Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina

Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina

We wanted to check out at least one campground in South Carolina before heading home and Huntington Beach State Park looked perfect.

Spot #11.

Spot #11.

The park has 133 spots and direct beach access via several wooden paths throughout the park.

There are two beach paths leading from each end of the park.

There are two beach paths leading from each end of the park.

There are some pretty private spots like ours, or some not-so-private spots around the inside of the loops. There’s also a loop in the back with heavy tree cover (but further from the beach), and some tent sites.

Second loop of the campground.

Second loop of the campground.

On the grounds of the state park is also Atalaya, a Moorish-style house that was once the winter home of sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. You can tour the house for $2.

Panoramic!

Panoramic!

The beach here is also really beautiful — white sand, dolphins, pelicans and some great shells.

New Year's morning.

New Year’s morning.

 

Jekyll Island Campground, Georgia

Jekyll Island Campground, Georgia

Jekyll Island is fantastic.

Bike path all the way around Jekyll Island.

Bike path all the way around Jekyll Island.

The campground is the least private we’ve stayed in on this trip, but with an island this great, we didn’t spend a lot of time in the campground anyway.

No privacy, but that didn't stop us from having a fire. Sorry neighbors.

No privacy in spot #27, but that didn’t stop us from having a fire. Sorry neighbors.

There are  206 camp spots (back in, pull through, full hook ups, primitive tent….) and a general store with the basics, including firewood. There’s also a little area designated for bird watching with swings for guests to sit on.

Looking for some quiet or just some birds?

Looking for some quiet or just some birds?

In some spots, maneuvering around the trees in a big rig might be tricky.

In some spots, maneuvering around the trees in a big rig might be tricky.

At least there's shade!

At least there’s shade!

A short drive or bike ride directly across from the campground leads to Driftwood Beach with a fishing pier, and a nice sandy beach that leads to some beautiful scenery.

Pier off of Driftwood Beach.

Pier off of Driftwood Beach.

It seems like this boat was way too close to shore....

It seems like this boat was way too close to shore….

For all the people in the campground, it was extremely quiet — plus there were a lot of fellow Airstreamers there! (Hi Bob and Lisa!)

 

 

Tomoka State Park, Ormond Beach, Florida

Tomoka State Park, Ormond Beach, Florida

Tomoka State Park landed us about as far south in Florida as we had time for before having to head back north to Raleigh. It’s between Jacksonville and Dayton Beach (I can’t even say it without a Spring-Break-WOOOO) and looked beautiful, and we got one of the last spots available for 3 days over Christmas (a good and bad thing as we later found out).

Entrance to the park.

Entrance to the park.

The entrance to the park is beautiful, but has giant potholes… like 6 ft wide, so drive slowly!

The park has about 100 sites in every possible size and configuration you can imagine — short, long, really long, pull-through, private, not private — so really check them out when you go. We’d stay here again, but definitely try for a spot on the second row away from the bathrooms with no one across from us. Also, site 100 is hard to find — its kind of inbetween the two rows, like it was a total afterthought when building. It might be a winner. This place was packed (well, it was a holiday) with the most wide ranging group of people we’d ever seen in a campground. Next to us was a family that played the best mariachi music and had their site decorated with so many lights we didn’t need our flashlight at night. On the other side there were three spots filled with Hasidic teenagers, taking over the road several times a day dressed in their prayer shaws and tzitzit. The noise from both of them was a crazy mash-up.

Site #42.

Site #42.

The park also has a store (about a mile or so away from the campsite) that sells soda, beer, firewood and has boat rentals if you want to paddle around the inlet. We chose not to get in the water for one reason:

Got it.

Got it.

The camping area is part of a much larger state park with many designated fishing areas — like miles of them. We rode our bikes around the park a lot and just enjoyed the views.

All roads are sand.....

All roads are sand…..

View from one of the many fishing areas.

View from one of the many fishing areas.

To check out the area, we went on The Loop drive which takes you around Ormond Beach — its a narrow two lane road with really low hanging trees at certain points, we definitely wouldn’t recommend doing this in an RV. You can stop at the ruins of a plantation, one of the oldest trees around and wind through a few older-towns-with-much-newer-houses. And you can see the ocean.

View at Ormond-by-the-Sea.

View at Ormond-by-the-Sea.

Skidaway Island State Park, Savannah, GA

Skidaway Island State Park, Savannah, GA

With a full two weeks off for the holidays, we wanted to make a good sweep of some southern spots as an introduction to our new coast. Plotting out a plan from Raleigh to Somewhere-in-Florida started with a stop in Savannah — a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time after hearing about it from Deke, who’d been there several times. We remembered Laura and Kevin going to Skidaway Island State Park a while back and liking it, and luckily they had a few spots left.

Even in December, it's a beautiful park.

Even in December, it’s a beautiful park.

The park is 15 miles or so from Savannah, but worth it — we were in spot #51 which was a corner, really private and within short walking distance to the Big Ferry Trail.

Site #51.

Site #51.

The trail is about 2 miles and has some really beautiful scenery and historical sights — like a still from the 1930s (Skidaway Island was very popular with bootleggers to make and hide moonshine because it was only accessible by boat).

Deke was obviously very interested in finding this....

Deke was obviously very interested in finding this….

 

Pier out to the overlook tower.

Pier out to the overlook tower.

Beginning of the trail.

Beginning of the trail.

As you can probably tell, it rained a bit while we were there, so we didn’t try out any of the other trails, but we’ll definitely be back in the future!

 

Lumber River State Park, Orrum, North Carolina

Lumber River State Park, Orrum, North Carolina

We haven’t had a lot of time to get away the last few weeks, but we were itching to camp — so we dusted off the tent and sleeping bags and headed 2 hours south of Raleigh to Lumber River State Park.

Trail to sites #6 and #7.

Trail to sites #6 and #7.

The park is tent camping only, and you have to park in a lot and walk to your spot. There are 9 spots in the Princess Ann section (on Princess Ann Road) and 15 spots on the Chalk Banks (another bank of the river several miles away). We chose the Princess Ann section based on photos alone — it was more wooded and right by the river. We were looking for some peace and quiet, so it seemed like a good bet.

LRTent

Lucy not looking at Deke putting up the tent.

We popped our tent up pretty fast, got it all set up on the inside and started making some hot dogs. What we didn’t anticipate were the mosquitos. They were everywhere! In all our years of camping, we’ve never encountered anything like it. But some insect rellepent and a smokey fire and we were doing ok.

Trail bridge.

Trail bridge.

We took some walks around the park — nothing too major, but very pretty.

Lumber River.

Lumber River.

Two hours south of Raleigh is almost in South Carolina, so we saw some old, beautiful cypress trees along the river.

One of many.

One of many.

The town of Orrum (pop. 91) is small — it’s mostly barns, tobacco and soybean farms — and more cemeteries in the 4 miles of town than we’ve ever seen in one place. There’s a general store, but it’s really a gas station so make sure you get everything you need if you visit the park!

To escape the mosquitos, Lu and I took a siesta in the tent….

Zzzzzzz.......

Zzzzzzz…….

We went to bed when it got dark and woke up around 8, so it’s possible we slept 12 hours, which we both needed.

Mmmmmm bacon.

Mmmmmm bacon.

In the morning, we took a few more walks, made some bacon and headed home. (Note unusual shot of Lucy looking at me.)