Get out of the snow, volunteer at Florida State Parks

sunset looking at new bridge

Want to get out of the snow but don’t think you have enough money to snowbird in Florida for the winter?

Florida has 171 state parks and 50 of those have full facility camping.  Many parks rely on volunteers to help keep the state parks clean and campers happy.  In exchange for 20 hours a week, you can stay free in the most beautiful parts of Florida.

We recently volunteered at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys.  Since Bahia is its own island, we could walk 2 minutes from our camper to the ocean.  Had we not been volunteering, it would have cost us close to $2,000 just in campground fees at some of the locally owned campgrounds. That would greatly increase our monthly RV living expenses.

Those fees are not the norm, but other campgrounds in winter can run from $600 and upwards a month and you may be parked right next to someone that you may or may not like.

The campgrounds in the Florida State parks seem to have a lot of greenery between sites and you don’t feel like you’re right on top of each other.  The other nice thing about volunteering at the Florida State Parks is all the trails and sights you can see right from your camper.

They have many activities put on by the Rangers during the winter since the weather is so nice.  Ranger led walks, stargazing events, campfire talks and much more.  The process to become a volunteer is easy and you’ll get to work with some of the nicest people around. IMG_5093

The best way to find a volunteer position is to go online to http://www.floridastateparks.org.  If you have an area or park in mind, find that park from the dropdown list.  Sometimes when a park is really needing a campground host, there will be a posting on the front page but most of the time you will need to click the About the Park tab.

You’ll see a message from the Park Manager and further down it will have a section called Get Involved.  This section will describe what type of volunteer the park is needing and a contact number or email.

If the listing gives you a contact number or email it usually is to the Volunteer Coordinator.  Once you get in touch with them, they can give you more information on what the position details.  They’ll also direct you to fill out an application.  Here is a link to the online application.  http://www.floridastateparks.org/getinvolved/volform.cfm

To be eligible, you and whomever is staying with you at the park will need to have clean backgrounds.  It is a rewarding experience and you can escape the snow blizzards at the same time.

Resource: This is not required, but sometimes if you can be flexible with your RV spot, then it helps tremendously. In order to stay at Bahia Honda, we chose to be in the park which didn’t have full hookups. We just dumped weekly so we could stay there. For other places you might want to have a macerator in case your sewer is a little farther than normal.

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