As visitors pour into the Keys this summer, RV camping rates are going through the roof near Key West — even though hundreds of sites are coming online after Hurricane Irma reconstruction.
RV resorts at Sunshine Key and the Sugarloaf KOA are re-opening after four years of rebuilding, and the new rates at both campgrounds are almost double what they were before the 2017 hurricane.
Check out the new rates here and evaluate your options.
Veterans and active military have more options, easier and quite a bit cheaper, at Naval Air Station Key West, where the campground can accommodate 400 RVs, though only 100 with hookups.
Campgrounds are listed in the order of their proximity to Key West with the exception of the Navy’s Sigsbee Campground, which is at the end of this article.
Stock Island. Less than a mile from Key West
Leo’s is the closest RV campground to Key West, a short bike ride or a couple of stops on the city bus, and remains the best bargain. For now.
The campground is on a side street in Stock Island. It’s cramped but clean and well-maintained when we visited. Most of the sites could handle a mid-size RV, but it can be tricky because you have to back into your site from the public street.
There have been some recent changes, including the elimination of a handful of waterfront tent sites, and the bathhouse has been shut down, which means campers must use their onboard bathrooms.
RV sites have sewer hookups, 30/50-amp electric, cable TV and water. The laundry remains available to campers.
Campers have access to the canal for your kayaks and paddle boards. Pets are permitted.
- Off-season rates (May 1-Sept. 30): RV’s with full hookup are $79 and up. (2021)
- High season rates (Oct. 1-April 30): RV’s with full hookups are $98 and up. (2021)
- For reservations, call 305-296-5260 or book online at leoscampground.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Boyd’s Key West Campground
Stock Island, 2 miles from Key West
Boyd’s manages to convey a tropical feel with coconut palms, a swimming beach and waterfront vistas. There are 150 RV sites with full hookups, including 90 with 50-amp electric service and 30 sites on 30 amps. Cable TV available, and Wi-Fi is free.
The campground has restrooms and showers, boat ramp, dockage, laundry facilities and a store with limited supplies. Tent campers have wonderful waterfront views, but the sites are close together.
The campground is gated with 24-hour security. Children are welcome, and pets are OK, with the exception of Dobies, pit bulls, chows, Rottweilers, wolf hybrids and German shepherds. The swimming pool is heated, and there is a poolside tiki with a big-screen TV.
Boyd’s is getting pricey, but when the alternative is a $500 motel room …
City bus service is available, or you can ride your bike into Key West.
BOYD’S KEY WEST CAMPGROUND, 6401 Maloney Avenue, Stock Island
- Off-season rates (May 1-Oct. 14): RV, $105-$135; Tent, $61-71. (2021)
- High-season rates (Oct. 15-April 30): RV, $150-$205; Tent, $75-$95. (2021)
- For reservations, call (305) 294-1465. Web site: www.boydscampground.com. E-mail: email@example.com
Geiger Key Marina and RV Park
Geiger Key, about 10 miles from Key West
Geiger Key is far enough away, yet close enough to Key West to provide a laid-back stay “on the backside of paradise.” The sites are not glamorous, but the overall tropical setting makes up for it. This small RV park and marina is tucked away behind mangrove islands and palms.
If you are lucky enough to secure waterfront, you can keep your boat outside your door at a long dock for an additional $35 per night ($140/week; $11 per foot over 20 feet). The 37 sites are on a broad gravel base (parking lot, really) with full hookups.
You don’t want to camp here in a tent, and RV sites are a tight fit. There’s a laundry, rest rooms, a boat ramp, kayak ramp and dockage. Kayak rentals are available at the marina, and the kayaking in this area gets high marks.
The waterfront tiki bar (and smokehouse) may be the best reason to stay at this campground. The restaurant is run by the same folks who own the popular Hogfish Bar and Grill on Stock Island.
GEIGER KEY MARINA & RV PARK, 5 Geiger Road, Geiger Key (10 miles from Key West).
- Off-season rates (June-Sept): $175-$200. (2021)
- High Season rates (October-May): $130-$155. (2021)
- Special rates apply for holidays: $200-$250. (2021)
- For reservations, call 305-296-3553. Web site: www.geigerkeymarina.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bluewater Key RV Resort
Saddlebunch Keys, 12 miles from Key West
Sites in this upscale, scenic and tropical-landscaped park are RV only and privately owned, and owners make them available for rentals when not in use. Prices are high but this park outshines all others.
The park is nicely landscaped, much of it by the lot owners, and the sites are spacious. Many sites are waterfront with docks and tiki huts. There’s a boat ramp and resort-style swimming pool.
