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Stealth Camping in Florida Impossible?

Old 04-20-17, 12:32 PM
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Stealth Camping in Florida Impossible?

Hey Everyone. The ol' out of control No Control is enduring a week of no fun in the sun here at Melborne Beach. As I'm looking around, I really done see anywhere I can safely stealth camp. I will be considering a tour from Bar Harbor to Key West, and I'm exploring my options. Inn to inn will be too much money. The warm showers idea creeps me out. I'm thinking sleazy motels and campgrounds. I'd appreciate some suggestions and commentary. Your thoughts? 🤔
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Old 04-20-17, 01:30 PM
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Lots of critters that will sting and bite. Or eat you. Got a hammock? Set it up high with a bug net? FL would seem to be sweaty mess. Went there once with no desire to return, ever.
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Old 04-20-17, 01:45 PM
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I was in the panhandle of FL on a bike trip two years ago and stealth camped every night, all but one night I never even set up the tent. Wouldn't think a thing about going back. Further down south I might get a little more careful due to fire ants and other creatures as Leebo suggests but up north didn't think a thing about it

Learn to think more obscurely and don't go for the obvious locations. You can camp out right in the middle of town, without asking for permission and not get bothered overnight. You just have to watch where you camp and learn to get to bed later than most so most other people are in bed and not even thinking about you being out prowling around heading to your campsite.
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Old 04-20-17, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
Learn to think more obscurely and don't go for the obvious locations. You can camp out right in the middle of town, without asking for permission and not get bothered overnight. You just have to watch where you camp and learn to get to bed later than most so most other people are in bed and not even thinking about you being out prowling around heading to your campsite.
This ain't gonna happen. I'm early-to-bed-early-to-rise kinda guy. This makes me realize I'm just not young anymore. Things like staying up late and prowling around the bushes just aren't for me. I'm beginning to think I'll cross Florida off my list and maybe think about a southern tier ride instead.
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Old 04-20-17, 02:47 PM
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My thoughts would be that Mid to South Florida will pose some barriers to stealth camping in that it is SUCH a busy area. IDK what the camp at police station/church thing is like down there, but I bet some tour logs on CGOAB or the ACA site might be helpful.
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Old 04-20-17, 04:10 PM
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There has to be tons of wwrmshowers and couch surfing hosts along the eastern seaboard. Why bother with camping?
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Old 04-20-17, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
My thoughts would be that Mid to South Florida will pose some barriers to stealth camping in that it is SUCH a busy area. IDK what the camp at police station/church thing is like down there, but I bet some tour logs on CGOAB or the ACA site might be helpful.
I agree, Juan. I think I will have to simply put motels and campgrounds in my budget.
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Old 04-20-17, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
There has to be tons of wwrmshowers and couch surfing hosts along the eastern seaboard. Why bother with camping?
Warm showers and staying with strangers is right out of there for me. I'd rather take my chances with the snakes and the rats and the spiders and all the other cooties.

Florida sucks. If I had the cash to buy a house right on the east coast, so that I could walk right out my front door to the beach it'd be cool. Anything else sucks.
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Old 04-20-17, 04:44 PM
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Stealth camping in Florida can be challenging but I've found many also. You've gotta get off the main roads, away from the shore-line, between towns. I never wait till dark, late afternoon or early evening is what I do. I just look for a place where its secluded.

On tour I mostly stealth-camp but, I will mix in pay-sites, of which there are many in FL. I look to average out my costs. It's sad that they wanna charge the same $35 to one-guy-over-night-in-a-tent the same as family in an RV, but that's the way it works. Pay once every 3-4 nights is $10 average...not too bad.
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Old 04-20-17, 08:38 PM
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Don't stealth camp in gator country.
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Old 04-20-17, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
...a week of no fun in the sun here at Melborne Beach.... Your thoughts? 🤔
wuzzit you actually wanna do?
day rides from one location?
a loop back to where you started?
or regular point a to point b?

your location sez nyew haaamshuh....heading back there by chance?

you gots amtrak that runs up the coast from florida to new york.
you could take a short train ride north to a spot that's cooler and
less humid.

maybe ride between two stops along the blue ridge.
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Old 04-20-17, 10:37 PM
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Lotta folks seem to like the Keys ride. Map shows a good handful of campgrounds, the Keys are so crowded that stealth spots seem unlikely, might get eaten by bugs anyway. Keys have tons of motels but sometimes can be tough to find a vacancy. BTW Bal Harbour is the worst spot in N Miami area for bikers (unless they've changed things recently): main street has fast speed limit & narrow lanes but no bike lane. Rode on the sidewalk & got a warning ticket.
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Old 04-21-17, 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
wuzzit you actually wanna do?
day rides from one location?
a loop back to where you started?
or regular point a to point b?

your location sez nyew haaamshuh....heading back there by chance?

you gots amtrak that runs up the coast from florida to new york.
you could take a short train ride north to a spot that's cooler and
less humid.

maybe ride between two stops along the blue ridge.
I'm speculating a Bar Harbor to Key West tour, and simply trying to see where I need to spend money or where I can save it.
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Old 04-21-17, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
This ain't gonna happen. I'm early-to-bed-early-to-rise kinda guy. This makes me realize I'm just not young anymore. Things like staying up late and prowling around the bushes just aren't for me. I'm beginning to think I'll cross Florida off my list and maybe think about a southern tier ride instead.
Florida is part of the Southern Tier, so you won't be avoiding Florida if you ride the ST. That said riding the ST across Florida is almost all very rural with widely spaced towns and millions of acres being used to farm pulp wood. It would be easy enough to stealth camp most if not all of the time with no need for rolling in late.

