Thursday, April 30, 2015

Not Camping at Huntington Beach SP near Murrells Inlet, SC

As odd as it is for me, I have not started camping yet! By this time in Florida, camping season would be over, since temps are nearing 90 degrees there. Here in NC, it's still a tad chilly. Maybe in a couple of weeks I will get out for the first time in over a year!

I recently went on a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. I wanted to get back to the beach (I do miss St. George terribly!), and I wanted to visit Huntington Beach SP, where I had read there were long-legged waders to photograph (another thing I miss terribly....not too many egrets in the mountains).

I had not realized that there was a campground at this park. While this is much too far away for me to consider camping (I didn't even like the long drive from home to Myrtle Beach when I wasn't towing a camper), I thought I would wander through the campground so I could post pictures and info here for anyone who is considering that area and this campground.

It's very nice! Not very big, unless it extends out at the far side from the entrance--I had been walking for literally miles that day between this park and Brookgreen Gardens, which is just down the road, and so I only walked far enough into the campground to get some photos of the look of it.  Here's how it looks when you first enter the campground:

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I took this standing in a site, looking across at other sites.

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And this one is of site 4, a fairly typical site based on the empty ones I saw.

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There was a good mix of very large RVs, smaller campers, and I even saw a tent there. Sites are level, most seemed shady, and they are spaced nicely.

This park has several things going for it. This is Low Country and so there is marshland there. There is a causeway you drive across and can park and walk back across that has deeper water on one side and marsh on the other. You could walk or bike to that causeway from the campground. A little farther from the campground, but still biking distance, is a boardwalk that stretches over a wetland area.

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In contrast to that, just beyond the entrance to the campground is a picnic area with shelters, and beyond that, the beach.

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About a quarter-mile down the road is Brookgreen Gardens, which is a very large area (well, seems large as you wander around, but in fact the woman in the Welcome Center told me it is only a mile from end to end) filled mostly with statues and sculptures. In addition to the statues, they have an animal park with an aviary and assorted mammals, and also a small butterfly house. You can easily spent most of a day there. 

I took a lot of pictures there, which will ultimately end up on another blog, and I am including two here. Oddly, they seemed to work better in black and white, so that's how I processed these. You get the idea.

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Myrtle Beach is about 20 miles down the road. There's a lot to see and do there, and if you have kids of any age, they will love it. I passed this Hollywood Wax Museum several times while driving around, and took this out of my car window while at a traffic light.

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I didn't make it to the wax museum on this trip, nor to Planet Hollywood. I did, however, go to a place called Broadway at the Beach, which was really great and would be ideal for kids. Shops, restaurants, attractions, a small zip line, and a place called WonderWorks that I kind of wish I had gone into. And more--I didn't see all of it since I had reached my walking limit for the day by that time!

I recommend this campground!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Standing Indian Campground between Franklin and Hayesville, NC

This is one of those "I didn't camp there but I walked around the campground" camping posts. It was my plan to return to camping a month or two ago, but we got a new (old) dog from the local animal shelter and so my interest turned to spending time with her here at home while she adjusted to her new life and her new dog and cat siblings. I'm still not quite ready to be away for a few days, so it looks like camping will recommence in the spring. I have already found two campgrounds that I look forward to trying.

Meanwhile, I had heard about this Standing Indian recreation area and campground, which is not far from our house. I knew that this campground would not be one I would choose since they do not have water or power hookups at the sites. There are water faucets scattered here and there (and, oddly, one right at site 8), no power hookups, and a small bath house with hot showers. This is an ideal campground for tenters--particularly Loop 1--and would be fine if you have a generator.

You cannot reserve sites, but I don't see that being much of a problem except possibly at peak season in summer. This place has a LOT of sites. Here is a random empty one in Loop 1.

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Loop 1 is  very woodsy, with most of the sites being quite large and either far apart or with trees between them so the privacy was good. It does not seem to be maintained in any way as far as raking leaves and trimming vines and so on. As you circle around the loop, you find many sites near Nantahala River, which rushes over rocks right next to the sites.

