by Eric Tress
The COVID-19 pandemic has swept around the globe, causing uncertainty for everyone and especially for full-time RVers.
Some people prefer to live as nomads, traveling, and discovering their inner adventure spirit by crisscrossing the country in their RVs instead of living in traditional homes. However, during this pandemic season, the main agenda for RVers should be staying safe and healthy until the infection rate has reduced and the stay-at-home-restrictions are lifted.
Here are some ways to navigate the pandemic and stay safe:
1. Stay in recommended places
The RVers should stay in recommended places with good reviews. Avoid moving from one location to another and stay in a comfortable, safe place, whether in your property, family member driveway, or an RV Camp to minimize the chances of getting exposed to the virus.
Ensure you stay in a location within reach of medical resources, in case of an emergency. Your locality should also have essential suppliers like produce and paper goods within a short drive. Be extra careful when interacting with others by staying six feet away.
2. Have enough resources
Fill your RV with enough gas and buy groceries to last you for a month; this restricts any unnecessary movement. Have enough kitchen equipment and other essentials, including canned food, dry goods, food storage containers, dish soap, towels, sponges, trash bags, and pot holders to avoid borrowing from other RVers.
For the bath and bed needs, have enough bedding, toiletries, laundry detergents, and flip flops for a comfortable stay. Have items like an outdoor rug for yoga, tablet or Smartphone, camping chairs, refillable water bottle, and lots of games, headlamps, and flashlights.
Your emergency kit should have enough supplies, including painkillers, thermometer, and other essential medical equipment.
Ensure you have updated RV insurance and your contacts within easy reach; that includes your family members, next of kin, and doctor.
RVs are also prone to accidents like from little fender benders, more serious accidents to manufacturing and design defects; hence the need to have contacts of your car accident lawyer (here's one in NJ) within reach is important.
3. Embrace campground etiquette
Once you find the ideal spot for your RV, adhere to the campground etiquette to keep safe. During check-in, ask for no-contact services like paying using a credit card. The fewer interactions you have with cash and people, the easier it is to stay healthy.
Instead of using the campsite shared bathrooms, full of surfaces that can quickly spread Covid-19, opt to use the RV bathroom. It will reduce the risk of infection.
Avoid using the campsite Laundromat and instead hand-wash your clothes and dry them in the sun. This prevents your getting into close contact with other RVers’ clothing while direct drying your clothes can kill viruses. Wear gloves when filling your tanks at the dump stations and rinse off your dump station.
For the campgrounds still providing Laundromat services, RVers are encouraged to adhere to cleanliness and safety guidelines provided like using antiviral cleaners and disinfectants, observing social distancing and using masks among others.
For mental health, avoid staying inside all day. If your local regulations allow, ride your bike around the park, take a walk, hike, go fishing, socialize but keep your distance.
4. Keep your RV clean
Thoroughly clean your RV regularly by disinfecting the surfaces to prevent infection. For the sink, toilet, countertops, and other hard surfaces use water and soap and disinfect using EPA approved products, diluted bleach solution, and products with 70% of alcohol base.
Vacuum and clean visible stains and debris on your RV furniture, drapes, carpeting, and rugs using porous surface EPA approved products. When doing laundry, avoid shaking the clothes to minimize the possibility of dispersing viruses through the air. Wash your clothes and other items using warm water and disinfect the hampers.
It’s advisable to disinfect and clean the areas you frequently touch on your RV daily. Such places include light switches, doorknobs, handles, countertops, toilets, sinks, faucets, phones, desks, RV’s steering wheel, door handles, and dash controls.
5. Embrace Personal Hygiene
Your hygiene plays a vital role in stopping the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap. Avoid touching your body parts like face using unwashed hands, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue or use the inside of the elbow. Throw away used tissues, and immediately sanitize or wash hands.
Boost your immunity by eating highly nutritious meals, having enough sleep, and exercising.
6. Take care of your Mental Health.
A healthy mental state will ensure you follow the guidelines and make the right decision to stay safe.
