Address: 8377 State Cabin Rd., Edisto Island, SC 29438
Phone: (866) 345-7275
# of sites: 112 sites with water & electric (some with 50 amp), plus tent sites, dump station available
Full hookup price: From $43/night (varies with season)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warnings: mosquitoes/no-seeums, no sewer at sites
Edisto Beach State Park on Edisto Island is one of four South Carolina State Parks on or near the ocean. It is about an hour from Charleston and West Charleston and the area is rife with historical sites, museums and buildings.
The Live Oak Campground is one of two in the State Park. It is a bit inland from the Atlantic Ocean while the Beach Campground overlooks the beach and the ocean. The forest is lush and its green canopy completely encases the roads and trails throughout the park.
The sites in Live Oak are amazingly large and beautiful. Most have both 30 and 50 amp power and all have water, as well as an extended picnic area and table. All sites have privacy via bushes, vines and trees surrounding them on three sides. There are also large bathroom and shower facilities near the entrance to the campground paths.
Like many of the campgrounds in the Carolinas, a big advantage with this park is its proximity to the ocean and rivers for fishing, boating and other watersports. Also, surrounding towns have extremely low violent crime rates. The trails in the region, including those in the state park, are relatively level and easily accessed, and bird-watchers will find them incredibly rich.
These sites are on sandy ground covered in moist pine needles, leaves and moss from the forest canopy. We wore out a broom trying to keep our floors and mats clean and were often startled at the sound of acorns hitting our roof. Speaking of forest, there is little view of the sky, meaning not much chance for using a satellite dish. We were fortunate in our site to have a partial sky view through the trees, but all signals were lost the moment the rain started.
The Live Oak Campground borders a marsh that incubates huge numbers of mosquitoes, biting gnats, chiggers and no-seeums. Even when covered up, we were bitten several times, bites that severely itched for days. We probably should have had used more repellent, but this hasn't been necessary for several months before now.
There are no sewer hookups in any of the sites, though there is a dumping station just outside the park. We only stayed for five days, so this wasn't an issue for us this trip. The water provided had plenty of pressure but was very salty to the taste, even after going through a filter. We had to use bottled water for anything consumed.
Though pets are allowed, it is not a dog-friendly park. There is no dog park and no poop bags are available anywhere. Though dogs are supposed to be on leashes, we saw several that were not.
Finally, this is not a luxury RV resort, so it's no surprise that there is no laundry room, activity room or other amenities.
The beauty and privacy of the campsites in the Edisto Beach State Park earned it 4 out of 5 stars, We would definitely recommend this park to anyone wanting to enjoy the area, though its downsides probably would limit a stay to just a few days.
(Click here for an article I wrote about Thousand Trails.)
Address: 2791 NC-24, Newport, NC 28570
Phone: (252) 726-4902
# of sites: 235
Full hookup price: From $69/night
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Sites are assigned by Thousand Trails and cannot be changed
This was the first time that we have spent any time on the North Carolina coast and it didn't disappoint, at least the parts we could get to. Hurricane Dorian took out a good portion of the Outer Banks, an area we had planned to explore. None of the ferries were running and, even if we chose to make the 5-hour drive around the peninsula, many roads were completely washed out. Whispering Pines RV Park was near the Crystal Coast on the southern end of the Outer Banks, which still had a lot to offer.
The resort's location was the biggest plus for us. Even with Cape Hatteras and much of the Outer Banks unavailable to us, we went on three long drives and saw quite a bit of beautiful scenery. There's plenty of green in the campground and it's rather well-maintained.
Another great amenity was a very nice dog park, better than we've seen in many campgrounds, and well within walking distance from most of the RV sites. There were plenty of poop bags on hand and a nice covered gazebo with seating for both humans and dogs to enjoy some shade.
The pool seemed well-maintained and popular with the seasonal residents, and they had several clean, private showers nearby. The laundry facilities were clean and seemed adequate. Literature mentions a boat ramp and access to the Intercoastal Waterway, but I never saw it.
We were assigned a space without any input from us or regard to our size and slides. The site we were given was very narrow, with our slide on the left side on that edge of the site and our awning on the right side extended over the adjacent site's power post and sewer drain. We couldn't open our mats all the way without intruding into that space either. Even worse was that they refused to accommodate moving us to a wider site, like the one next door that was at least twice as wide, citing a full camp due to a festival our first weekend there. That wasn't exactly a fair excuse, since only two trailers used that adjacent site while we were there -- one was a 20' pull trailer using the space Sunday and Monday nights of that festival weekend and the other a 16' Scamp trailer that was there during the following weekend. They could have easily swapped sites so we could use the wider space and the smaller trailers would have been fine.