Minimum RV length is 24 feet, and all sites have water, sewer, electric (30-, 50-amp), cable TV and Wi-Fi access. No tents, no popups or truck campers. Pets OK, but no more than two. Eighteen sites are on a canal (sunsets!); 21 interior sites are in the Tropical Area; and there are 41 Bayfront sites.
BLUEWATER KEY RV RESORT, 2950 Overseas Hwy, Saddlebunch Keys (14 miles from Key West).
- Off-season rates (May 1-Sept. 30): Tropical Area, $112-$143; Canal Area, $128-$162; Bayside, $158-$200. 3-night minimum stay. (2021) Rates for Summer 2022, $121-$264.
- High-season rates (Oct. 1-April 30): Tropical Area, $160-$204; Canal Area, $171-$216; Bayfront, $187-$237. 7-night minimum stay. (2021)
- Special holiday rates apply Memorial Day, July 4th, Mini-Lobster and Labor Day with a 4-night minimum.
- For reservations, call 305-745-2494. Web site: www.bluewaterkey.com. E-mail:
Lazy Lakes RV Park
Sugarloaf Key, 14 miles from Key West
Off the radar and down a side street (Johnson Road), Lazy Lakes RV Resort is off the beaten path, offering essential services and full hookups at moderate rates.
While it’s not on open water, the RV park does have its own 7-acre man-made lake. Boats are not allow, but the lake does help boost breezes to the park’s 99 RV sites, many of which are shady.
The sites are gravel based with full hookups and 30/50-amp electric service. There’s a heated pool, laundry facility, restrooms and a clubhouse.
Nothing really special but a decent park, and it’s been there for a long time.
- High Season (12/1-3/31): Waterfront: $100-125; Off water, $90-115. Taxes and electric extra. (2021)
- Shoulder season (Oct, Nov., April): Waterfront, $70-80; Off water, $60-70. Taxes and electric extra. (2021)
- Off-season (May 1-Oct. 1): All sites are $47.50. Taxes and electric extra. (2021)
- Electricity: $3.50 per day for 30-amp service; $4.50 for 50-amps. (2021)
Sugarloaf Key KOA
Sugarloaf Key, 15 miles from Key West
The southernmost KOA in the United States is scheduled to reopen in the Fall of 2021, four years after Hurricane Irma ripped through the Lower Keys and destroyed almost everything in its path.
This resort-style campground has all the amenities, including a sandy beach, a full-service marina and pool area with a hot tub and poolside bar — and it’s all new. A handful of tent sites are available for $65 per night, and new Key West-styled cabins will now be offered.
The full-service marina has 22 boat slips, and an inlet leads from the marina out to the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, there is a restaurant, cafe, convenience store, game room, miniature golf, laundry facilities and a heated swimming pool.
SUGARLOAF KEY KOA, 251 State Road 939, Sugarloaf Key (20 miles from Key West)
- Off-season: $154 and up plus tax for RV sites with full hookups. (2021)
- High season: $165 and up plus tax for RV sites with full hookups. (2021)
- Tent sites: $65 (2021)
- For reservations, call (800) 562-7731. Web site: koa.com/campgrounds/sugarloaf-key E-mail: email@example.com
Big Pine Fishing Lodge & RV Park
Big Pine Key, 30 miles from Key West
Big Pine Fishing Lodge, long a staple in the Lower Keys, was recently purchased from its local owners by Cove Communities, and extensive upgrades are planned, including a complete overhaul of the barren “rustic” campground, scheduled to cloase for renovations in September 2021.
“Cove has planned significant renovations that will start in 2021, including bringing services to all RV sites, creating oceanfront ‘Supersites,’ and upgrading the facilities and landscaping,” the Phoenix-based company said in a press release.
The beauty of this boat-lovers’ campground is access to nearby Looe Key Reef and some fine back-country fishing.
Presently, there are 97 RV sites with full hookups and 30-amp electric (10 sites have 50 amp), a laundry, dump station and playground. Convenience store on site. Children are OK, but no pets because of the threat to the endangered Key deer.
Boat ramp and dockage, as well as boat rentals and charters, are main attraction with access to Lower Keys backcountry fishing and open-water access to the Looe Key Reef for divers and snorkelers.
BIG PINE FISHING LODGE & RV PARK, 33000 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key. (33 miles from Key West)
- Year-around rates: RV with full hookups, $87 for interior sites, $92 for oceanfront, $95 on a canal with docks, plus taxes. (2021)
- Rustic sites (Tent and RV, no hookups): $61 for interior sites and $65 for oceanfront. (2021)
- Motel rooms run $159-$199 plus tax per night. (2021)
- For reservations, call (305) 872-2351. Web site: www.bpkfl.com.