I recommend that you go in a Feb-Mar timeframe if doing the ST. That is when I rode the ST and it seemed the best time to find cool temperatures with longer daylight hours than late fall and early winter. I had one bitter cold night on a pass, frost quite a few nights and temperatures that reached at least the 50s every day. I did see a little snow on the roadside a couple times on passes, but none on the road. If the passes do get enough snow to be an issue it usually melts in a few days. Having a little extra time in the schedule for that is probably prudent.

I wouldn't worry much about the gators, but be careful of the fire ants and plan for protection from mosquitoes. Also there are venomous snakes, but you probably won't see any and I wouldn't worry much about them.
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Old 04-21-17, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Florida is part of the Southern Tier, so you won't be avoiding Florida if you ride the ST. That said riding the ST across Florida is almost all very rural with widely spaced towns and millions of acres being used to farm pulp wood. It would be easy enough to stealth camp most if not all of the time with no need for rolling in late.

I recommend that you go in a Feb-Mar timeframe if doing the ST. That is when I rode the ST and it seemed the best time to find cool temperatures with longer daylight hours than late fall and early winter. I had one bitter cold night on a pass, frost quite a few nights and temperatures that reached at least the 50s every day. I did see a little snow on the roadside a couple times on passes, but none on the road. If the passes do get enough snow to be an issue it usually melts in a few days. Having a little extra time in the schedule for that is probably prudent.

I wouldn't worry much about the gators, but be careful of the fire ants and plan for protection from mosquitoes. Also there are venomous snakes, but you probably won't see any and I wouldn't worry much about them.
Darn good advice. Thank you. The southern tier in winter would probably be best for an old Yankee like me. I have lived in the South (Fl &Tx) for a total of 7 years as a GI, so I'm familiar with the flora and fauna. I just never camped out in it.
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Old 04-21-17, 06:09 AM
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I have stealth-camped in FL but picking a location is key. I have had luck near some highway exits--a convenience store, a couple motels, and some space between and behind where no one goes. That way you can use the store restroom and sneak into the hotel pool for a wash in the very early morning. Otherwise ... not too easy to find a spot, but if you are really low-key ...

I wouldn't bother with a tent, just roll out a tarp and the sleeping bag---more "crashing" than camping---no "campsite." Roll on to some other area to relax and spread out for a meal or whatever. Save your sleeping hole for sleeping.

EDIT--Everything staehpj1 says.

If you avoid the heavily urban sections, there is a Lot of land in Florida where you can do anything you want. And at the right time of year the insects are more subdued and the weather is perfect. Then there are nine months of summer.

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Old 04-21-17, 11:22 AM
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Old 04-21-17, 12:23 PM
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You might be stealth to other human beings, but snakes and gators have superpowers.
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Old 04-21-17, 04:38 PM
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4 deaths by alligator in FL since 2010. I'm not worried.

What not to do:

Woodward suffered severe trauma to a limb and was drowned by an alligator that attacked him at a marina in Orange County, Texas. Warning signs had been posted after the alligator had been spotted in the water, but Woodward ignored the signs and his friends' pleas not to swim; he reportedly taunted the alligator before jumping in.
source


Sadly, as always, your REAL predator while out there touring are MOTORIZED-VEHICLES!

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Old 04-21-17, 05:24 PM
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Stay at the Bahia Honda state park on Big Pine Key it iis really nice. Watch out for the key deers
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Old 04-21-17, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Semipedersen View Post
Stay at the Bahia Honda state park on Big Pine Key it iis really nice. Watch out for the key deers
+1 very stunning! No stealth there though. And the state campsites are PRICEY! I found another single to split the cost.

from my 2008 tour:



It's true:


but I was going slow and never saw any

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Old 04-21-17, 07:07 PM
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I found a roadside picnic table somewhere along route 1. Stopped at a church in Ft Lauderdale, but there was a homeless guy on every corner of it and decided to keep riding. Found two churches on Key Largo, one I got the creeps about and the other had an already asleep cyclist and so I settled for that one.

For non-stealth, Long Key and Bahia Honda were wonderful, the latter being expensive. Long Key had a covered wooden platform and small beach. Bahia Honda had some wonderful beaches. I ended up spending 3 days at Bahia Honda when I planned for only 1.
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Old 04-22-17, 05:16 AM
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Old 04-22-17, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
4 deaths by alligator in FL since 2010. I'm not worried.

What not to do:


source


Sadly, as always, your REAL predator while out there touring are MOTORIZED-VEHICLES!
For every gator death, there are probably 1000 injuries, at least. Probably tens of thousands of attacks that went unreported, because no one was hurt. Just something to think about while lying awake in your tent at night.
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Old 04-23-17, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
For every gator death, there are probably 1000 injuries, at least. Probably tens of thousands of attacks that went unreported, because no one was hurt. Just something to think about while lying awake in your tent at night.
Have you ever heard of a single case where a bike tourist was attacked by a gator? Or a case where someone sleeping in a tent was? I know that I haven't.

Much of the country has some kind of critters you could worry about. If you start to worry about touring where there are gators, venomous snakes, bears, boars, moose, bison, elk, wolves, coyote, or whatever, you might as well stay home.

I figure that motorists are the biggest risk pretty much where ever you tour, but I don't worry all that much about them either.

Touring in Florida, or elsewhere, just isn't that dangerous of an activity.
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