Where oh where did the summer go? I feel like the kids just completed summer camp and here we are starting up homeschool this week. Living on an RV has a way of speeding up time. When you live a month-at-a-time at an RV campground, those four weeks fly-by in an instance.
At least the short summer didn’t prevent me from knocking out one of my least favorite RV tasks. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I really dislike charting course and reserving campgrounds. I’m a terrible planner and have very little patience.
The adventure begins in Indianapolis, IN. This is our current home base for visiting family and servicing the RV up North. It has many Interstate highway crossings earning the moniker of ‘Crossroads of America’.
We’ll be spending the fall in Florida this year beginning with a visit to Lazy Days RV in Tampa for some custom work we need completed on the RV. We’re not Lazy Days shills, but we really do enjoy the service and sales people at the nation’s largest RV dealer. When we purchased our RV, it qualified for Lazy Day’s Crown Club, which is just an upgraded version of their service department. We get free meals, access to the pool and full hookups while on-site. Their front desk is always so super helpful, making reservations a little more tolerable.
Lazy Days is 14 hours away from Indy according to GPS. I don’t like subjecting my wife and kids to more than 5 hours of driving at a time – yes, we travel in an RV – but we are strict on safety belt usage and potty breaks so the trip to Tampa will take us roughly 3 days to complete. For single night campground stays I don’t usually make reservations, because we just don’t know what roadblocks are ahead. Sometimes we’re fast, more often we’re slow. Same-day overnight stays are usually pretty easy to obtain anyway, but there’s stealth camping at Wal-Mart if worse comes to worse. I tend to use the Good Sam App for finding overnight campgrounds when we decide to call it quits for the day.
As soon as our service needs are completed in Tampa, we’ll head off to the most magical place on earth: Walt Disney World Resort. Because we decided to do this RV lifestyle full-time, we chose Florida as our home state and thus purchased the discounted Florida-resident Disney Passholder deal. This gives us access to all 4 major Walt Disney World parks Monday thru Friday, excluding the busiest weeks in summer as well as Christmas. It’s a perfect deal for a family of five that spend most of the year in Florida.
Our Disney trip will have us staying on-site at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. This isn’t the cheapest campground in the area, but it is the highest-rated RV resort in the state. It’s clean, has second-to-none customer service and well, it’s Disney! We’ve stayed at Tropical Palms Carefree RV Resort – a popular nearby campground – but we cannot recommend it for young families. The process of making reservations at Disney is made easy through their robust on-line reservation system, but for stays longer than 2 weeks (for any WDW hotel) requires calling-in and ugh…I’m not a phone call kinda guy. They were pretty nice people though!
We’ll then hit the road again heading toward the Florida Keys! This is one trip that’s been on our why-we-wanted-to-fulltime list for quite some time. It’s very difficult to get reservations during the fall and winter because of the snowbirds, but we scored the last remaining spot during the week of our visit. We’ll be staying at the highly-rated Bluewater Key RV Resort. I wasn’t impressed by the level of difficulty getting my calls returned nor the requirement of sending half the reservation by check through postal mail, but still happy we’re completing a bucket item. Pro-tip: follow us on Instagram for what should be some awesome photography!
Our final stop in Florida will be on the white sand beaches of Destin. Lindsay and I spent part of our honeymoon here and now we cannot stop coming back. The sand is just amazingly soft and the water is emerald green. In the final weeks of fall, crowds die down and beaches become much less crowded but still offer warm conditions. It’ll take us two days to travel from the Keys, so maybe we’ll overnight near Disney again! We’ve chosen the Destin West RV Resort as our home before the holidays. The resort was able to accommodate a long stay and were extremely helpful over the phone. We have family in the area and cannot wait to share some cocktails on the beach!
And that just about wraps up our trip to Florida this fall. I can’t say I like making reservations or plotting the course, it’s all too confusing and stressful. When you’re shy over the phone (and in person) it makes it all that much more difficult. But living on an RV takes planning (find a decent calendar app) and patience. Those are two skills that I’ve struggled with but thankful to have met head-on. Full-time living is not short of it’s challenges, but they will make you a better person.
Image courtesy of Bluewater Key Rv Resort