Keep your mind healthy by shunning information pathogens, negative thoughts, and sensational headlines.
Find a distraction to help you cope and balance your daily life. You can do this by finding a good book, taking up a new hobby, or learning a new skill.
Speak about your fears, anxiety, and worries of COVID-19 and avoid bottling up your feelings. Connect with your feelings by expressing them; for example, for painful emotions, you may become sad or cry. Such ensures you release your feelings and find healing.
The pandemic has distracted the beautiful, carefree lifestyle of RVers, limiting movement, and socialization. However, following the above guidelines will keep your mental and physical health in tip-top shape, and if you suspect that you have COVID-19 symptoms, seek immediate help. Keep safe; you will eventually get back on the road and new adventures.
Eric Tress is a travel writer, digital content specialist, and a full-time sun seeker. He works closely with Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. as a content specialist helping them build their online presence through friendly, engaging, and shareable web content. When not hunched over his computer, Eric is into his fender guitars, traveling or enjoying a nature walk with his pet.
The suggestions and opinions expressed in this guest blog post are those of Eric Tress and not necessarily the opinions of Jack Huber and other associated blogsites.
For the past several years, I've been watching my calorie intake and have managed, until retirement, to lose several dozen pounds. One problem when dieting, even when it's a permanent lifestyle change, is what to do when you are hungry but limited in food intake.
I began using Mountain Trail Mix as my go-to snack for such occasions and found, at least for me, that my weight changed very little due to this incredible snack mix. One day I thought that the mix could use more cashews and started adding them to the pre-packaged mix, then some craisins, and finally decided I might as well make my own trail mix from scratch. I don't think it's any cheaper this way, but I get exactly what I want in the mix. I'll include costs so you can judge for yourself.
Here's what to purchase:
These represent the brands and sizes I normally purchase for one batch of Huberville Trail Mix, and there will be leftovers from the craisins, raisins and M&M's to use in future batches. I find that store brands work fine for the nuts and raisins but the name brands are worth springing for on the other ingredients. Feel free to use whichever brands you like.
I start by gathering my largest mixing bowl, a 2-cup measuring cup and a 1-gallon re-closable plastic storage container. I have found that the mix will last longer in a hard plastic container than in a zip-lock bag. Here is the process:
Wash your hands
My best guess on calories would be approximately 300 per 6 tablespoons, or about a third of a cup of trail mix. That's about how much I eat in a single sitting. Because of the sweet, salty, chocolaty and fruity aspects of the mix, I find it easily tides me over until my next regular meal. I even keep a small container in my headboard for a late night snack.
The total cost of this 18-cup mixture is around $28.00, or about $1.50 per cup, a very affordable goodie, and one that just may save you from devouring many more calories between meals.
One last thought- I will sometimes add different ingredients to change things up, such as dried bananas or fruit, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, chocolate-powdered or flavored almonds, and so on. I only do that on occasion... and I always come back to this recipe, unmodified. Enjoy!
Address: 215 Spettle Rd., Lakehills, TX 78063
# of sites: 387
Full hookup price: From $49 per night
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Not all sites have sewer, not all sites are close to the lake
Lakehills is about 40 miles from San Antonio and the rural town rests on the shore of the very large Medina Lake, The Medina Lake RV Campground (not to be confused with the Medina Lake RV Resort, a different park) is also located on the lake and shares the cooler hill-country weather of the region.
My opinion of this park was made without the knowledge of its community spaces (pool, spa, clubhouse/pavilion, laundry, etc.), which were all closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown rules in Texas for campgrounds.
This campground has very wide, tree-lined sites with good privacy and gravel-covered pads. Having spent time in several parks with little or no space or privacy, this benefit cannot be understated. The resort does sport the usual amenities, plus hiking trails, lake frontage and dock for fishing and boating, and picnic/barbecue areas.
There is plenty of wildlife here. We were visited often by several whitetail deer and my bird feeders attracted two pairs of cardinals, a pair of goldfinches, several hummingbirds and others. Just before we left a huge female turkey even rambled through.
