVORITES

At the end of each year, I like to do a little bit of reflecting on all the cool places that I've visited. Since we've been RV'ing full time, we have really seen a lot more of the state than in years past, and it's hard to narrow the list down to just five places. Being on the road has allowed us to experience more of Florida, for longer periods of time.

This year, we concentrated most of our travels on the southern part of the state, bouncing around from Florida State Park to the next. My tip to any RV'er that is traveling to Florida is to try to stay at state parks as much as possible. The experience you get and the money you'll save is fantastic.

Here's the list:

Bahia Honda State Park - This Florida State Park is as close to paradise as it gets. We stayed here for about two weeks, paddling, hiking and exploring the whole middle Keys. Sunsets? This is where you want to be. It can be a little tricky to get a reservation (that goes for every park in the Florida Keys), but if you get a spot you'll be talking about it for years.

Dry Tortugas National Park - Oh, wow. Talk about a great time - Dry Tortugas National Park is about 70 miles west of Key West, and is only accessible by boat or seaplane. On my trip, I took the Yankee Freedom III high-speed ferry, a powerful and stable catamaran that is almost as fun as Fort Jefferson itself. Once there, I explored the fort, stared at Brown Noddies nesting and vowed to come back and tent camp in the future. Hopefully that will happen in 2014.

Suwannee River State Park - RV camping at Suwannee River State Park is fantastic. You couldn't ask for a better destination to hike or go paddling. Even if you just hang around in the day use area, the scenery of the Suwannee River will blow you away. If you are looking to explore North Florida, set up basecamp here. Don't be surprised if you have a hard time going anywhere else, though.

Oleta River State Park - I never pass up a chance to visit Oleta River State Park when I'm in Miami. If you go, hook up with the good folks from Blue Moon Outdoor Center where SUP's, kayaks and mountain bikes are available to rent. Paddling through the mangroves here is too cool, and it's hard to believe that all the hustle and bustle of Miami is just beyond the park's borders. It truly is a natural sanctuary. 

Snuba at Dive Duck Key - Thanks to a goofy ear problem I can't do much diving, but a good way to get in the water and have the same experience - some would say better - is on a snuba trip. Dive Duck Key is located at the Hawks Cay Marina, so it's an easy spot to reach from all over the Florida Keys. Top notch bunch, and definitely ranks as one of my favorites.

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