We love the Florida panhandle, and I had dreams of some time on the beach at one of the many fabulous state park campgrounds on our way across. Times in the past we’ve stayed at Grayton Beach and St. Andrews State Parks, and would have liked to check out some of the other coveted spots along the shore.
But options for the time we’d be passing through were exactly… well.. nill. Why? That thing we full timers often forget about – Spring Break.
Sure, we likely could have snagged some last minute cancellations or timed our arrival to pick up one of the few walk-in sites the state parks set aside. But after long driving days, like we are doing, the last thing I want to do is route to a park only to be turned away.
So what is a nomad to do with a couple weeks to fill during a high demand time? I think we did a fine job of making the best of it.
Overnight Stop in Summerdale
With 359 miles ahead until our next destination, we left a spare day in for good measure. It would be unlikely we’d want to cram that many miles into a single driving day.
We set aim for checking out Rainbow Plantation (our review) in Summerdale, AL. It would be our first time staying at one of the Escapees RV Club owned parks, and we had heard good things about this location.
That would make for two easier driving days of 160 and 199 miles each – giving us a much more leisurely pace.
On our way out of Fontaineblue State Park, we decided to use some of our spare time for a stop at the Infinity Visitors Center at the Stennis Space Center right at the Mississippi border and welcome center.
As space buffs, we had high hopes of this being a worthwhile stop to learn more about this area’s role in the space program. Unfortunately, our hopes were dashed – as the visitors center is really more geared towards school field trips.
It’s very scant on displays and information, and what is there is very poorly curated. The one thing interesting sounding was the shuttle bus tour out to the rocket test facility – but they ran so seldomnly that we decided to not wait around.
Overall, we felt it was a waste of time and $12 admission fees – we were in and out in under half an hour.
Oh well, turns out we needed that extra time as our brand new starting batteries we just had installed back in November had been acting up. It hadn’t caused any problems yet, as Chris just bridged them into our lithium ion house batteries which made up the extra needed oomph to start our bus.
But at our next reststop break, not even bridging would do the trick and we blew a 300A fuse on our lithium pack. Oops. No big deal, Chris is handy and installed a new fuse. We ran the generator for about 20 minutes as we had lunch and that gave us enough voltage to start the bus and get us to Summerdale.
Once to the park, we checked in and took a dry camping spot for $5 for the night. A very pleasant park off the beaten path, but still accessible to the Alabama shore area. The longer term full hook-up spots were nicely spaced and offered ample shade – definitely not a bad place to be for an affordable price ($340/month plus electric).
Chris isolated that only one of our starter batteries was bad – so he was able to bypass it, leaving the bridge in place. Which would serve us well enough until we could manage a warranty swap of the failing battery.
All and all, a pleasant overnight and glad to have checked this park out.
Eastbank Campground, Bainbridge, GA
While I was searching around for any availability in a public park in the Florida panhandle over Easter weekend, I was surprised to find one open spot available just over the GA state line at Eastbank Campground.
A quick check of reviews (our review) led us to believe this would do just fine for us. So we snagged it.
And we have to say, this park was perfect. Run by the Army Corp of Engineers (one of our favorite public campground networks), it sits along Lake Seminole right at the FL/GA border. Many of the sites are waterfront with amazing views.
We of course were not so lucky to grab one of those, but were thrilled with our site nonetheless.
Our first full day, we got a lot of household maintenance done (yup, life on the road.. exciting!).
We swapped in a new starting battery into the MINI (yes, another battery – this time, just age related), did some cleaning and installed a new plug on our 50A power cord which was at near fire-hazard levels. It always feels good to have time and space to handle chores.
Of course, as soon as we checked on RVillage, we discovered not one, but TWO blog readers in the park. Just goes to show, y’all have great taste in content AND parks (smile).
We enjoyed an afternoon happy hour making friends before the rain started.
And then it rained pretty much non-stop for 4 days, with just brief breaks to sneak in walks that kept us from going completely stir crazy.
The rain allowed us time to get caught up on things like tax preparation, some blogging, getting SSL setup over at RVMobileInternet.com and content creation.
But it also seriously put us behind on other projects (including some video filming) we were hoping to use our 6-days in one spot to accomplish.
Despite the rain, we thoroughly enjoyed our time at Eastbank. It might not have been the beachfront campground I was dreaming of, but it was certainly tranquil, scenic and perfect for a nice extended rest along our repositioning.
What’s Up Next?
After another awesome stop near Ocala (we’ll get the blog caught up eventually), we have finally completed our cross country repositioning that we’ve been on for the past six weeks since we left Arizona.
We arrived to our destination of Spring Hill, FL and are enjoying time with family.
We’ll be here this week, and then will bounce around a few more locations in Central Florida before we depart on our cruise later this month (so excited!).
A Note about the proposed HUD Rule Changes
If you hang out in any of the RVing related groups or forums – you may have seen videos and links making their way around that would have you think it’s about to become illegal to full time RV due to a proposed change to a HUD regulation.
We’ve gotten contacted by several readers asking what we think about the government taking away our rights.
Before getting worked up over link bait titles, please do your further research to learn what is actually being proposed. An article by Howard over at RV-Dreams.com (he’s a former lawyer), we think, gives a great easy to read overview.
His summation, that we agree with:
“There may be laws, rules, or regulations in the future that severely curtail the ability of people to live in their RVs, but this minor rule, buried within manufactured housing regulations, isn’t one of them.”