Urban Camping

It’s not cheap to stay in Miami in February. What with all the snowbirds and events like the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. But we were determined to cheer on the Canes baseball team the final weekend in February as they hosted the Gators, without spending a fortune.

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With no state park campgrounds in south Dade, John found a county park, Penny and Larry Thompson Campground. The reviews looked good and he remembered his aunt and uncle camping there in the ’60s and ’70s so we decided to give it a try.

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For $17 a night (tent site), we paid less for our two night stay at Penny & Larry Thompson Campground than the daily $35 parking fee in Coconut Grove where we usually stay. And with nearly 300 sites, a community center, pool, showers and a laundry, it provided more facilities than we needed.

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We set up in the area designated for tents in less than thirty minutes and then we were ready to hit the road for a night of baseball.

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The campground is carved out in a residential area, and while it’s a little farther west than we’d like, at such low rates, how can you complain? We won’t be camping here in the summer months, but we’ve already scheduled another three days at Penny & Larry Thompson Park in April.

Cape Florida: A Piece of Old Florida

A trip to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park combines many of the best things about Florida.

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First, the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County, the nearly 100 year old lighthouse on the cape overlooks Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic. Unfortunately, we arrived too late for one of the twice daily tours…a good excuse for a return visit.

The bike trail leads to the Lighthouse Cafe and Boater’s Grill, two restaurants offering authentic Cuban fare, as well as to picnic areas with pavilions and grills. Dream of boat camping in the bay.


Sit on the seawall and fish or watch the boats sailing in Biscayne Bay. You may even encounter an iguana or two.


Then head out to the beach. Swim. Rent a chair and umbrella to enjoy the perfect South Florida weather…can’t think of a better place to spend a December day. Warm and sunny.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park another of Florida’s jewels.