Can you Boondock in the Keys?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you Boondock in the Keys? We will explain what boondocking is, give you a few essential tips for practising it and tell you where you can safely boondock in the Florida Keys. 

Can you Boondock in the Keys?

Unfortunately no, you cannot boondock in the Keys, unless you are “bold” enough to break the law. Camping in the Florida Keys is legal at any available campsite, and for those of you who like dry camping there is still good news: you can reserve a spot at an RV park that has no hookups. It is not the same, but quite close to boondocking!

Here are a few recommendations of the best RV parks close to the Florida Keys:

Curry Hammock State ParkThe closest option to boondockingThe State Park has electrical hookups but no water or sewerHighlights: the sandy beach, nature trailer, boat launch, mangrove forests. 
Big Pine Key Fishing LodgeChoose the rustic camping areaNo hookups, a picnic table, drinking areaLow price/nightHighlights: 30 miles from Key West, snorkeling, spectacular wildlife, a ferry to Dry Tortugas National Park. 
Kings KampThere are electrical hookups on site, but no drinking water or sewerHighlights: Close to Miami, jet skis and kayaks rentals. 
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State ParkChoose the rustic campsite for an experience close to boondockingYou also have the option of electrical hookups and drinking water if you need themHighlights: 25 miles of coral reef, the aquarium, snorkeling and scuba diving. 

What does Boondocking mean?

Simply explained, boondocking it’s about caravanning in total autonomy. Some people do it out of necessity; for example on a long trip, they will make overnight stops (called a “transit stop”) at Walmart or rest areas because the purpose of their trip is the destination. Others, on the other hand, do it out of a taste for adventure; they then settle where they stop, as they wish.

In fact, more and more caravanners are turning to boondock for the experience. whether it is for freedom, for necessity on a long journey, for a taste for adventure by choosing places that offer more privacy or to save money.

Who is boondocking for? Possibly for everyone. Van owners, Class A, B or C RVs, Trailers, even fifth wheelers are perfect for boondocking. 

Tips for Boondocking in the US

Free camping is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Setting up our camping tent in the middle of the forest and setting up our free camp there without having to pay for a campsite has become part of the daily routine of many RV owners. 

Here is a list of tips and thoughts for those of you who would like to try boondocking but do not know where to start:

  1. Find a place away from people: Although wild camping is illegal in some countries, that’s not the only reason we always look for remote wild camping sites. And it is that when you are traveling, your RV is your home. You need to rest without being disturbed by city noises or curious people. Sometimes you will be interested in camping near other people, such as at a fire station.

But if what you are looking for is an experience more connected with nature, we advise you to look for a well-hidden place in the forest. You will avoid stressing yourself at night with the idea that some profiteer is trying to rob you and you will achieve an intimacy that you will surely appreciate.

  1.  Avoid being seen entering the camping site: You are going to camp freely in the forest and you will be alone, but also try to prevent strangers from the surroundings from knowing where you are going to camp that night. It may seem like a somewhat paranoid thought and it is not always necessary to be so careful, but it is important to use our common sense and be cautious. 
  1. Make sure you have everything you need: Check the level of the freshwater, greywater and black water tanks, to be able to stand without a dump station for a few days. Get a feel for the energy you are using so you don’t run out. For our part, we have 200 watts of solar panels as well as a currency converter of 1500 watts in pure current. Use LEDs, as these lights require very little energy to operate.

As far as water is concerned, you will be able to be self-sufficient in 3-4 days if you are careful with the use. So we take quick showers and wash the dishes completely once a day if possible. For more autonomy, you can always add additional tanks.

Always keep canned foods, dry foods like rice, nuts, and frozen vegetables. This way if the fresh food is finished we will always have something to cook for a few days.

  1. Use apps and social media for your interests: Beforehand, get an idea of ​​where it is possible to spend the night by looking at the interactive maps on the applications.

It’s always better to know ahead of time which roads you will be taking because if you’re riding off the beaten track, it’s better to know what is around the next bend. Informing the locals (the inhabitants of the place) can also enlighten you on the best places to camp independently. 

And sometimes, a night at a campsite can be a good home base for combing an area before setting off on an adventure.

  1. Respect other travelers and the place where you camp: Just because you feel free from all obstacles, doesn’t mean you can encroach on your neighbor’s peace of mind. If you are camping near other stand-alone campers, be careful not to listen to your music until the wee hours of the morning or run your generator at full capacity. 

And when you exit, leave the location as you found it. Now is not the time to dump gray (or worse, black!) Water and leave your trash lying around. In short, it is a matter of common sense.

The bottom line

While Boondocking in the Keys may not be as easy as in other parts of North America, you can get an experience quite close to it by camping at a campsite without hookups, water or a sewer.

Boondocking it’s about camping in total autonomy. Some people do it out of necessity; for example on a long trip, they will make overnight stops (called a “transit stop”) at Walmart or rest areas because the purpose of their trip is the destination. Others, on the other hand, do it out of a taste for adventure; they then settle where they stop, as they wish. Boondocking can be a fun and safe experience as long as you follow some simple rules! 

Please feel free to get in contact if you have any questions or comments on the content. 

 

FAQ on Can you Boondock in the Keys?

Can you sleep on the beach in Florida?

In Florida, you cannot sleep along developed beaches, meaning spots where people have their homes, or in front of restaurants. Still, there are areas supervised by the Bureau for Land Management, National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service along the beach, that are great places for free camping in Florida. 

What does Boondocking mean?

Simply explained, boondocking it’s about caravanning in total autonomy. Some people do it out of necessity; for example on a long trip, they will make overnight stops (called a “transit stop”) at Walmart or rest areas because the purpose of their trip is the destination. Others, on the other hand, do it out of a taste for adventure; they then settle where they stop, as they wish.

Is boondocking safe?

Boondocking is a safe practice if you follow basic rules and take some safety precautions. If you plan on boondocking for a few days, try not to cut off all forms of communication with the outside world; let your loved ones know where you plan to camp so that help can be directed to you if something goes wrong.

What is the best RV for Boondocking?

The best RV for boondocking is Class B RVs and vans, as they are smaller vehicles and better to maneuver off-road.

References

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