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda Key, 35 miles from Key West
This state park has top-ranked beaches, snorkeling, scenic views, nature trails, boat launch, docks and kayak trails to tropical islands. Boat tours will take you out the reefs for snorkeling, diving and fishing, or paddle into the back country surrounding Big Pine Key.
Unfortunately, the gravel campground is not that great, other than a handful of bayfront sites that are impossible to book because they are in such high demand. In fact, the entire campground is out of reach for all but the most persistent because of the low cost of a night’s stay ($36).
The Sandspur Campground for tents remains closed in 2021 and probably beyond because of hurricane damage.
Although you’ll pay quite a bit more elsewhere, you could consider booking a site at nearby Sunshine Key (expensive) or Big Pine Fishing Lodge and RV Park (moderate by Keys standards) and visit Bahia Honda with a daily pass. ($8 for vehicles, $2.50 for pedestrians and bicyclists).
Boat slips are offered in the marina for boat campers. ($2 per foot per night; min $30 per night)
BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK, 36850 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key (36 miles from Key West).
- Off-season rates (May 1-Oct. 31): RV and tent w/water and electric: $36/night plus $7 utility fee and taxes, and a $6.70 reservation fee; Cabins, $120.
- High-season rates: RV and tent w/water and electric (Nov. 1-April 30): $36/night plus $7 utility fee and taxes, and a $6.70 reservation fee; Cabins, $160.
- For reservations and more information, visit floridastateparks.org/BahiaHonda
Sunshine Key RV Resort
Ohio Key, 37 miles from Key West
Sunshine Key is an island city unto itself and one of the largest campgrounds in the Keys. The 75-acre island is surrounded by crystal-clear azure seas, accessible for boats of all sizes and shapes.
This RV resort has been completely rebuilt after it was literally wiped out by Hurricane Irma in 2017. The hurricane completely tore out vegetation, so there is little or no shade unless you make your own.
The campground reopened in 2021 with much higher rates, rising from a $78 off-season rate to $154 per night for a basic interior RV site. Waterfront sites were $201+/night and up — in September! Sunshine Key doesn’t publish its rates, but when I tried to book a site in July for August or September, those were the lowest rates I was offered online for my travel trailer. I was stunned.
This resort has all the amenities, including a grocery and marina, pool, fishing pier, basketball and volleyball courts, and planned activities for the family.
The campground also has cabins and travel trailer rentals, but the prices are so high, you may as well stay at a well-appointed hotel or on a houseboat in Key West rather than rent a cabin 40 miles away. You certainly won’t be saving any money here.
SUNSHINE KEY RV RESORT & MARINA, 38801 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key(38 miles from Key West)
- Off-season rates (April-Sept.): RV, $154-$231/night. (2021)
- High-season rates (December -March): RV, $187-$245/night. (2021)
- For reservations, call 800-852-0348 or online. Web site: rvonthego.com/florida/sunshine-key-rv-resort-marina
*Sigsbee RV Park — Naval Air Station Key West
Dredgers Key, 1 mile from Key West
Only active-duty and retired military qualify to camp here. As you can imagine, this campground is tough to get into, even if you are military.
There are 93 RV sites with hookups (water, sewer and 30/50 amp electric), 10 sites for tents and 300 sites without hookups in the overflow area, and overflow is where most end up. Townhouse and mobile home vacation rentals are also available. Only active-duty can make reservations up to three months in advance. For retirees and others, it’s first come, first served.
A retired military friend says campers have access to a very nice (but small) beach with palm-thatched shade huts and kayak rentals. Dockage and boat rentals are available at both Sigsbee Park marina and the base marina on nearby Boca Chica Key. Wi-Fi available at the base Exchange. Pets OK (up to 2).
SIGSBEE RV PARK/Naval Air Station Key West Campground, Kennedy Blvd., Key West.
* Restricted to veterans and active military personnel.
- Eligibility: Active military, National Guard, Reservists, Retired, 100% DAV, DoD Civilians, DoT civilians working for Coast Guard, NATO allies on orders to the US. Background checks on all guests; proof of insurance on all vehicles.
- Year-around rates: RV sites with full hookups, $27-$32 per night; Overflow sites with no hookups, $17-$21; Tent, $17-$21. (2021)
- For reservations, call (305) 293-4432 or book online. Web site: militarycampgrounds.us/florida/sigsbee-rv-park
Things to do in Key West
From the Editor:
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