Well, we’ve been here a year and although we’ve camped a little bit, we’ve not taken advantage of short weekend trips to some great campgrounds really close to Raleigh. As fall approaches, we decided to hit Jordan Lake in Apex. Exactly 21 miles from our house, Jordan Lake has several campgrounds. We chose Crosswinds Campground because it’s on the east side of the lake (closer to us) and it looked very tree-filled, which is what we wanted.
This specific campground within the larger park is smaller, has water and power and beach access but no boat launch like two of the other campground locations. The spots closest to the beach have fewer trees, but all spots are easily walkable to the water.
Beach area — with kayaks to use!
Most spots are very level — ours was a bit unusual because it sloped downwards, but leveled out at the bottom with just enough space. I wouldn’t recommend a motorhome for this spot! However, it was a great spot with a lot of trees and privacy. We could only see one other camper on one side, but a good distance away.
All spots have a fire pit, and obviously a lot of space.
We’re kicking ourselves for not visiting this campground sooner, and we’re looking forward to checking out the other locations within Jordan Lake Rec Area!
We wanted to check out at least one campground in South Carolina before heading home and Huntington Beach State Park looked perfect.
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 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.
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.
The beach here is also really beautiful — white sand, dolphins, pelicans and some great shells.
New Year’s morning.
Jekyll Island is fantastic.
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 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?
In some spots, maneuvering around the trees in a big rig might be tricky.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
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…..
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.
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.
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.
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….
Pier out to the overlook tower.
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!