Last updated on September 22nd, 2023 at 08:18 pm
If you can access military bases, you are going to want to learn about camping on Key West! There are now three camping areas on Key West for anyone who can use military campgrounds, which includes active & retired military, reserve & guard, disabled veterans, and DoD civilians.
Watch the video below or read on to learn more about these fabulous options for your next camping adventure in the Florida Keys.
Military Campgrounds on Key West
The campgrounds are:
- Sigsbee RV Park – Combination of 93 full hook up sites and a few hundred dry camping sites open year round.
- Trumbo Point – All dry camping and only open seasonally from mid-Oct through April.
- Truman Annex – New Deluxe Waterfront Sites.
We’re going to focus on Sigsbee since that is where we stayed and where we plan to stay again. Sigsbee is basically a housing annex for Naval Air Station Key West. There are two different RV and tent camping areas here.
When we were there winter of late 2019/early 2020, you had to rotate between dry camping and full hook-ups. It was known as the Sigsbee Shuffle, but it no longer exists. Now you make a reservation for one or the other. No rotating.
We would definitely go back even if we had to dry camp. They have a large dump station, several potable water fill stations, and a bath house and laundry. You can run a generator during the day, although it has to be a quiet one.
And of course, the thing we love about staying on bases is the commissary and exchange. In this case, since it is an annex and not many people live there, it is pretty small. Still it had everything we needed. There was also a 13’ tall car wash, a dog park, fitness center and outdoor track, a marina, and a bar & grill.
Another major change is how long you can stay. The maximum stay for Sigsbee & Trumbo is 90 days. After that, you have to be out for 60 days before you can return. The new Deluxe area at Truman Annex has a 1-week stay limit.
Key West Activities
There are so many great activities for everyone around Key West. Whether you like dining, drinking, sun bathing, swimming, fishing, or touring historical sites, there is something for everyone.
One of the best things about these campgrounds is that they are close enough to ride your bike everywhere. We only took the truck out of the campground once during our entire stay.
Tour the house that the author Ernest Hemingway lived in during the 1930’s and its grounds. I especially liked all the six-toed cats (polydactyl) that have the run of the entire estate. They are all descendants of Snow White, a six-toed cat that a ship’s captain gave to Hemingway when he lived here. Fun fact: polydactyl cats are considered good luck to sailors. They were a common sight on long ship journeys because they made excellent mousers and had such good balance.
Little White House
This home was Truman’s vacation home every November–December and February–March. It was originally the commandant’s home of a naval submarine base. During his visits, Cabinet members and foreign officials visited regularly for fishing trips and poker games. Today regular guided tours take visitors through the site, and one can enter the rooms where the Trumans lived, worked and relaxed. Items such as President Truman’s briefcase, books, telephone, and his famous “The Buck Stops Here” sign are still at his desk.
Duval Street and the Key West Historic Seaport
If you are looking for shopping, dining, or drinking establishments, then Duval Street and the historic seaport have plenty of options. My favorite was Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shop where they have the best key lime pie on a stick! It is coated in chocolate and probably the best dessert I’ve ever had. Historic Seaport also has charter boats and other water excursions.
Dry Tortugas National Park
The highlight of our trip was a visit to Dry Tortugas National Park. It is only accessible by private boat, the ferry, or seaplane. We opted to splurge on the seaplane — after all we were saving by staying at the base campground — and it was worth every penny! You get more time on the island where you can explore historic Fort Jefferson, snorkel, and sunbathe. They even have overnight tent camping if you’re up for it.
Where to Stay on the Way
If you’re looking for other great military campgrounds to enjoy on your way to Key West (Florida is a big state), consider these:
- Blue Angel Naval Recreation Area has a wonderful campground just outside of Pensacola, Florida.
- MacDill Air Force Base has a large campground right on the Tampa Bay in central Florida.
- Patrick Air Force Base has waterfront camping near Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Learn More About Military Campgrounds
Read our complete guide to military campgrounds to learn more about who can stay, what type of campgrounds and amenities are offered, and more.
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