Boyd’s Campground (Key West, FL)
On a trip like this, making the incredible drive to Key West, FL was practically a necessity. We’d have felt like we missed out on something good had we not spent at least a few days down here. And since Key West has an average low of 67 degrees and an average high of 76 degrees in December, camping was a great option to both be outside and save some cash. After searching all throughout the Keys for campgrounds, we decided on Boyd’s Campground in Key West.
The campground is located on the eastern side of Stock Island, part of the city of Key West, though not the island of Key West. It’s really hard to complain about most parts of this location. You’re within a 10 minute drive of Duval St, where all of the major Key West action happens, and from anywhere in the campground, you’re no more than a 1 minute walk from standing right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Boyd’s was actually where it hit us that we’re really on this long-term trip. We were sitting 3′ from the water, drinking some wine, and realized we’d been on the road for over a month and now we’d driven all the way to the furthest tip of the continent on our own schedule with no end in sight.
The only minor negative of the campground is that it’s right across the water from the Key West Naval Air Station and that seems to be a rather active air base. While they knock off the noise at night, during the day, there are constant fly-overs and touch-and-go practice. Making a phone call at those times will be a futile effort.
We had a primitive campsite, so there were no water or electric hookups. That meant we had to do away with the electric cooler and keep our smaller cooler stocked with ice to keep our food cold. And that basically cemented our choice that the electric cooler is the way to go when possible.
They do offer sites with either water and electric or with water, electric, sewer, and cable TV. Wi-fi is available throughout the park. It wasn’t blazing fast, but definitely got the job done.
The showers and bathrooms, which are really close to nearly everything in the campground, are as clean as you can expect campground showers and bathrooms to be. They aren’t quite as nice as those at Edisto Beach State Park, but they’re nicer than most campgrounds. Edie did note that the ladies’ room stall doors are a little short though – short enough that she could look right over the top (but luckily only when standing up!).
Our facility had 4 large unisex showers (each with its own door, so fully private) and the water was, as Buster Poindexter would say, “hot hot hot”. Edie didn’t even have to turn it all the way up, which is amazing.
Finally, there were two huge outdoor sinks that worked great for washing up dishes after we cooked.
This was yet another campground with a laundry facility and it is very nice. Boyd’s has 10-12 washers and 10-12 dryers, split across two laundry rooms, plus a table and chair where you can sit and wait. You’re looking at $2.00 for a washer or dryer run, so $4.00 total per load.
Pool & Game Room
Two other nice additions that we didn’t actually make use of were a small game room with a pool table (and 4 or 5 really old, but fun arcade games) and a swimming pool. We can’t actually tell you anything beyond that, but they are there should you want that as part of your camping experience.
And now for an ice cold dose of reality about this campground. There is no privacy. The campsites are small and tightly packed! Our campsite was wide enough to put our tent down…sideways. We moved the picnic table under the tree such that one side of it was unusable. You have to parallel park your vehicle on the road at the end of your site.
Since it was warm, we didn’t need a campfire, but there wouldn’t have been enough room for one anyway on these tiny sites without putting the tent in danger of becoming ashes.
You absolutely will hear everything that goes on around you, including when the campers 4 spots away decide to ignore quiet hours and bring their party back from Duval St at 1:30am (the first night) and 3:30am (the second night). You’ll hear the guy in the next tent drunkenly snoring. And you’ll realize that campground security doesn’t really care. Sure, they come by and give a notice that the people need to quiet down, but they don’t actually make sure it happens.
It’s a decent campground, but if you’re unlucky enough to get a party crew near you, be prepared to be woken up in the middle of the night and for security to do little about it.
A primitive site is $60/night. That’s for that tiny plot of land that fit our tent and not much else. If you want hookups, it’s $80 a night and for you RV folks, count on $100 a night to get your sewer and cable TV connections. Those are for “inland” sites (though their inland sites can still see the water). Waterfront sites are another $10-20.
Okay, so understanding that it is Key West where land is scarce and highly valued, it’s hard to argue with the price. The only real complaints are that the sites are cartoonishly small and so close together that you practically hear your neighbor fart (or perhaps it’s that they’ll hear you fart).
While I’m sure in the high season they have no problem selling out, it seems that $60 a night should get you something more than a spot where you can barely turn around twice. Basically, the price is fine given the area and overall the campground is nice, but the individual sites are kind of a joke.