I recently wrote about our approach to trip planning and how every destination we visit is someone’s favorite place. Throughout the country, we heard campers talk about a state park called Fort De Soto in Florida that was absolutely amazing – for a few, it was their absolute favorite park in the US. The park is usually booked solid 12 months in advance but after talking to some fellow campers in upstate New York, we learned that the park has a (not widely known) policy that allows for last-minute reservations (as long as you know exactly when/where to call). In the end, we didn’t just get a campsite, we wound up securing a most-coveted spot – right on the beach!! And during high-season in Florida where most campsites rent for $70+ per night, this place is ridiculously affordable at just $35/night. I can see why people love this place.


  • Community supper in Ocala: Our first night in Florida, we arrived at our campsite just in time for a potluck dinner.
  • Our campsite at Fort de Soto is so lush & gorgeous! And our own private beach to watch the sunsets… couldn’t ask for anything more.
  • Fun at the beach: we spent many days just playing on the beach – our beach, North Beach, and East Beach. BBQing on the beach seemed like a good idea until poor Neela got dive-bombed by seagulls and had her hotdog literally ripped from her hand by a seagull with a little too much machismo.
  • Collecting shells: we spent hours walking the beach collecting awesome shells
  • Sunsets: wow, I took a lot of pictures of sunsets!
  • Boating: we took our boat out and spent a couple days on the water. We found all kinds of wildlife (including sharks and dolphins) but weren’t able to spot any of the resident manatees.
  • The Mermaids of Weeki Wachee: apparently these gals are somewhat famous. We had to drive 90 minutes to get to Weeki Wachee, but the kids absolutely loved it. And I enjoyed seeing a bit of “old Florida.”
  • Movie nights: While we were here, we had a few days of crummy weather (very high winds & rain) so we broke out some great old movies to watch with the kids including Journey to the Center of the Earth (both the original version as well as the recent Brendan Fraser version) and my personal favorite: A Christmas Story. I even took pix so you can check out our awesome theater 🙂

And now, it’s time for a brief interruption in camping life, as we head off to… the Bahamas! Three cheers for last-minute cruise deals 🙂