Recently we spent a weekend camping in Key Largo. We stayed at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef Campground. It was a gorgeous sanctuary to spend a few days with the kiddos. I highly recommend going.
It is located on mile marker 102.5, Just about 40 miles south of the city of Miami. This huge state park had a lot to do, so plan ahead when you come here. The campsites as so cute! They are a good size. You can fit a large RV or a small tent (like we did). Each site has a picnic table and charcoal grill. The camp is a short walk from the beach, but is still tucked away behind trees and pines. Bring all your own supplies, if you do forget anything, there is a store just walking distance down from the campground.
When you aren’t relaxing on your own personal campsite by the fire sipping perculator coffee – there is a lot to explore in this park. Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities and fishing is permitted in designated areas. Visitors can enjoy walking on short trails, picnicking, or swimming at the beach. The Visitor Center has a 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium and nature videos are shown in its theater. (its also super air-conditioned if you or the kids need a little cool down.) This park is also famous for the 25 miles of undersea coral reefs and sea life. People come from all over the world to experience the wildlife on the glass-bottom boat tour, snorkleing or diving. Quite a few people brought their own snorkle and goggles, the reef and fish are RIGHT OFF THE SHORE! (TIP: There are still remnants of a spanish shipwreck just 100 ft off the Canon Beach Shore, visitors are welcome and encouraged to swim out and see the wreck)
I believe camping in Florida should be done in the “winter” (I put winter in parathesis. Hehe.) When you first arrive, the initial set up is key. If you can entertain the kids and quickly set up the tent, beds, campfire area, and outdoor kitchen area – You will be set. (TIP: have a snack and highchair or pack&play ready for the kids when you arrive. Take a moment to explore the area and show them the parameters of the campsite. Give them a chair and a snack and get to work! If they are old enough to help, put them to work too! They will feel accomplished and proud when they can sleep in a tent that they helped set up.)
My 3 favorite activities that you can do with your kids
without having to leave to campsite:
1. Nature Bracelets: Wrap your kids wrist with masking tape/duct tape with the sticky side facing out. Let them wander and gather little leaves, pebbles, & flowers. Stick them onto their nature bracelet! My two year old LOVED this one! Paper tape is the best to use for these bracelets. They are the most gentle on the skin and won’t leave behind any sticky residue.
Click Here and add some to your shopping list! – 3M Micropore Paper Tape – 2″ x 10 yrds White
2. Scavenger Hunt: This is one that you should print out ahead of time and keep handy (maybe when you are prepping and cooking meals on an open fire? YUM!) Here is a link to a real good “camping” themed scavenger hunt with pictures. Click to see Scavenger Hunt.
3. Glow sticks: Who can resist a glow stick? They are inexpensive and make for hours of fun. Most campsites are very dark at night without city lights. A glow stick while camping is infinitely more entertaining than one at home! Try it: Click to buy some Glow Sticks.
So if you are swimming, camping, hiking (see some walking pole suggestions HERE), fishing, picnicking, snorkeling or just enjoying family,
you will be a happy camper at John Pennekamp State Park.
Another interesting and useful gadget is these portable toilet for camping.
#travelette #lifestyleworthwhile #m&d&kids