Sometimes we make plans and book campgrounds far in advance, while other times we just wing it and don’t know where we’ll be next month let alone next week. The Florida Keys is one of those places where planning ahead is an absolute requirement, which means we’ve had plans to come here since sometime last winter when we snagged two weeks at Bahia Honda state park.
In the winter of 2015 we bounced around the Keys for two months, alternating between Bahia Honda, Long Key SP and my dad’s driveway in Big Pine Key. This year, we’re trying something a little different with two weeks here at the state park followed by two (or maybe three) months in a house rental on Big Pine Key. I’ll share the why and how of the house rental after we move in on January 1st, but for now, we are living it up in paradise.
Last time we got very lucky and snagged the best waterfront site in the park. Site 14 is situated on the corner looking out over the water and the old railroad/road bridge. The site is giant and the sunsets spectacular. This year, we couldn’t get a waterfront site and instead had to settle on site 5 near the bathroom and dump station. I was expecting it to be busy and maybe a bit smelly, but instead, it’s turned out to be a great site with only a slight view of the bathroom/dump station area. Best of all, this site is so wide that we were able to pull in on a diagonal which created a nice private yard.
The weather this past week has been perfect with temps in the low 80s during the day, low 70s at night, and a constant steady breeze that helps keep the bugs away (somewhat). Last time we were down here we had a terrible battle with the no-see-ums. Those tiny little creatures invaded our home and covered us with bites. I had some sort of extreme reaction that caused each bite to swell up and itch like mad for over a week. For most of our two-month stay, I was covered in chicken pox-like welts and spent many nights waking every few hours to reapply anti-itch lotion. For whatever reason, this time I’m not having the same kind of reaction, and while we’re still getting plenty of bites, they seem to disappear in a day or two. We also learned a few things from last time and now always have a fan blowing on us (the bugs are so small that any kind of breeze keeps them away), and always wear bug spray whenever we’re outside (they laugh at the natural stuff — must use DEET). So while there are still lots of bugs here (no-see-ums only because they spray for mosquitos) we are dealing with them much better than last time.
We’ve only been here for a little over a week and already so much has happened. We’ve been swimming in the shallow, bath water temperature water four times, walked on the beach at sunset, watched a rescued sea turtle get released back into the ocean, flew kites on the sand bar, went on an awesome kayaking journey with family and friends, rode our bikes on a portion of the old US 1, had dinner out with a group of RV friends, played bocce at my dad’s house twice, and celebrated Christmas with some extended family in Key West. Phew! All that in one week? Can’t wait to see what the next few months bring.