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  1. Default Rapid City, South Dakota to Key West, Florida

    Hi everyone, I'm planning a trip from Rapid City, South Dakota to Key West, Florida, this summer. I'm driving a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria which gets 24 mpg highway. These are the cities I am planning to drive by:

    Rapid City, SD - Pine Ridge, SD - Alliance, NE - Omaha, NE - Kansas City, MO - St. Loius, MO - Memphis, TN - Birmingham, AL - Jackson, MS - New Orleans, LA - Mobile, AL - Jacksonville - Daytona Beach - Orlando - Tampa - Miami - Key West, FL (roughly 3300 mi)

    I'm planning to sleep a lot in the car and in cheap motels. I'm either driving solo or with a friend. I have roughly 5-6 weeks to complete the trip. Do you have any suggestions to where to stop on the way?

    I like scenic drives, famous landmarks, small towns, diverse culture. I'd like to experience different types of local foods, music, and people.
    Last edited by rt88; 12-07-2010 at 12:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO

    Default One way or round trip in 5 to 6 weeks?


    Can I suggest camping instead of sleeping in the car? I know a Crown Vic is a big car, but you really can't get a good night's rest in a car. It's not safe (or legal) just to pull off the road and sleep. If you do sleep in the car, do it at a truck stop with permission and give them some business - buy a tank of gas, food, shower, etc.

  3. Default

    Usually on road trips I sleep every other day in the car, It's big enough to lie down sideways (front bench seat) and get an OK night of sleep. Usually I do this in truck stops or rest stops. I haven't seen many camping grounds around outside in state parks and such. Is it really illegal to sleep in your car if it's parked in a regular parking space?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Sleeping at Rest Areas is illegal in most states. Its mostly a safety issue as these are usually fairly out of the way places, that often don't get a lot of police patrols, and their location along a freeway provide a quick getaway for those who'd want to take advantage of someone sleeping in a car.

    In towns, you're going to have different regulations for overnight parking, but again, if you're in a neighborhood and people see someone sleeping in a car in front of their house, it wouldn't be unlikely to get a knock on your window from an officer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    State parks are usually the best for finding campgrounds, and they are usually a lot cheaper than commercial campgrounds. Many commercial campgrounds also don't allow tent camping, they are solely for RV's.

  6. Default

    any ideas for places to stop on the way?

  7. Default Dry Tortugas National Park

    Why not go further than Key West?

    Hop a ferry and head to Dry Tortugas National Park, explore Fort Jefferson freely on your own, and snorkel the crystal-clear waters off the beach. It's 70 miles out to sea and a full day trip. If you're really adventurous, you can camp there several nights.

    note: Check weather conditions and ask about current snorkeling conditions before you go. If there are really high seas and high winds you might want to pass. Usually, it is fine.

  8. Default

    That looks really exciting! Thanks for the tip! But I'm not sure I have the money for a $150 ferry ticket. If I had the money I would probably also check out Bimini ($275 plane round trip from Ft. Lauderdale)

    I'd like to check out animals like armadillos, snakes and alligators.

  9. Default Cost of camping in the Keys

    Quote Originally Posted by rt88 View Post
    That looks really exciting! Thanks for the tip! But I'm not sure I have the money for a $150 ferry ticket.
    Yeah, it's not cheap for a daytrip. However, it might make more sense for a camping trip.

    The cost goes up to $180 for a ticket, but you can camp three nights for $3 per night! Now, their website mentions the 3 night (4 day) maximum, but you might contact Yankee Freedom and see if there are exceptions. I believe that the park itself allows visits up to 14 days, but the 3 night limit is theirs. But even 3 nights (4 days) is a great experience.

    Be aware that camping in the Florida Keys is expensive. I paid over $80 per night for a tent site at a KOA! The State Parks are costly too. Bahia Honda is the crown Jewel of the Florida Keys, but it runs about $40 per night for a tent site, and you need to reserve these months in advance. If you consider that 3 nights will run you around $120, then the Dry Tortugas trip looks much more affordable!

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