March 17, 2012

C B SMITH PARK in Pembroke Pines, Florida

We were lucky enough to get reservations at C.B. Smith Park campground for Spring Break and lucky is a great to start with this review! We are about 1 driving hour from our hometime of Miami, Florida, and this is such a great spot to camp. There are 71 RV sites all surrounded by lakes, and about 10 - 12 tent sites.

First I'll start off with the amenities, as there are so many to list. This is a huge - big parkj, and on the side of the park is the RV area. With that being said, they have a fantastic family water park here that has an area for toddlers, and another area for the older kids and adults. There is a lazy river you can float around in tubes, and they also have two humongus mountain slides as well. It is $9.50 per person for the day, and if it rains and they need to close, just hold onto your receipt and you can get back in later when the weather clears and they re-open if that is the case. A family can easily spend all day there, and they have food and drinks on site that are very reasonable (hot dog $2.50, lemonade slush $3.00, pizza, sodas, pretzels, etc. They also have $1.00 lockers. We spent two afternoons there of hte 4 days we were here due to weather, and just having lots of sun.

One can also rent paddle boats here, there is golf and mini golf, tennis courts, two playgrounds, several pavallions and many places to fish all over, including fishing piers. There are also jogging paths, and dogs are welcome. Many restroom buildings through out, and this is outside of the RV park area.

Inside the RV park area, the RV spots are really spacious, and enough for an RV, a dolly, and at least 2 vehicles. A nice area to spread out. They have paved concrete with picnic tables at each TV site, a grill and picnic table. There is also light posts and a few bath houses. The bath houses are clean, and each seems to have a few toilet stalls, 3 shower stalls, and 1 sink. Yep, a little skimpy on the bath housees, but they are clean and in working order.

We've been fishing, at the playground, the water park, and met some really great people here! I need ot mention them by name, as we hope to camp in the future with Tim, Samantha, Alex and Brianna again real soon! We just really enjoyed their company and many laughs the one night they were here. We also have family close to the area, and invited them over for dinner one night too.

The three of us agree that this is one campground we will be coming back to again real soon because there is so much to offer to Campers.

February 25, 2012

OKEECHOBEE KOA in Okeechobee, FL

This was our first camping trip in our recently purchased pre-owned RV. We were very excited and it was the 3rd camping trip for our 7 year old daughter Ashleigh. We chose this campground because it seemed to have a lot of activities that were family oriented. Yet, we quickly found out that wasn't so.

They do have 3 pools, one for families and two for "adults only". They do have a nice size playground for kids, and a basket ball hoop - not really a half court. They do have mini golf, but you do have to pay a nominal fee, yet it wasn't well taken care of. They also have 1 ping-pong table, a post office on site, a great little store that sells everything you could think of and they make fresh sandwiches and sell ice cream too.

This place is the "largest KOA campground and it also has tennis courts, a bar & live music for adults, a 9 hole golf course, and many permanent residence that are seniors. If you are a senior, you'll be in heaven, because you are catered to in every way here.

Families stick to their own pool and playground area which is right next to each other. Your kids are not too welcomed to be seen by others in other areas. It was obvious to us that even though kids and families are welcome, they are very limited. I think we saw maybe 2 children (grandchildren) the entire 3 day weekend we spent there.

They do advertise "fishing", but the only water to fish from is on the golf course, and we found out we weren't allowed to fish from the golf course. Regardless, there are NO FISH in the canal or mini lake. Yet they do have a lot of fake wooden ducks that look real.

GOOD POINTS: The place is very big, very clean and extreamly well maintained. The bath houses had air fresheners and complimentary blow driers. The staff is very friendly and helpful. We did take a very long walk to Lake Okchobee about 2 miles away and fished there from the pier.

We won't be coming back as a family, but I would once we retire. We were hoping to sit out side and listen to the live music and have dinner together. The band play inside the bar/lounge (good size), but no kids are allowed, so tht didn't happen.

December 10, 2011

Lion Country Safari Campground

In November 2011 we rented an RV from Cruise America and drove from So. Miami, Florida to Lion Country Safari KOA campground in West Palm Beach, FL. It was our daughter's 7th birthday choice to rent the RV and her first camping trip.

The Lion Country Safari KOA campground was a great place to stay and we enjoyed it for several reasons. First it is an excellent place for "families" to camp at. They have a nice heated pool, a big playground, a basket ball court, shuffle board, and a KOA store full of anything you would need. Secondly the Lion Country Safari Park is right next door, and if you camp at the campground, you get up to 4 FREE PARK TICKETS FOR TWO DAYS. This is really good since you can easily make it a two day outing.

