Ron and Hazel's 'Travels with Nuggie' travel blog

Make your winter reservation early, the 28 campsites fill up fast!

The campsites are well laid out, with plenty of room.

Hazel liked this campground the best of all in Florida.

Some beautiful boats come through the locks.

Boats can tie-up and stay at docks with water and electricity.

Solid picnic tables with roofs that only the government could afford.

The Corps of Engineers Dam at Franklin

A good place to fish in brackish water from the Gulf.

My gas barbeque grill saw a lot of action on this trip.

Morning fog so thick you can't see the dam.

"Located on the Caloosahatchee River section of the Okeechobee Waterway, W.P. Franklin Lock Recreation Area has a tropical atmosphere that provides an excellent setting for visitors to camp, swim, fish, picnic, boat, or enjoy hours of quiet contemplation. Visitors can view manatees, abundant bird life, and watch boats locking through the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam as they travel the Okeechobee Waterway."

The History of the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam

Being a bit naïve, Hazel and I noticed there were two "walk-on" sites open at this campground, and drove in about one in the afternoon to claim our spot. "Oh, they were taken early this morning", the lady said. Nothing was available, and when the next vacancy would come up was unclear.

So, we drove into North Fort Myers to spend several days at Tamiami RV Park. With perhaps 300 RV spots, all lined-up and a few feet from next, Hazel thought we were camped in the back lot of an RV dealership, and hated it. Talking to my new neighbors, I was a bit amazed how much they liked it there. The couple behind us, in a magnificent diesel pusher, were spending their third winter in that very spot. That poor motorhome looked like it would be much happier on the road.

Then, a few nights later, I went to the Corps of Engineers reservation page at and discovered an opening at the Franklin campground the following day. I reserved it immediately, charging the $15 senior discount to a credit card, and the following morning Hazel and I traveled the 20 miles to the camp.

That night, I checked the website again, and saw that a "walk on" was available for the next two days. The next morning I was at the ranger station bright and early to lock them up. Now, we were spending 3 days here. Great.

Running out of reservation on the morning of the 4th day we drove to the Seminole Indian casino in Immokalee for two nights, and again, luckily found a two day vacancy online again at Franklin, and back we traveled the 40 miles. Two days later, on Wednesday, January 13th, Hazel flew back to Minneapolis on Sun Country Airlines for scheduled dental work, leaving me alone with dogs. Luck kicked in again, and a couple a few spots down told me they had to leave early and go home for a family medical emergency. They had six days left on their reservation, and I was able to get it.

So, of the 14 allowable days a year, I had been able to use 12 of them at the senior rate of $15 a day. What a deal. The next time we are planning a Florida trip, I need to schedule 14 days here, and well in advance.

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