After our four day visit with Mom and Tim in Wilmington, we headed due south towards the Sunshine State, but at our traditional, somewhat leisurely pace. We stopped for one night at Swamp Fox Campground in South Carolina, a perfectly serviceable full hook up park within the Passport America discount system; so $23 for our stay. We followed this with two days at Eagle Hammock, the RV Park on Kings Bay Naval Base.
This campground and the one at Mayport Naval Station have been on my list to check out for sometime now. It is a relatively small campground that has an interesting method of dealing with overflow campers once all the full hook up sites are full: They begin splitting sites, with the first rig getting full services and the extra rig getting electricity (whichever amperage the first rig is not using) and water (off a splitter.) The camp hosts were very helpful and well organized, getting us into one of the biggest split sites still available. On a nice lake with access to the good sized commissary and exchange complex this place was well worth it at $17 a night.
Sunday morning we pulled out and headed for one of our favorite Florida state parks, Gilchrist Blue Springs. Purchased from private owners by the state a couple of years ago, it has technically been renamed “Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park,” but I’m only typing that out this one time. In addition to the beautiful springs and woodland trails, it’s less than half an hour from cousin Robb and Colleen’s house, so they and the twins are able to come out to the springs and hang with us, work and school schedules permitting.
This they did, with Maeve and Nola getting an extra holiday from school so they could tent camp on our site for a night. We had an excellent visit with all the expected activities: swimming, snorkeling, short hikes, geocaching, nature encounters (deer, wild turkey, giant cypress trees), a campfire, and smores.
The quaint town of High Springs is 15 minutes or so from the park, and provides all the things you would want from small town America: a few restaurants, an ice cream shop, a craft brewery, a barber, thrift stores, a weekend farmers market, small groceries, and various artsy little shops. On our last day we hit the town’s very best Mexican Restaurant, El Patio, and High Springs Brewing Company for an excellent flight.
As I have written before, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is not for everyone: two miles of washboard entry roads, tight maneuvering to get to the sites, all of which are on dirt, and tree cover preventing easy connection for those with satellite TV. But we love it, and plan to stop every time we can fit it during our exit from and return to Florida each year.
Next up: back to Central Florida, I get honored, and we begin five weeks of rather chaotic bouncing around Central Florida and the southern half of the Gulf Coast.