gulf state park, alabama - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-19-2015, 06:00 PM   #1
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gulf state park, alabama

Hi everyone----we're looking to head to the south for this coming winter--and will be open to suggestions on places to stay for 2-3 weeks, for a reasonable cost, over Christmas and New Years.
We would like to be near a beach, although we don't expect to be swimming. I am aware that the temperatures will vary, of course.

One place that was already recommended to me was Gulf State Park, in Alabama, not far from Pensacola, Florida. It looks wonderful on its' website. However, does anyone have experience camping there and would be willing to offer suggestions as to what row of sites to consider? As of Oct/15 sites can be reserved specifically---apparently previous arrangements allowed for road requests only, not site specific.
And that's wonderful----IF one knows which row to choose!!!

It would be great to be on the water, but only if alligators aren't going to visit.

Does anyone have any thoughts????
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Old 07-19-2015, 07:40 PM   #2
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It's a nice Park.. Not sure what loop we stayed on but it was to the east of the store, laundry and pool complex..
Could be tough getting a site though

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Old 07-19-2015, 08:51 PM   #3
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If you can't get a site try Big Lagoon State Park in Pensacola or Fort Picken at Gulf Islands National Seashore also in Pensacola Florida.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:07 AM   #4
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Thanks! I'll check out both those suggestions.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:20 AM   #5
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You might also consider Grayton Beach SP. The even numbered sites from 2 thru 20 are located on a lake but most have a bit of vegetation between the campsite and the water. From the campground, its a short walk or bike ride (you can also drive) to a beautiful white sand Gulf of Mexico beach. We stayed in site 007. It wasn't directly on the water but had a good bit of privacy with restrooms, washers and dryers nearby.

This area is much less congested than that around Gulf SP which makes it more attractive to us.
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Old 07-20-2015, 10:09 AM   #6
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Gulf State Park is a very nice park. It is large and has lots of facilities. The beach is just across the highway and registration at the park entitles you to park free at the beach. Wi-Fi is spotty except at the park office.

I stayed on the water (lake), but there is no access from the campsites because of vegetation. I paid a premium for the site and it was not worth the extra cost as you can get water views from nearby sites, such across the road. I did see an alligator swimming in the lake one morning. Also heard that they sometimes can be found in the drain ditches that run throughout the park. Stay away from the water and the bushes, and there should be no problem. You will find this situation in almost every park near the ocean. I also saw two copperheads while there during a week's stay (one in the park, one on a walking trail). Both were on pavement and were visible in plenty of time to avoid them. Again, common in the area. Stay on marked roads and paths, and it should be no problem (unless just the site of them makes your heart flutter). Also, keep your pets out of the weeds and bushes. Have fun.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:38 AM   #7
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Have not camped at Gulf State Park in years but used to go there quite often when it only had one loop and about 50-70 campsites if that. Ah those were the gold old days.

In recent years it has grown exponentially would be putting it mildly, still its a nice park and nice area. In general all of the AL state parks we have stayed at are very nice. As others have mentioned Big Lagoon just over the FL state line is also nice, much smaller and more intimate if this is meaningful to you. Gulf State Park as I understand fills up early so best to plan ahead. The park has lots of great biking and hiking trails within the park some that will take you clear out to Orange Beach. Don't over look a visit to Fairhope, AL and Magnolia Springs once you're down there probably the best town in AL, really nice. Jessies Restaurant is a great place to eat in Magnolia Springs.

We staid in Gulf Islands National Seashore for about a week after picking up our Oliver back in March. The Nat Seashore itself is great and not to be missed, but the campground is more of an RV experience vs camping to us. Again I can remember when the entire campground was comprised of only loop A, nowadays you're most likely packed in with hundreds of others, tightly I might add, in Loops B-E. The washrooms or most of them are very tired looking too.

