I managed an American Express office in Chevy Chase, Md., back in the 1980s until the wealthy clients drove me crazy. One young lady returned from her trip to St.Maarten and came by to lodge a serious complaint that there were too many fat people on the beach at the resort.
They are both well-located, fairly close together.. you can tour the north part of the park from Canyon and the southern part from FB.
FB is so often described on this forum as a parking lot and it is true that it is paved. But I was surprised at how many trees surround it. Deer and Bison strolled through. It's not a wilderness disbursed camping environment, but is actually a nicer setting than some NP campgrounds we've seen.
Some folks do post here as they prepare to cancel (that's how we got a week at Pennekamp a few years ago), but it's a long shot.
You'll have better luck checking the Keys SPs online every day for the odd cancellation, even a day here and there. And once you are there and set up, talk to the ranger staff - it is sometimes possible to get cancellations at the park itself beyond that first night you booked, even for two weeks.
I'm always interested that so many people never use their awnings on class Bs. (We do fairly often.)
After a while, it sure does make sense to remove heavy or bulky stuff including table tops plus the stuff just sitting in compartments when you realize you've never used it. Great for better fuel mileage.
We have a friend with an Itasca Navion C who removed all kinds of stuff including the bed parts from the sofa. Can always go back in when time to sell.
One way to think about it is that your fifth wheel is like a condo on wheels, and you already know all the space and conveniences, as well as the work & costs involved.
But a Class B is like a car - except it comes everything you need to live inside. (Our B actually gets more miles per gallon than our friends' towed car does.)
We use the B for our second vehicle, parked next to our garage so it is obviously a hop-in-and-go scenario. Arriving and departing at campgrounds is almost equally simple, usually just a matter of plugging/unplugging a power cord. (We fill the water tank about every three days, same interval for dump station.)
Not everybody will be happy inside the small space, but to me, the convenience, ease of use, availability of campsites everywhere, and great fuel mileage make the trade-off worth it.
The downside is the cost of even used class Bs, though they do have excellent resale value. We are getting a good return for our money because we use it so much, on the road camping several months each year. If it sat in the driveway, it would be a pricey luxury.
We often stay at Fort DeSoto at the foot of Tampa Bay, and highly recommnd it, but you should make reservations now. It is a Pinellas County park and cg with many waterfront sites, since it is situated on a batch of islands in the Gulf.
Pinellas County residents get a one month lead time when bookings open (six monts out for everybody else.) I just booked for February the earliest day I could, and most of the waterfront ones were scarce. Nice park regardless - beautiful beach and interesting old fort to tour.
Welcome to the forum, by the way.
Here's the map you get when you buy tickets at the Visitor Center (this one is interactive on their web site.) Shows the roads that come into Lot #1. There are other lots served by the trolley also.
Niagara Falls State Park Map
We parked on the US side last month at the closest State Park lot to the Visitor Center, Lot #1. Two tips: pay close attention and don't get lured by hawkers into other lots you will pass on the way. You want the state park's lot, so look for State Park Parking signs.
Second tip, get there early, by nine a.m. or sooner. Shorter lines earlier anyway for Maid of the Mist, etc.
We parked at the end of the lot by the shady sidewalk and backed in, no problem. Still cool inside hours later. A nice woman in a short Sprinter Roadtrek came and backed in next to us. We returned the next day and parked in same location. Gotta love a Class B!
Yes, the park operates a green trolley continuously from point to point inside the park, not the town...so just leave the B and walk or ride over to Goat Island for Cave of the Winds, restaurant,etc. The cost is $2, but with the Discovery Pass (recommended), you get one trolley day free.
The pass includes all the attractions on the US side. The state is pumping tons of money into renovating all the facilities, and the flowerbeds, walkways etc. all looked great. Staff was friendly. Food was good at Tops of the Falls...overall, a very good experience for us.
Very easy walk from that #1 lot to the Rainbow Bridge to Canada side. You can walk over, take pictures, have coffee or lunch, etc, and walk back. Immigration very quick on both sides. As you stroll, you can take some great photos from the bridge, while dozens of drivers sit there twiddling their thumbs awaiting the clearance to drive into Canada.
If you camp at Four Mile Creek State Park 15 minutes north on Lake Ontario, your parking at the falls state park lot will be free. Otherwise, (I think) it is $10 a day.
So far. Due to scheduling, traveled in July to hot and crowded places for a couple of writing assignments, reminding me why I often prefer off season trips to family-oriented places after schools are back in session.
Went to Jamestown, Williamsburg, Gettysburg, Niagara Falls and all three of the national memorials for 9/11 (Flight 93 in Pa., NY World Trade Center new museum, and Pentagon.) Three weeks instead of our usual 8 to 10 weeks. First long trip with our Big, Black B dog.
Now some free time has opened up, so I'm contemplating other options, probably in the Southeast. Family party mid-October to plan around, along with some medical scheduling.