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That would be very nice to hear at night!

Here is a view of two sites with tents in them.

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While it is true that there isn't much low greenery between them, they are pretty far apart.

Here's that same site with the green tent, with the bath house above it.

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This is the road through Loop 1.

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This site is at the end of the loop near the road, another indication of the size of the sites. This one is across from the river.

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The sites in Loop 1 did not appear to be perfectly level, which is less a concern for tenters. If you are in a tent, this is the loop for you.

Leaving this loop and moving on to the other loops (I think there are at least 5 loops), you cross a bridge over the river.

This is a view of the river from the bridge (a more calm section).

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So we continued on to see what the other loops looked like.

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WOW, there is a huge difference between Loop 1 and the other loops! These are wide open and grassy (clearly maintained). Almost all of the sites that we saw were a good distance from other sites, so even though it was mostly grass between them, you still would have privacy. Again, no hookups (which really seemed odd in this section). We parked to look around.

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(My camper may not be in this post, but at least my car is!)

I took several photos while we walked around, here they are:

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This campground is about 10-15 miles from shopping and restaurants in Franklin, but it's a pretty drive, with a scenic overlook that is a breathtaking view. In the other direction is Hayesville, and Lake Chatuge, which would be ideal for fishing or paddling, and there is a large Ingles (grocery store) and a few other things along the road near the lake. This recreation area is also for day use ($2.00 fee) and has many hiking trails.

If we visit any more campgrounds in this area that I know I will not be camping at, I will certainly get some photos to show you. If not, I will be back to this blog in a few months when I will get back to camping!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge near McRae, GA

This was my first stop on my trip north to NC with my camper, which will be stored near our house while we make our move in a couple of weeks (and thereafter, since I am not keeping it at the house). I decided that if I was going to make this drive with it, I might as well make it a camping trip, and I routed myself so as to avoid all interstate and Athens, GA (which has a difficult interchange on its bypass that I wanted to avoid at all costs). So, this was my first stop. This was to be a one-night stop, so I was not even going to unhitch.

This park has a huge golf course, a lodge, a restaurant, cabins, and a campground. It's expensive for a night of camping ($35 if you don't have any discounts). I expected it to be pretty nice.

I suspect that the park spends its funding largely on the golf course, followed by the restaurant, then the cabins, then the lodge, and if anything is left, it goes to the campground. If this is the case, then evidently there is rarely anything left.

I was astounded at how un-level most of the sites were--you would be much better in a back-in site than a pull-through. The back-ins were situated on the same hilly terrain. but an effort was made to shore up the low side.  When you drive into the campground, you are going up an incline. I decided to see if sites at the top of the incline, but before the downhill side, might be flat--this was a particular concern since I was not unhitching so I would not be able to do much leveling of the camper, and the height of the hitch mattered. I did find a site at the top that was sufficient. I'm sure the person in the next site wondered why I had to park so near them when there were so many empty sites....or maybe they figured it out.

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Here is the back of my site, which was very nice, with a fire pit, grill, and picnic table, facing woods.

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On my way to the bath house I noted one of the uneven sites and decided to see if I could show it in a photo. My camera has a built-in level, which enabled me to be certain I was holding the camera level (which is also shown by the bath house in the background). This site goes left-to-right, on the gray gravel. Perhaps you can see how slanted it is.

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The bath house has flaking paint on the walls and a somewhat mildewy odor to it. It was clean, as far as that went, but far less nice than you would expect at a park like this.

Verizon signal was 2 bars and Mifi was strong enough to stream Netflix. I was not here long enough to explore the area or check out any hiking trails.

I'm sure there are much better campgrounds in this area and I suggest skipping this one if you plan to visit the area. I was eager to get going to my next stop, Watson's Mill Bridge State Park, where I was meeting friends and taking a few days to relax before continuing on to NC.