Florida GO Gathering MLK Weekend ~ Imagine!
Imagine it being cold, windy and there is a blizzard outside your window.
Maybe it's one of those below zero days where everyone's talking about flying down to Florida to get a break from the cold..and while everyone seems stuck in their common routine, it's your turn to offer up what you're doing...
"I'm going camping in Florida with over 80 gay men!"
Yeah. When it comes to bragging rights, it's hard to top a camping weekend in warm and sunny Florida in winter with a bunch of gay outdoorzy men. Sharing your photos of this event afterwards will inspire envy of everyone who did not attend. It's all about GOing Outdoors and Making New Outdoorzy Buddies in a safe, comfortable atmosphere.
The Florida GO Gathering welcomes gay outdoorzy men of all ages and abilities to it's tropical forest at Vitambi Springs Resort near Lake Okeechobee and the city of Clewiston, FL. There are a number of hiking trails and a couple of lakes within the property, for impromptu hikes, fishing, canoeing, exploring and wildlife viewing.
Amenities at the Main Lodge feature a full restaurant and bar, Wi-Fi access library lounge and a general store. Other amenities include a heated pool, modern showerhouse and steam room.
Vitambi Springs is a membership resort serving primarily gay men. Gay Outdoors members will receive the required Vitambi annual membership as part of the general cost of camping at Tamaho Mesa, which will be $25 for the entire weekend. However, if you prefer not to camp, and to make other arrangements, such as renting a room at The Inn, a modern cabin, house, or any of the other available options mentioned, you will have to make these arrangements separately, and the cost will be more, depending on the accommodations. If you are interested in making other arrangements, check the Vitambi website for cost and availability of these sites, or by calling Vitambi Springs directly at (863) 983-8488.
Members will be running trips all weekend. We'll have nightly parties at the Bongo Bar, outdoor bonfires & campfires, swimming in the resort's heated pool River, and stargazing with telescopes. Dinner will be at the resort's restaurant, Bolo Café, and has a good variety of standard options and nightly specials. They are open from 6-8pm.
We have also arranged for a $50 meal package with Vitambi, which includes three dinners, two lunches, and three breakfasts. This is entirely optional, but highly recommended if you will not be cooking meals at your site, as the nearest restaurants are in Clewiston, approximately 20 miles away. The Bolo Café restaurant at Vitambi has a good variety of standard options and nightly specials. They are open from 6-8pm and may be able to accommodate later arrivals with advance notice. It can also accommodate vegetarian preferences, but please let the restaurant staff know in advance.
So if you are new to the Group and looking to engage in our activities, join us! Stop by Friday night, introduce yourself, have a drink, participate in organized games, hang out by the outdoor patio firepit, and enjoy eclectic music. Then, on Saturday & Sunday, join our activities and most definitely ~ come to our Bonfire.
Check out GayOutdoors' wintertime camping trip in Florida!
Why limit this to all your imagination? Join us this summer at the GO Gathering, January 15-18.
The group campsite we have reserved is Tamaho Mesa, one of the “primitive” campsites at Vitambi Springs. This western-themed area consists of several large tent sites, in both sunny and tree shaded locations as well as 5 rustic cabins. These are indeed rustic cabins with no power, screened windows, and 2 bunks with outdoor mattresses in each cabin; however there is floor space to sleep more than 2. As a GO Gathering participant, you will be guaranteed a camping site at Tamaho Mesa, though please note that individual tent sites or cabins will be on a first come first saved basis. Water and flush toilets are available at the campsite; however, the pool area shower house is a short walk away. Vitambi Springs runs a R.O. water treatment facility producing exceptional quality water. Amenities at the Main Lodge feature a full restaurant and bar, Wi-Fi access library lounge and a general store.
Vitambi is a privately owned gay campground located approximately 20 miles south of Lake Okeechobee and the city of Clewiston, FL. It is easily accessible to most of the major urban areas in Florida, and it is approximately a 90 minute drive from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, and from West Palm Beach. It is about 2.5 hours from Orlando or Tampa.
The campground sits in the middle of the vast agricultural area around Lake Okeechobee, and offers an ideal Florida rural getaway with modern amenities in a tropical forested setting. The property is quite large with only a portion developed.
This is an action packed weekend suitable for all, designed to have a bit of everything to give you a chance to try something new or to just enjoy your favorite outdoor pursuits. As we did at the last Gathering, we are trying to make arrangements with the Audubon Society for a visit to one of the wetland restoration projects in the area. At the first Gathering we were given permission to visit the STA-5 area which is a haven for permanent and migratory birds. And, if we are lucky, we may get permission to visit a more restricted site where a flock of flamingos has been seen wintering for the past few years.
Within a half hour drive of Vitambi there are numerous venues for activities such as an airboat swamp ride at the near Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, or hiking/biking on the scenic trail around Lake Okeechobee. There are also hikes to do inside Vitambi Springs, and there is always the heated pool, if you simply just want to chill our for a couple of hours.