You probably already have this book -Along the Trail with Lewis and Clark, by Fifer and Soderberg.
For other people planning to follow the route - I bought it on Amazon in 2013, the second edition dated 2001, but info is fairly timeless. It includes the historic highlights followed by "Touring Today" sections for each leg. Included campgrounds of all sorts which helped me find some great spots to camp by the water where they also did.
Also it helped me find a number of state parks, monuments and museums that mark their journey. For anyone trying to figure out where today's roads & monuments are in relation to the L&C routes eastbound and westbound, this book has very detailed maps.
We followed their route only as far as Pompey's Pillar so have lots yet to enjoy. Gave me goose bumps to see Clark's signature and 1806 up on the rock.
X2 Grand Teton.
You also might enjoy a side trip for a couple of nights to Cody, 50 miles from the east entrance. The town has a world-class, five-museum complex called the Buffalo Bill Center of the West that is great even for people who don't usually like museums. Your ticket is good for two days, which you need to allow in order to see it. There is also the Buffalo Bill Dam just outside the town with a visitor center. Trolley Tours of Cody are fun and inexpensive - you can book one to depart from the convenient Ponderosa Campground right in town. Lots more to do, (though some things are seasonal like the rodeo, and won't be operating.)
We also live on the east coast, and made an eight week trip west a few years ago, our first big RV expedition. Some call the region we visited the Grand Circle area, or the Four Corners. At this link, you can click a PDF map.
Grand Circle Website
It was honestly one of the highlights of my entire life and we returned last summer to catch what we missed. Still things on the list to see.
I love the stunning red rock scenery and history of the area, especially Ancestral Puebloan sites like Mesa Verde, Hovenweep National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and others. Along with the Grand Canyon, there are numerous world-class National and State Parks to visit. You could easily spend a month in Utah alone where you have Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and other NPs, plus Goblin Valley and Dead Horse Point State Parks. Great camping everywhere.
If you belong to AAA, get their Indian Country Guide Map for free, or order it online (various museums & groups stock it, for example
One place to get the Indian Country AAA Map
I referred to that map constantly during our trips.
We've gone from mid-August to mid-October and had good weather. Works well if you want to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta at the end of your trip before heading back east.
First two weeks of December should be great, right before the holiday rush. I've seen availability in the Keys State Parks for that timeframe in years past.
My absolute favorite down there is Long Key state park if you can book a site. Long Key is not far from Jolly Roger.
(Jolly Roger is great if you can't get into Long Key and/or you want full services - amenities like a full hookups, pool, laundry facility, cable TV.)
Every site at Long Key faces the tidal flats so you are right on the Atlantic and can watch birds come and go - very peaceful. Check site length, some are just for tent campers. The state parks have rest rooms with showers, sites with water, electric, picnic table and a fire ring...no sewer but a dump station to use on the way out.
There is an RV park called Boyds near Key West but no parks in walking distance of town...will be tough parking a rental RV the size of an A or C in town on the street. There is some municipal parking but if I recall correctly, it is a covered garage with height limitations. Boyd's could give suggestions.
You might consider renting a car at Marathon's airport for a few days for forays to KW and dive trips.
Long Key SP. Curry Hammock SP, Penekamp SP, Pine KEY RV Park. Jolly Roger SP. There is (or was a KOA) near Pine Key. Jolly Roger is a good one at Marathon as it is 25 miles from key west and you can go both ways in the keys as use as a home base. Put Noname Key as a toursist stop and have some great pizza, see the key deer to.
A correction -Jolly Roger is a privately owned RV park, not a state park, and it is 57 miles from Key West. A nice, budget-friendly place, though more expensive than a state park.
Bahia Honda State Park is the closest SP to Key West.
All Keys state parks fill early and cost about $40 a night. Very popular for good reason.
November may still be do-able unless you are talking about Thanksgiving week, which is no doubt a busier time.
Enjoy! We go there every winter.
My previously mentioned mother-in-law died at age 100 from C. Diff. She had been hospitalized due to a leg wound and then moved to a rehab nursing facility where we believe she contracted it. Obviously at her age, already a bit weakened, she lacked the resources physically to fight it. She was a great lady, otherwise fit and very sharp.
That was 2.5 years ago, and ever since, we've read a lot of promising new treatments being developed. Good news, I'd say.
The hospital took her diagnosis very seriously. She was isolated, and all of us, medical staff and family, had to suit up in fresh plastic garb every time we entered her room and wash our hands before leaving and discarding the garb.
So much attention and money spent lately on Ebola is almost ironic when this exits in this country.
Wishing you good care and fast healing.
I think it was on this forum that I saw a post this summer where the producers of the annual RV show (airs on January 1, IIRC) were looking for people who were willing to appear on camera and planning to attend the Hershey show in order to buy a new RV. It didn't mention compensation.