Where can you find six-toed cats, fun in the sun, and rich history while being surrounded by a tropical paradise? The Florida Keys, of course. We decided it was the perfect spot for a nice, weeklong vacation. We booked the Sugarloaf Key KOA almost a year in advance and excitedly waited for what would be our longest camping trip yet, both in distance and duration.
Our towing setup is a bit unique. Our tow vehicle is a Tesla Model X, a fully electric SUV. This makes for an interesting adventure when it comes to towing our rig to far off destinations. When towing with an electric vehicle, we have to overcome certain challenges that fellow campers using a more traditional tow vehicle don’t have to consider—and planning our route is essential.
The Model X has great towing capability, but it impacts the car’s range. A nearly 300-mile trip would typically need only a single charging stop. But because we tow our Winnebago Micro Minnie, this trip required three charging stops before reaching our destination. We use EV-centric apps that account for the increased energy consumption that our vehicle experiences when towing and automatically routes us to charging stations along the way. We also utilize Tesla’s onboard energy and usage graphs to further plan our route and keep an eye on our current consumption rates.
Another logistical challenge we face on a recurring basis is the need to drop our camper in order to charge our vehicle. While the Tesla charging network allows one to easily traverse the country without worrying where to find their next charge, the majority of charging stations are set up for backing in to charge. In addition to identifying the charging location, we also need to scout out the location on Google Maps to find a safe, convenient spot to stow the Minnie Winnie.
Cats, dogs, and coastal views
With our furry companions in tow—our German Shepherd, Sigmund; our corgi, Penny; and everyone’s favorite diabetic cat, Stella—we embarked on our meticulously planned trip. With all three charging stops requiring us to disconnect the trailer, the pups got plenty of time to stretch their legs. By late afternoon, we were hooked up, set up, and ready to relax and take in the spectacular views from our campsite.
This southernmost KOA was recently reconstructed after hurricane Irma, and the updates are outstanding. The campsites are landscaped beautifully and many of them have a view of the water or, at the very least, a short walk to shore. As expected with any KOA, there are plenty of amenities offered to keep you occupied for your entire stay. Campers can enjoy the pool, rent a watercraft, or sit on the beach and take in the sights. Since we never miss a chance to paddle around on a nice day, we brought our own kayak for exploring the waterway and tiny mangrove islands.
Visiting Key West was a highlight of the trip and made for some of our favorite experiences. From the campsite, it was only a short 30-minute drive. There are several historical museums to choose from, the most famous being the Hemingway House. This was top of our list for an obvious reason: cats. The polydactyl felines roam the grounds of the writer’s old abode, and many of them are friendly enough to pet. Other highlights included climbing the Key West Lighthouse, learning about history at the Key West Shipwreck Museum, and watching the sun set at Mallory Square.
Too good to say goodbye
We were able to enjoy some of the local fare while at the Southernmost Point with lots of seafood and, of course, some Florida Keys rum. We even took a stroll down the strip while drinking out of a coconut and a pineapple.
It was difficult to leave the Keys and apparently there’s a name for that: The Key’s Disease. We made the last-minute decision to book another day to stay in paradise a little longer. It was worth it because we were able to see the famous Key deer (an endangered species that only lives in the Florida Keys) and enjoy libations at establishments with and without names.
When the time came to finally head home, we retraced our steps back to Hobe Sound, stowed our camper, plugged in our EV, and reminisced about the time we had. This vacation was by far the most memorable camping trip we’ve had and we can’t wait to visit again.