The other huge problem we endured was their rule against any dog pens or fences. We could put one up if we took it down the moment the dogs weren't in it, which they know wouldn't be feasible. We have a doggie door in our screen and were training our new dogs to use it, but this put us back two weeks in their training. We also utilize anti-bark collars (they use sound, not shock, to warn the dogs), and we are diligent about not letting our dogs bother anyone, but these facts didn't matter.
Trash bins are quite a distance from most of the camp sites, and the recreation room seemed to be closed for the season, which is strange this far south. It didn't look like it was equipped with any tables (ping pong, pool, foosball, etc.), just sofas, tables and chairs. It was also quite a walk away from any of the campsites.
I can't stress enough how great North Carolina is to visit. People have been friendly everywhere we have gone, and there's so much to see and do that a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months, just can't do it justice. I can see why people like living here, even with the annual threat of tropical weather. It's a boating and fishing paradise and homes with a view or shoreline can be found at almost any price point. We can't wait to return and spend much more time here!
Click here for an article I wrote about Thousand Trails.
We are currently in our second loop around the country and one thing seems apparent- more and more RV’ers have pets, especially dogs, as traveling companions. We have always had a dog with us everywhere we go, and although some campgrounds try to cater to these canine family members, it seems that the park operators just don’t understand how they can best accommodate pet owners in their facilities. In that light, I’ve put together nine suggestions for a great pet experience in a campground. Actually, some of these have been offered by different resorts we have visited, just not all of them in any one park.
9. A variety of dog food, treats, toys and accessories (i.e. leashes) available in the camp store
Walmarts or large grocery stores are not always nearby nor convenient when a pet owner finds their dogfood didn’t make the trip, their leash breaks or they just want to pamper their dog. Having some of these supplies would be ever so helpful!
8. Multiple dog walk areas with grass, poop bags and trash cans
So often we have to encroach upon other campers’ sites or a vehicle path to clean up our dog’s droppings. That is about the time you realize you forgot to re-stock your leash with poop bags… Having just a short walk to a dog walk would be exceedingly convenient.
7. List and contact info for nearby dog groomers, vet offices and pet hospitals
Seems silly to have to Google this for ourselves when the park operators usually have a handle on who is around them, and difficult when Internet is spotty. They can place a disclaimer on the info sheet if they are worried about referring to a business that doesn’t give a great customer experience and definitely should be asking for feedback.
6. List and directions to local community dog parks
We have been to some awesome community dog parks with room to run and play to their hearts’ content. Yuma comes to mind immediately. However, like local groomers and vets, it would be much more convenient to campers if that information was available at check-in.
5. Pet daycare, walking and pop-in visits available at a reasonable cost
It’s not always feasible to leave your dog in your RV while you explore the region or visit a national park (where dogs are not allowed even on-leash), and a rig can be a dangerous place in extreme summer heat should the resort’s power fail, turning off the A/C. Having a daycare, dog walking or RV pop-in visits available for a fee would be a great relief to those of us who need to leave our dogs behind to sightsee or otherwise partake of a region’s entertainment.
4. Centrally-located and well-maintained off-leash park with grass and shade
Let’s also supply these fenced parks with shaded benches for their owners. A number of times a resort we were staying in had a fenced dog park but it was either a half-mile walk away from our campsite or it was so small that there was no real reason to use it. Once fenced dog “walk” was only 8’ by 4’ in size. Having a fenced dog area is only useful if it’s maintained, not left to be weed- and mud-infested quagmires. No one wants their dog to play in a dirt lot.
3. Separate off-leash sections for small and large dogs
Another issue for small dog owners is when large, sometimes aggressive breeds are made to mingle with smaller dogs. The simple solution is to fence off a section of the park for each.
2. Scheduled community play times for dogs at the camp's dog parks
Ever walk your dog hoping to find other potential playmates for them in the dog park, only to find that it’s empty? This happens all the time to us. One resort created play times and supplied days and times for these social hours for their campers with dogs. This worked very well, giving our pet a lot of social time.
1. Allow use of pet fences and/or pens at campsites
We have a doggie door in our RV screen door and our dogs can come and go into our own fenced-off area, that is, when we are allowed to put it up. Our dogs do not challenge barriers and have never hopped out of our pen and when we can’t use it, it makes camping life more difficult. Parks should allow campers the freedom to use pens and fences and then enforce leash rules as necessary.
Any of these suggestions would help make a resort more dog-owner friendly and make camping more bearable for our cuddly family members. Campgrounds that are dog-friendly are becoming more and more popular as word spreads by campers. This is even integral to some park reviews, including mine, as RV’ers converse within their own social communities. Smart resort operators will pick up on this trend and make plans to offer as many pet services as possible.
Jack Huber is a novelist with 7 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.