Probably the biggest asset of this campground is its proximity to several Central Texas attractions and highlights. The park is located about 40 miles from San Antonio (and the Alamo), and a nice drive can take you through the famous Luckenbach, Texas, and the quaint town of Fredericksburg, known for its pies and wineries. The reservoir created by the Medina Lake Dam is also quite large.
Just as a side attraction, Bandera County put together a neat little program where businesses displayed bicycles painted blue along a couple of the minor highways that go through the district. I think I found 10 or 12 of them as we drove to and from the town of Bandera and our northern explorations.
The main disadvantage in coming to the Medina Lake RV Campground is the layout, with only a few sections of campsites near the lake and no way of knowing which sites are empty until you physically see them. From the lake shore to the farthest camping loop from it is about a mile, so it is difficult to know whether to snag an empty site when you come upon it or risk losing it by continuing down to the lake. Not all sites have sewers, so you have to specifically check for that in each site as well.
The staff was not friendly, but with the pandemic in full swing, it's difficult to know if that is normal or stress-induced. The have a $5 per package for receiving UPS packages and they refuse any USPS shipment. We were told by the post office staff that the campground would not allow USPS packages to be delivered because they weren't allowed to charge a fee for them. The nearest post office is in Pipe Creek, around 13 miles from the park.
There are no shopping areas close by, so Walmart and other box stores are 40+ miles away. Even fast food is scarce, with a few places in the town of Bandera, a 20-mile drive away.
The bottom line is that, knowing the secluded nature of the lake in advance, we would highly recommend the Medina Lake RV Campground, a Thousand Trails property. The staff's attitude during our visit and the lack of an easy way to secure a campsite are the reasons for my rating it less than a perfect "5." Perhaps when we return in a better time this can change.
Address: 24280 Patterson Rd, Robertsdale, AL 36567
# of sites: 64
Full hookup price: From $31 per night
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Not pet-friendly, owner is obnoxiously political
Wilderness RV Park is aptly named, located in the woods within the foot of Alabama that reaches the Gulf of Mexico. It is located about halfway between Mobile and Pensacola. It is a relatively small campground and was chosen for its proximity to Mobile.
This park is clean, though rustic, and there is sufficient space between rigs when full. It has a pond and is surrounded by forest, giving it a woodsy feel with a true campground ambiance, though it's located just off I-10.
Camping prices did reflect the level of park we experienced. As an RPI (Resort Parks International) campground, we only paid the members' rate of $15 per night for a 50-amp site, discounted from the already low $36 rate. 30-amp sites run only $31/night.
The overall location near the Gulf shore and just off the interstate is it's biggest advantage. Sitting just a half-hour drive from Mobile, 45 minutes from Gulf Shores and about 35 minutes to Pensacola makes sightseeing and grocery shopping in this region nicely accessible.
We had red flags right off the bat upon check-in, with faded posters with hateful political messages plastered around the office. Now, we don't have a problem with people displaying political views opposed to our own, though I prefer not to see them. However, these signs were crude and somewhat racist, and if we were planning a longer stay, we would have made other arrangements.
Once we set up the owner pulled his golf cart over and let us know that dog fences were not allowed and we would have to take them down. When we asked his reasoning, he said that dogs in pens tend to dig and the grass would suffer. This was an odd reply, since dogs tied on leashes also dig and the grass we were parked on was not manicured, landscaped or newly seeded. He just didn't like pens and that was that. There was no off-leash area and the grassy field around the pond was a swamp most of time we were there, so not being able to use our dog door and a limited walking area made handling potty times somewhat difficult.
There were no real amenities that you might see in a resort. Just ordinary camping is the most you can hope to do here.
If you need a quick layover near Mobile or Pensacola, and you're not easily offended by southern tendencies, this campground may fit your bill
Address: 910 North Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34601
# of sites: 285
Full hookup price: From $378.00 Per Week
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Not well landscaped/maintained, road noise
The Clover Leaf Forest RV Resort is one of the central Florida Thousand Trails parks. It's about an hour from Orlando, an hour from Tampa and about 30 minutes from the Gulf. It's a natural stopover location between southern Florida and the panhandle. Like many RV parks in Florida, it is especially popular in the winter months.
