We’re really on the move these days. Last weekend we drove from Louisiana all the way across Mississippi and into Alabama. After spending the past year trolling around only four states, our fast pace this fall has left me feeling a bit rushed. It’s not that we’re a in hurry…but we are on a schedule. We have a planned meet up with family for Thanksgiving next week, another family gathering in Florida for Christmas, and then plans to be at my dad’s house in the Keys by New Year’s. All of this means that we need to stick to the plan and keep moving. No side trips or spontaneous detours. It also means that we skipped over Mississippi. Well, we didn’t actually skip over it, we just drove through it. Our rule is that we must spend at least one night in a state for it to “count”. So even though we drove across the bottom of Mississippi, with a stop in Gulfport for a stroll on the beach and lunch with some fellow RVers Eric & Brittany, we can’t count Mississippi as one of the states that we have visited.
We can count Alabama though. Making it officially state number 23. If you consider that we’ve been at this for 891 days, that’s not very many states. There are some full-timers out there who manage to hit more than that in a single year. I guess that’s just not out style. We prefer to spend a month or so in one state, traveling around and absorbing all it has to offer. I think that’s why I feel like we’re moving along a bit too fast right now. We only made one stop in Texas (two if you count the Houston Airport), two in Louisiana, and only this one in Alabama. Once again we’ll be moving on without feeling like we got more than just a tiny taste of Alabama. I guess we’ll have to come back.
We love where we’re staying this week, especially the close proximity to the beach.
Gulf Shores, AL is a vacation destination. The main road along the water is lined with high rise rental condos and giant hotels interspersed with brightly lit surf shops and massive Souvenir Cities (that’s actually what they’re called). Not much going on this time of year though. We are here during the off season, or maybe I should say snowbird season, because the 500 site state park where we’re staying is far from empty.
A walk around the campground shows RVs from all over the US and Canada, with quite a few from our *home* state of South Dakota. Gulf State Park allows monthly stays from November through March, along with full-hookups, making this an attractive destination for those looking to spend the winter away from the snowy north. As a bonus you’re only minutes from the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also a very affordable park with prices ranging from $475 to $600 per month, with the higher priced sites offering a water view. I think this is a great alternative to the often cramped private parks. You get a large site, a paved pad, full hook-ups, wifi, blazing fast fast Verizon LTE, access to in-park laundry, a pool and tennis courts, sandy walking paths, paved bike trails, all only minutes from the state park beach. Our site is a mile and half from the beach, which makes it an easy walk, and an even easier bike ride.
The park doesn’t allow you to reserve specific sites, but it does allow you to specify a campground road where you are then assigned a site when you arrive. I didn’t do much research before calling to reserve (no online reservations this time of year) and was caught off guard when the women on the phone asked what road I wanted. She ended up giving us Gator Road along Middle Lake. We didn’t get a site with a lake view though.
If we stayed here again and wanted a water view I would probably ask for a site on Live Oak Dr. where you can choose from the back-in sites on the lake…
Or a pull-thru site on the canal. I like this road because you get a bit more privacy between sites. The water view sites are not not available monthly though, and have a 14 day limit.
I also really like the sites in back of the park on Bobcat, Bear, and Possum Road. They back up to a large marshy area with not a building or house in site.
Other than a trip out for some groceries, we haven’t been anywhere except the campground and the beach this week. We suffered through a bit of a polar vortex at the beginning of the week. It got down below freezing two nights in a row, and one day it never got out of the 40s with a strong, frigid wind, which made any outside activities pretty unpleasant. Things are on the upswing now though, and with temps expected to rise into the uppers 60s today we hope to make it out for a long beach walk this afternoon.
Tomorrow we have an excursion planned to nearby Dauphin Island, and then Sunday we head into Florida for our long anticipated family Thanksgiving.
Amanda! I think the bird track photo, the shell photo and the boardwalk photo are just the cat’s meow. Since we are new to almost everything… your pix and description of the Gulf Shores.. help a whole bunch… ahhh… mid 60’s temp. Yum yum.
Thanks Gene! The shell scene is one of my favorites. When we come across a campground we like I try to write something about it because I am always looking to read about nice places on other blogs. It’s also a great way to remind ourselves of places where we would like to return.
Looks cold there…see you guys in Key West. We should be in our swanky spot on the lagoon complete with outdoor kitchen by 12/1….
It is a bit chilly! If we didn’t already have plans through Christmas we might be heading down there sooner!
Funny, I was just thinking about camping in Alabama. :)
The beach is pretty gorgeous around here!
That track could be from an Ibis or a Heron maybe. Looks like a great place to visit and relax!
A Heron would make sense because we did see some on the beach.
Thanks for the info Amanda. Al and I have talked about venturing further east next winter and hitting Gulf Shores. I’ve heard awesome things about Dauphin island and look forward to your take :-)
We almost stayed on Dauphin Island, but after reading so much about the weak cell service decided Gulf Shores was a better option for us. I can’t wait ti check it out though.
Just LOVE those gulf coast fine white sand beaches. This is one park we aaalmost stayed at a few years ago, but ended up missing. Good info on the road details.
This park was a last minute choice for us – one that I am so glad we made. The beaches here really are fantastic!
LOVE the sea shell shot! Colorful and interesting.
I kind of have a thing for seashells :)
Souvenir Cities? What a crack up! Lots like a wonderful state park, I’d consider a month there!
They are the largest souvenir stores I’ve ever seen! I would consider a month here as well. The price is right and the location offers tons of biking and beach options.
Sigh….you’re making me homesick with those beautiful beach shots. We really like Gulf State Park — especially the bike trails and the beaches (nice laundry, too.) Your bird-prints in the sand are made by a great blue heron. Pretty enormous prints for a bird, huh?
The bike trails are wonderful! And I really like having onsite laundry. It makes life a bit easier. I thought those prints might be from a Heron. They have some pretty big feet :)
We love our stay at Gulf Waters State Park, and we stayed at # 37Live Oak Drive. We spent our days there at the beach and enjoyed all the bike trails. This is one of our top five state parks.
Thanks for the memories.
If you are interested, Dauphin Island is only a ferry ride away.
It’s definitely going on our top 5 state park list as well. I stay there again in a heartbeat. WE did make it over to Dauphin Island one day. Took the ferry and road our bikes around for few days. Could have been warmer, but was still fun :)
Hello, I work for Gulf State Park and forwarded your info over to our Park Naturalist, Kelly Reetz. She said those tracks you see in the last photo are from a Great Blue Heron :) Thanks for visiting us here at the park, we hope to see you again sometime soon!
Special Events Manager
Gulf State Park
Thanks for the bird track info Brittney! We’ll definitely make a return trip to the park one day.
Once again you stayed at a campground that is on our list of places to stay on our way to Florida in January! Thanks for the review, it looks like you picked a winner!
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you get a chance, take the ferry over to Dauphin Island for the day. We took our bikes over and it only cost us $5/person.
What a great review. We are heading there in May an this gave me great info to plan by!!! I’m from Mississippi an just reviewed Buccaneer State Park on my blog. I hope you make it back to stay in our state. :)
So happy that you like the review. We really liked this park! Hoping to make it back to Mississippi maybe next fall. Buccaneer SP sounds like a great spot!