 Lion Country Safari now has 2 parks in one, if you haven't been there in a few years. I hadn't since I was a child. The drive through safari is great, and it's true the earlier you drive through, the more active the animals are. You are given a CD to put in your player which explains the areas and animals you pass. There are dozens of different animals to see, and they do cross in front of the vehicles. Let it be known we drove through in our RV. My advice, go as slow as you want and need to. The lion area is the only area "fenced in", but it is a big area and you can see in it from all sides of your car. 

The second park is a combination of a zoo where you can feed the giraffes, and take a boat tour of their monkey island, mini golf, kid rides, and at the end of the 2nd park is a huge splash park for the little ones. Needless to say we did both parks on two separate days.

At the campground there was a hiking trail, people biking around and we saw many couples too. We actually came back to this park again to camp 6 weeks later in tents. The bath house was always very clean and so were the grounds. We think because the parks are right next door, there are lots of families here and if that is what your looking for (which we are), this is one good campground for the kids too. Oh and another GREAT reason to check this place out is because it is probably the only place where you can really hear the lions roaring in the early morning hours, every morning. It doesn't matter where on the campground you are, you'll hear them. That is really cool and we never got tired of it and we heard them both times we camped there.

While camping here, we had a couple of day visitors, Michelle and Damiano. They rode through the safari with us, we did both parks, and they stayed for dinner. We always enjoy camping company!  

Hope this is a good summary of the campground and if your family is up for camping with our family in South Florida, email us!


December 1, 2011

Our History...

1990 in our 1st motor home
IN THE BEGINNING: My husband and I during our dating years camped every weekend from our boat, in tents and taking lots of friends to various little islands around South Miami, Florida and the Florida Keys. Eventually we bought our first used motor home and towed the boat. Since then we sold the boat and the motor home, got married, bought our first house all within a couple of years.
Back in the day: Camping with Friends 1991
  We were doing well with money in the bank and basically had everything we needed. We were by no means rich, but lets just say we were comfortable. 
  After our 10th year of marriage we moved into our 2nd home. We actually decided to have our first and only child after 13 years of marriage and being together over 16 years. It was time, life slowed down for us. Our daughter was born in 2004.

AMERICA HAS FALLEN: Once the economy tanked and our country fell apart, we had to become very conservative with everything. To this day neither of us have had a raise in over 4 years, but we're grateful to still be working.  Now we are very frugal with the cost of everything going up except for our pay, and we are very choosey on how we enjoy the little time off we have.

CAMPING - RVing WITH A TWIST:  Needless to say we found ourselves on the weekend doing the usual cleaning, mowing the yard, hanging out in our pool, and going to lots of birthday parties. At this point we've been through ballet, soccer, gymnastics, hip-hop, and now we're an involved Karate family. So this is where we're at now, in February, 2012.
  November of 2011, our daughter didn't want a 7th birthday party and wanted other options. We offered her Disney again, Bush Gardens, or camping. She jumped on "camping" and we were thrilled. We decided to rent an RV for a week this past November 2011. We stayed at the KOA campground at Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach, FL. We had such a great time at the campground and the 2 parks at Lion Country Safari next door, and so did our Daughter. She met so many new kids from various places, learned new things, and totally enjoyed the "camping experience" at the campground.

: My husband and I were hooked all over again. For the next two months we searched for a used RV on our tight budget that was in good condition and ran good. This was not an easy combination to find!
  We're happy to say in February 2012 we just came back from our first camping weekend in our RV. She's new to us, a 1997 Fleetwood 30' Bounder that runs great and in really good condition. It was hard to find her, and we looked at a lot of junk RVs, over-priced motor homes that weren't taken care of, and some we only wished we could buy. This motor home has everything we needed and wanted, and great for us to start new memories in as a FAMILY now.

  Our daughter is  hooked; loves to fish, learning to ride her scooter around, meet kids at the playground, basketball court, helps with prepping grilled dinners and likes just walking around the sites and hiking paths.

  We really look at this investment as "family time" for the next 5 - 7 years with our daughter before she starts to really have her own social life. We plan to take several long weekends each year within Florida, and maybe a full week during the holidays and school breaks.

2012 Camping in our RV at Lake Okeechobee, FL
So this is a blog of our journey as a family now, our opinions of different So. Florida campgrounds and other adventures along the way. We hope to meet up with others that share in that same "family camping", wholesome, outdoor fun in the sun, campfires, laughs, and a little wine & a few beers along the way.
Andy & Alyse Feb. 2012 Chilling at Okeechobee KOA
Alyse & Ashleigh heading out to our 1st Camping adventure 
in our newly purchased Fleetwood Bounder RV