Camping the Keys — Grassy Key RV Park Resort

We love the “Keys” — Upper, Middle, Lower, it doesn’t matter. We’ve enjoyed them all. Each has its own unique characteristic. We’ve found our favorite RV parks in each. In the Middle Keys it’s Grassy Key RV Park & Resort

Grassy Key is in Marathon, Florida. It’s located on the right. Look for this sign when you see Dolphin Encounters coming up on your right. There is only one turn in as the park has a U-shape layout. Depending on the size of your RV or Tow Trailer, it can be a doozy finding a place to turn around on Overseas Hwy should you miss it. The miles in between locations in the Keys can seem short but the drive time can be rather long.

Here is my favorite little duo. Along the water’s edge, they have a great little wind-down area. The place is immaculate clean down to the point of raking the pebbly sand. They have cornhole and horseshoes as well as lounge chairs and tables.

Location, Location, Location — and more! 

Some parks offer and are chosen only because of one maybe two features. Usually, it’s location, location, location. Right? If you’re going somewhere you want to be close to the very reason you are going. In this park, you’ll find fantastic location and more. Let’s get the negative downer points out of the way first, shall we? This is not a big point for me as I use the bathroom in my RV. But if you are traveling with a crew or like using the bathhouses, you won’t find one here. Grassy Key does not have a bathroom or bathhouse of any kind. It is a small campground with less than 35 sites. Personally I like this. Even though we were right in the middle of the action, we did not feel like we were in a crowd. The campground was very quiet and super friendly (as so many camper-folk are). Walking down the road in the pictures above was always with a stop at one or more RV’s or campers to say hello, share the adventures of the day, or even have a cocktail. The one super big downer of the park is this….

Check in is before 5:00pm. There is NO late arrival!

Never have I seen a campground that does not have a late check-in availability. But let me tell you when they say no late check-in, they mean it. You know the saying “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere”. In the Keys, at this particular resort, they MEAN it. At 5:05pm it is cocktail hour and no one is working. This is however the only one I have seen that does not allow you to pull in and check in the next morning. Cons are if you’re the one arriving late as you have no idea the traffic on your way. Pros are at 5:00 you are free to roam the road and know no big rigs are coming in. Adds to the quiet and seclusion of the sunset. There is an electric post on the side of the entrance as you pull in to the park where you can plug in and enjoy the campground should you be late. There is only one of these. 

Now the good stuff …

Every evening, campers would start to mingle down to the water to watch the sunset with conversations of wonder as to what the sunset would be like. I actually loved this time of the day so much. It was like a collective time of reflection and admiration for the beauty around us. I’m not sure why, but I loved the mermaid statue. I can’t tell you how many pictures I have of her. I didn’t ask if she had survived Irma because I rather enjoyed thinking of her overpowering the waves and water to stand her ground. 

If you have a boat, BRING IT! You can dock it here. A short cruise away and you’re on the Atlantic ocean. In this pic is a small boat but there was some pretty large ones also docked. I just liked the view of the water in this shot. Don’t worry about the seagrass filling up the dock. They have a reverse current system in the entrance to keep it out.

If you have a kayak or paddle board, DEFINITELY bring it! You can set out right from the campground or take it anywhere along the Overseas Hwy. There are pull offs and beaches you can launch from. This picture is taken from the dock. Around the land mass in the right is the Dolphin Discover Center. If you kayak around it you can actually see their pools. 

I failed in getting a picture of the pool. There is a small, very nice pool area. It is next to the office and hidden behind palm trees for seclusion. It is on the plain side but with the gorgeous waters of the Atlantic to compete with, how can it not be? See…I don’t even have a pic of it. 

Even though it is a small park, the sites are not crammed up against one another. There is plenty of room for slides and awnings with walking space left over. You can see our neighbor off to the left. Do please notice my wife kicked back relaxing. Shhh don’t tell her I snapped a candid pic of her. It will be our secret. In upper right pic you see our neighbors picnic table and site space. Oh yes, I had to include my little red baby. She goes where she is towed. I might even take her around town a bit when we are home. 

Bottom line, we will most definitely come back to Grassy Key RV Park & Resort. In fact, it will now be our go to spot when spending time in the Middle Keys. I’ll share a future post with activities we enjoyed around the area. 

“That there’s an RV”

Around this time last year, we bought a RV. It had always been my retirement dream but as I watched how incredibly fast my son was growing, I realized I wanted to experience these things with him before he moved off to college. I have not regretted it for one minute. Okay, that’s not entirely true. The first few weeks after purchase I woke up with two am buyer’s anxiety that was pretty wicked. 

Let me tell you–camping is not for the faint of heart!

Home on wheels in the Badlands National Park
Home on wheels in the Badlands National Park

There is a huge learning curve to everything camping. Did I mention huge? Think back to the infamous scene from the movie “RV”. You remember the one…the septic hose one. Yeah, that one. I will proudly admit I have never come close to anything like that (thank goodness!) but somehow in the delegating of duties, I became “septic girl”. As of yet, I’ve been unable to renegotiate the terms of this arrangement with my wife and my son has shown no interest in learning the skill.

With our lessons somewhat learned, we set out on our first long distance adventure. 

Grand Teton National Park

In June of last year, we left Georgia with South Dakota and Wyoming in our sites. Eighteen days and over five-thousand miles later we returned. The time in between by far has become one of my most fondest memories. I was most surprised by the difference of terrain between the regions as we drove through. That and well, corn. We should never ever run out of corn! If I had to narrow down a favorite place, I would say it was the Grand Tetons National Park. The wildlife, trails and sheer beauty were unmatched. We happened to drive up on a mama bear and three cubs. For several long minutes, we were the only vehicle on the road. Watching them was pretty darn amazing! Second was South Dakota. We loved the Badlands, Custer State Park and the Black Hills. This one was a shock to us. Things happen for a reason, you know? If it hadn’t been for the conference I attended I do not think South Dakota would’ve been on our radar for the near future. Yet all three of us want to go back! And third, I would have to say was Yellowstone National Park. I know…I know. It’s crazy. Seeing Yellowstone was my childhood dream and it falls last on the list. Don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly beautiful and interesting with it’s volatile terrain but the other’s touched a place in my soul.

Mama bear and her cubs

The trip was better than my expectations have ever taken it. The closeness of our family was more than we had experienced before. I think of our trip every time I see the commercial of the family taking off in the SUV with the aunt on the phone saying to give her flying over driving any day. Yep “what can I say, we like to drive”. The next adventure awaits…Georgia to the New England states in just a few short months. I’ve gotta get to planning!

Grand Tetons National Park

Cover photo Yellowstone National Park