The Clover Leaf Forest isn't one of the best parks in the Thousand Trails system, but it is clean and the staff is friendly. There is a long pond that runs through one end of the campground and there are green spaces on that shore and in and around the main office. They post when mail has been delivered on an electronic reader board and have a guard manning the entrance at night. There is an exceptionally well-kept laundry room and one of the nicest sets of shuffleboard courts that I've ever seen, if you're into that. By far the biggest pro is the proximity to central Florida's attractions and coastline.
This park is tight. In fact, we could only put our awning out about two feet due to the trees along the pad. My rear bumper ended up only about 18" from the 5th wheel behind me.
The other primary annoyance here is that the park sits along a small highway, with more-or-less continuous traffic noise. The town of Brooksville is split into two sections, a modern shopping-centric area about a dozen miles from the campground and a tiny historic district close by. There is no night life close to the park.
There is no fenced dog park at Clover Leaf Forest, though they have a post near the shuffleboard courts with a trash can and a poop bag dispenser.
There is nothing fabulous about the Clover Leaf Forest RV Resort, but it's far better than many of the campgrounds we've stayed in, thus my 3-star rating. I would recommend it as a waypoint, an interim stay along your journey, but not as a destination. Orlando Thousand Trails is a much better option, if that works for your itinerary.
We had been wanting to attend the Tampa RV Show, one of the largest in the country, for about three years now, ever since we saw a video "Less Junk < More Journey" posted when they were there. We were also excited about the after-hours party scheduled for Thursday night and planned to go, especially with some our favorite RV YouTube celebrities announced to be attending. Alas, we found that over 475 people had also RSVP'd they were going and we decided against the joining the madhouse. This was in a wing joint, albeit a large one, and there was no way this was going to be enjoyable.
We were able to attend the actual RV show today, which is located in the Florida State Fairgrounds, and it was nice and spacious, if not spectacular. There were a few themes that stuck out.
First, manufacturers spared no expense in their Class A offerings. The first one we walked through cost $2.67 million. The second one was under $1 million at $968,000. Overall, there were more Class A's than anyone could possibly peruse in one day, which is probably why the show provided free next-day tickets. Luxury was obviously the the big appeal in this RV class, and prices reflected that. However, we also saw a startling number of smaller, lower-end motorhomes in the $75-140K range. Had we been in the market, we certainly had a wide range of choices.
Second, the majority of 5th wheel trailers were 40' and longer and beautiful. We walked through many that were over $200K, a few over $300K, and even some large rigs less than $50,000. The latter group would not fare well in full-time use. The latest innovation seems to be a front kitchen in the 5th wheel deck.
Along with the abundance of large 5th wheels was a noticeable lack of 30' to 36' models of 5th wheel trailers of any layout. I spoke with several manufacturer reps who agreed that most factories have stopped making them -- they just aren't selling. This is difficult for us to take in, since we currently own a 32' Cruiser and would never want to move a 40' rig every other week. But, that was the point, I was told. RV buyers, for the most part, are either seasonal full-timers, only moving their RV's twice a year to stay in moderate climates, or weekenders, who want the space and toys to haul a half a dozen times each summer. It is assumed the RV full-timers who travel a couple times per month are only interested in Class A motorhomes, and that's what they are building.
In addition to these two RV styles, there were a myriad of Class B's or van conversions, even a line from Airstream, as well as many new models of ultra-small pull trailers, teardrops and campers. There does seem to be a lot of new innovation going into these, including in form, function and style.
RV vendors and accessory suppliers were also well-represented in two warehouse-sized buildings. We both took note of what seems to be a new trend -- time-share-style or full-purchase resort space. We saw at least thirty booths for such parks in the two hours we spent in the vendor buildings, dominated mostly by Georgia, Florida, Texas, Maine and Michigan resorts. We are on a waiting list for a space in an SKP park in Hondo, Texas, so we aren't too interested in spending as much money as most of these parks are charging.