Fancy doing something different during the weekend? Don't waste it shopping ~ escape from the city and join GayOutdoors' GO Gathering.
WE NEED TRIP LEADERS TO MAKE THIS EVENT SUCCESSFUL! POST YOUR TRIP ON THE WEBSITE AND MENTION IT'S PART OF THE GO GATHERING. We need trip leaders to organize a number of activities for different levels of fitness. After all, Gay Outdoors is an all volunteer organization, and the success of this first Florida GO Gathering depends on your willingness to participate, and have fun. We'll have a message board setup at the campsite if anyone wants to run a last minute trip. Everyone appreciates it when a member steps up and runs a trip for the club! If you need help planning/posting a trip, contact us. It would also be great if someone will setup a volleyball net since this is fun game to play with a group.
If you don't live nearby make this a mini-vacation and take the extra time to explore the area.
Florida members say it is THE event to attend. The GO Gathering is where we gather to make new outdoorzy buddies and catching up with friends. Every year we enjoy good food, friends, and outdoor activities...every year our group gets a little bigger.
We have made a lifetime of friendships over the past few years, so let's say "HELL YEAH!" and celebrate! We will GO Gay Camping nearby from the the beautiful Everglades Big Cypress Seminoles like there's no tomorrow!
If you have heard of GayOutdoors and wondered what sort of stuff we are up to, then this is your ideal first event as there's such a wide range of daytime and evening activities available to try.
The Bongo Bar will be our central headquarters for the weekend. The bar is a fun place to be on Friday evenings where there are organized games, outdoor patio firepit, eclectic music and a good opportunity to meet the other guests in the park. Upon arrival, check-in at the reception desk in the Main Lodge; this will include a brief park orientation and directions to your campsite. We will have someone at the campsite to greet you and help you select the best location for setup. As a GO Gathering participant, you will be guaranteed a camping site at Tamaho Mesa, though please note that individual tent sites or cabins will be on a first come first saved basis.
If you want to join Gay Outdoors at its first Florida Gathering, this is what you need to do:
1-Sign up first at the Gay Outdoors website, whether you are camping or making other arrangements directly with Vitambi. Please note when you sign up if you are camping or not.
2-Next call Vitambi Springs (863) 983-8488, and tell them you are part of the GayOutdoors Gathering. You can pay your $25 by credit card over the phone or pay on arrival. In addition to your name, give them your Gay Outdoors moniker. It will be easier for us to track down who is who, this way. Please try to make your reservations by early to mid December, so that we can have a rough estimate of how many are coming.
3-If you decide to make other arrangements with Vitambi, please do so when you call Vitambi. Note that January is a popular month at Vitambi, and Florida in general, and that some of these other accommodations (RV sites in particular), get reserved far in advance, and tend to fill up quickly. Again, please let us know on the sign-up page if you are camping with us at Tamaho Mesa, or making other arrangements.
Friday January 15th
Upon arrival, check-in at the reception desk in the Main Lodge; this will include a brief park orientation and directions to your campsite. We will have someone at the campsite to greet you and help you select the best location for setup. With varied arrival times, there is no planned dinner event for Friday. The restaurant at Vitambi, Bolo Café, has a good variety of standard options and nightly specials. They are open from 6-8pm and may be able to accommodate later arrivals with advance notice.
7:00pm Kickoff - Wine Toast in the Bongo Bar
Your Gay Outdoors hosts will organize a welcoming social hour to meet new friends and reacquaint yourself with some of the weekend participants you may already know. Vitambi Springs will advertise this weekend as a GO sponsored event for all men interested in nature, the active lifestyle and meeting other outdoorzy buddies. The bar is a fun place to be on Friday evenings where there are organized games, outdoor patio firepit, eclectic music and a good opportunity to meet the other guests in the park. Sign up for any impromptu trips, meet the trip leaders, make new friends, and enjoy a nice time.
Saturday January 16th: Get your gear and lunches packed, meet your trip leader and head out for a fun day. Return in the afternoon and relax by the pool.
After the day’s activities, join us for dinner at the restaurant in Bolo Café, and stay afterwards for their traditional Saturday night bonfire, followed by fun & games at the bar.
Sunday January 17th is our second day of activities. Again, these will be noted in the Gay Outdoors website. After dinner, we will gather around the fire ring in front of Tamaho Mesa’s cabins, for our own campfire.
That evening begins the new moon phase; stargazing will be at its peak, and this far south, you’ll see the night sky differently. Vitambi is working to get their resident astronomer, Bill available that evening with his high powered telescopes to view planets, stars, nebulas and galaxies.
Monday, January 18th
Hugs, kisses and farewells after breakfast.
We've got all the details you need on our GO Gathering Trip Page, including finding out who is going, camping, directions, and specific recommendations on what to bring.
If this is your very first GO Gathering, or you've got questions, email us your questions. We'll send you a personalized reply. >> Email us with information
We can't wait!
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