One last campground to also consider is Meagher State Park right on Mobile Bay East Shore near Daphne, AL just a few short miles to Fairhope. Its a nice well maintained campground with large sites and complete hookups throughout if memory is correct. It does have one potential downside that I would be remiss if not mentioning however. I-10 is within eyesight and earshot from the campground and thus during the night you can hear a light drone of traffic through the night especially if you're a light sleeper. Meagher does not offer the recreational opportunities of Gulf State or Big Lagoon or even Gulf Islands Nat Seashore but for a few nights its a good base to explore places like Bellingrath Gardens, Daphne, Fairhope or even Mobile should those things interest you. And its also right at the confluence of the Bartram (sp?) canoe trail that goes inland quite a ways. If you're into paddling Fairhope Boat Company is the best around. Great folks that run a good business.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:16 PM   #8
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Grayton Beach State Park Florida. Near Destin, Seaside, with all the excellent restaurants, shops, biking you would ever want. And that Emerald Green water and sugar white sand. Too cold for swimming in the winter, but just soaking up some rays is a good pastime.Full hookups are available and have concrete pads as opposed to electric and water only that are on sandy gravel pads. Be sure to eat at The Red Bar in Grayton Beach...The Very Best Food around and a reasonable price. Funky and loud but well worth it.

Also Topsail State park in Destin is as good as it gets. More like a neighborhood than a campground. This is where the big rigs Winter.

Book early. It may be too late to get a site for December.


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Old 08-08-2015, 04:27 PM   #9
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Talking

Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions!

The idea of seeing a copperhead snake more than makes my heart flutter....

but as everyone keeps telling me--"you're in Florida and Florida means snakes".

Frankly, I will suck it up and try very hard to leave my fears at home.

I will look into all of those parks with a special emphasis on those that aren't quite so RV saturated.

We also lucked into a 9 night stretch in one of our favourite parks, Gamble Rogers, near Flagler Beach. Don't know which stars aligned to allow us this treat, but we took it, super-quick!
Also, we decided to blow the budget and have booked a 2 week stay in Key Largo, at Key Largo Kampground, for after New Year's. Cannot even see any availability at any of the SPs until well into May, so decided to "go for it".
It's been 30 years or so since we were down in the Keys.

Thanks again!!
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Old 08-08-2015, 04:42 PM   #10
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I live in Gulf Breeze and have not once seen a poisonous snake. Camped in all the Panhandle state parks in Florida, a Few in Georgia and Alabama...no snakes. Mosquitos are a much worse problem so bring Deet...even in Winter.


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Old 08-08-2015, 04:53 PM   #11
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trumpetguy---david----you have MADE my day!!!!

sweeter words were never written. mosquitoes--they are so abundant here in NB, especially at our riverfront camp, that they are almost like some family members (always around when you don't want them to be). Bringing Deet is not a problem for us, as it lives in our camper, right by the door.

I checked their website (Florida SP) for Grayton Beach and there is alot of vacanrcy for the winter right now, which is surely different from the southern part of the state.
Of course, we understand that it isn't going to be hot...but we just want to be able to sit in the sunshine and be beach bums for a while.

Thanks
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Old 08-08-2015, 05:02 PM   #12
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If you end up at the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Fort Pickens campground loop A is is separated from, and much nicer than the other loops. This was a recommendation I got on this forum. We spent a week there last March. No gators or snakes, but we saw a snapper in one of the fresh water ponds. No bugs either, too windy or cold, although we swam in the Gulf.
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:27 PM   #13
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Thanks..that's another vote for that park and that particular loop. Going to check with Reserve America tonight...perhaps those stars will align again
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Old 08-08-2015, 07:43 PM   #14
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I can also endorse Fort Pickens National Seashore. A loop is the place to be but the larger loops are OK...just wide open spaces. The campground is about eight miles from any restaurants or activities, but the old historical fort is a must see. Pensacola offers the National Museum of Naval Aviation, and a terrific historic district.

Weather is a gamble. Can be in the 70s, or cold and rainy.

I am really high on Grayton Beach State Park because there is so much to do around the Community of Seaside. The 30a bike path runs about 20 miles and is paved all the way through quaint gulf side communities.

Stephen Foster Folk and Cultural Center is an excellent park, as is Suwannee River State Park. Both are near the I 75interstate. No beach there though.

By the way...we were in site 17 at Grayton Beach. It was OK but there are better ones on the lake. Beauty was it had a path to the air conditioned showers.

Avoid Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham Alabama. Worst facilities I have ever experienced.


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