We were surprised that so many of the RV's still had dark wood interiors. The rigs with white of light-colored cabinetry were much more impressive and popular than traditional models.
The bottom line is that we are glad we finally got to attend this very large show, but without any rigs in our sweet spot in length, we probably won't attend another anytime soon.
Address: 2555 US HWY 17S, Wauchula, FL 33873
Phone: (863) 735-8888
# of sites: 460
Full hookup price: From $57 /day (30 amp)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: High demand park, sewer not available on all sites, alligators (?)
Peace River RV Resort is located in the woods along the Peace River just outside of Wauchula, Florida. It is about 45 minutes from the Gulf coast and just under two hours from Orlando. It is one of only two full Thousand Trails resorts in the Sunshine State and sites here are very much in demand during the tourist season of January through March.
There are 37 Encore (Trails Collection) resorts and only two TT parks in Florida. Along with the Orlando Thousand Trails Resort, this park is part of the "Florida shuffle" for TT members, where they come and go between Encore properties. Following a stay, members must be out of the Encore system for at least seven days before staying at another Encore property, but there is no waiting period if they stay in a full TT park. Thus, the TT campgrounds are a huge convenience and cost savings if you want to spend a considerable time if the state.
Proximity to Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Punta Gorda on the Gulf and Orlando in Central Florida is a big plus for this park's location. Even Vero Beach on the Atlantic coast is only a two-hour drive away. The wildlife is abundant and birding is exceptional in Central Florida, where you'll see many species that are only found here. Fishing is also popular everywhere in the state.
The park itself has the usual resort amenities and it sports a very nice nature trail along the Peace River. Sites are above average in width and we were able to snag an excellent space in which our front door faced the woods.
As I alluded to in the warnings, there are often far fewer sites with sewer drains than there are RV's checking in. To make matters worse, you are left on your own to find them while avoiding the empty sites with sewers that are reserved for seasonal or annual campers. When we return in January, I'm told we will be participating in a lottery system for the sewer sites but need to be waiting at 9am to get into the drawing, which happens around 1pm. If we don't get a sewer site in the lottery, there are always several dozen dry sites or with water and power available we can stay overnight in and get in the next day's lottery. Not ideal. It seems to me that with the popularity of the park they would expand the number of sites with sewer hook-ups.
Like many resorts, the dog park is about a half-mile walk from much of the resort and is very small. There are dog waste baskets scattered around the park but none have bags, so you do have to provide your own. With two dogs, sometimes I will run out while on a walk and I really appreciate it when a resort provides the poop bags around the park. In addition, there are signs around the park warning of alligators and snakes, making for a nervous time walking near the river.
The staff here wasn't always friendly. For example, the office here has a rule that you can’t pick up a package before 2pm and sure enough, they stuck to that rule when we tried to pick up one at 1:53. Okay, that’s the rule. Knowing this and that they close the office at 4:30pm, I was able to get there in time, with 4 minutes to spare, or so I thought. I followed a few paces behind a young woman up the stairs and to the office. When she went in, she closed the door behind her and locked it, pulled the shades down and deadbolt locked. It was still 4 minutes before 4:30 and the gal had seen me behind her. Now I have to wait until 2:00 the next day.
As we were leaving the resort on travel day we heard what sounded like assault rifle gunfire is several short bursts. It sounded like it came from down the aisle next to us and we were a bit taken aback. Was there an active shooter in the park? It turned out that there is hunting in the bordering properties and that's where the gunfire was coming from. It's a bit unnerving to think we'll be returning to a place where hunters are using assault rifles nearby.
All-in-all, the Peace River RV & Camping Resort is adequate and convenient for a stopover between other campgrounds. As an alternative location, I would probably recommend the Orlando Thousand Trails, a much nicer and better run facility, for an interim stay, but if that's not a good option, Peace River will still hold you over.
