King's Kamp -- Mile Marker 103.5, Bayside

Just pure dumb luck landed us at King's Kamp in perhaps the best camping spot on the whole island. On this trip to Key Largo, we were pulling our little 15-foot RV, and had no reservations for a place to stay.

About an hour north of Key Largo, I just picked King's Kamp at random from a list of campgrounds I had made before we left home, and was able to make a reservation for that very night. This trip was kind of loosey-goosey in that we just said "Hey, let's go to Key Largo." So we took off without any definite plans.

I made an initial reservation only for a night or two, figuring we could leave the place if we didn't like it. Long story short, we loved it, and ended up staying 11 nights there--right on the water! I mean, we snorkeled less than 100 feet from where we slept. If you're a water rat like I am, it doesn't get any better than that.

Snorkeling in the bay, beautiful sunsets, balmy breezes. We loved it.

Located at Mile Marker 103.5 Bayside, King's Kamp has 55 RV sites on the water, plus some limited motel and efficiency accomodations.

And, if you have a boat, you can tie it up there for an extra $10 per day --right there where you see the boat fenders. And yes, there's also a boat ramp on the premises.

King's Kamp boat slip
A Place to Tie Up Your Boat

No RV? Not to worry. King's Kamp also has a dozen or so sites for tent camping. Tent campers have access to water and electricity, plus there are facilities with rest rooms and hot showers. But with only one single rest room for men and one for women, these facilities are limited. That's the only drawback. Normally, the rest rooms are available, but with too many people, the shortage could be a problem.

Tent camping at King's Kamp
Tent camping at King's Kamp

Besides the overnighters or those staying only a few days, some people live year-round at King's Kamp. Others keep a permanent site, but just come for the week-ends. On Thursday or Friday, they make the trek down from Miami to escape the urban rat race. Still others are snowbirds--winter residents only--coming from places as far away as Quebec to enjoy some mild weather and winter sunshine.

Key Largo Sunset
Sunset view from King's Kamp

Mostly, it's the same folks that return each year. A sense of neighborly community builds among these folks, and I'm told, they often gather in the evening to enjoy a sundowner and the setting sun.

We met all sorts of people here--doctors, engineers, tradesmen, teachers--you name it. One man who owns a business in Miami told me "Here we live like millionaires (he was referring to the waterfront, beautiful weather, great sunsets, boat slips, fishing, docks, snorkeling, and more) for a pauper's price."

King's Kamp entrance

While the people are friendly and enjoy socializing, King's Kamp is definitely NOT party central.

"Tranquilo" is how one Cuban man described the place to me. That word generally means it's peaceful with no crime or other unruly disturbances.

A road in King's Kamp

Key Largo may have some things you're not familiar with--like crocodiles. Not alligators, mind you, I'm talking pointy-snouted, toothy, genuine crocodiles. The Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is less than five miles from King's Kamp. Many people don't know that Florida has crocodiles, but about 2,000 of these reptilians live in deep south Florida. That's up from only 200 or so 30 years ago.

A road in King's Kamp
Welcome to Florida

The American crocodile that inhabits Florida's mangrove shores is--according to the experts--not nearly as aggressive as those of Africa and Australia. In fact, they are reputed to be quite retiring. People swim daily here with no problem. We swam there with no problem. But we were aware. And you should be too.

Welcome to Key Largo

A View of John Pennekamp Beach

Christ of the Abyss

SCUBA diver on a Key Largo Reef

Sign warning we play Jimmy Buffet music

A quaint Key Largo cottage

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