Address: 38801 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key, FL 33043
Phone: (305) 872-2217
# of sites: 399
Full hookup price: From $774/week
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Oleander on site (poisonous)
Spending time in the Florida Keys was a bucket list item for me and this resort is right in the middle of them. Although the name is Sunshine Key and its address is on Big Pine Key, the park is actually on Ohio Key, adjacent to Big Pine. We went in November, before the high-tourist season, but also still during high temperatures.
We first saw this resort in February of 2018 just after hurricane Michael had devastated the area. The park was closed, and it definitely looked like it had sustained serious damage. Eighteen months later, the RV resort was in nearly full operation, though they are still utilizing temporary quarters for their entrance, check-in desk, mail room and convenience store. Though there are plenty of seasonal or year-round residents, the park was only about a third full in the two off-season weeks we were there.
Sunshine Key is one of the cleanest resorts we have stayed in recently. There was no trash to be seen anywhere except in the trash bins. There are many nice, wide sites, some are pull-through, all with full-hookups and spacious pea-graveled patio areas. Amenities are plentiful as well, including swimming pool, tennis, pickle ball and basketball courts, along with a marina, fishing dock and shoreline right on-site.
Probably the largest plus to this resort is its proximity to Key West, just about a 20-mile drive away, and the rest of the Keys are also within an easy driving distance. Ohio Key is on the west side of the Seven-Mile Bridge, which means that shopping in Marathon is only seven miles from the park.
Numerous tourist activities are available, as one would expect of a popular tourist destination, and the historic town of Key West has an abundance of tram, bus and boat tours and a wide variety of dining options. Fishing charters and party boats are available in almost any of the populated Keys with a myriad of species to be caught. You do not need a fishing license if you join a charter excursion with a licensed captain.
One big downside is the cost of sites at Sunshine Key, with some people paying $1,300 per week for premium waterfront sites. The public can pay as low as $774 per week, a more reasonable rate, and Thousand Trails members with the Trails Collection need only pay $20/day with a 2-week max stay. Usually we do not pay out-of-pocket for Thousand Trails visits, so the $280, plus tax, was a bit of a hit to the pocketbook.
Another huge negative is that no pet fences are allowed and there are no off-leash dog areas. I'm not sure that their reasoning of "liability issues" is valid, since very few resorts have this restriction. Our Chihuahua-mix dogs are not a threat to anyone while corralled behind a fence and not having one set their house training back by weeks. Our 5th wheel has a doggy door and when the puppies have to go potty, they normally just head outside to the yard, leaving us to easily clean up at our convenience. Without the door available to them, they went potty in the doorway in front of the locked doggie door.
Another pet-related complaint is the presence of Oleander plants in the park, including between our site the the one next-door. Ingesting just one Oleander leaf can kill a full-sized horse, and pets have no chance to survive. I used our pet fencing to section off the plant from our puppies, but we were nervous about it our entire stay.
If you are not used to them, almost constant trade winds can be annoying, and the Keys' low elevation and location at the entrance to the Gulf makes them susceptible to storms, mild and severe. We were fortunate to follow the storm season by a few weeks, but another could have developed at any time.
Not knowing any better, Nadyne and I were hoping to enjoy tumbling waves on a sandy beach. However, we found the the region really has no waves or sandy beaches, mostly due to the shallow water surrounding all of the islands in the area. It was very much like being in the Outer Banks or inside a large sheltered harbor. That's nice for boating and fishing but not so much for beach-combing or body surfing.
Even with shopping available in Marathon and Key West, traditional full-sized box stores and supermarkets are back on the mainland, 50+ miles away. Advanced planning may be necessary before hitting Key Largo and the Overseas Highway..
Like I mentioned, visiting the Florida Keys was a bucket list item and overall it didn't disappoint. We loved touring Key West, Big Pine and many other of the Keys. Key deer are abundant (and cute), bird watching is everywhere and there are spectacular sunsets nearly every night.
Overall, the Florida Keys exude a laid-back, relaxed lifestyle into which one can easily be assimilated. However long your visit, it will seem too short.
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.
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!
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.