For most of our trip so far, we have stuck mostly to the coast, some of it due to weather, some of it convenience and I think in a way it’s just more familiar to us. Growing up on Long Island the beaches and water feels a little more like home. We have never seen the Gulf so Kevin was really excited to explore the Gulf Coast beaches so we stayed at a bunch of different sites along the coast in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Camp Gulf- Miramar Beach, Florida
This resort was very nice but silly expensive. It cost $118 a night (full h/u) and you are packed in like sardines. There are a lot of amenities, 2 pools, a recreation center, laundry, modern individual private bathrooms and showers. The biggest attraction though is that they are right on the beach. They do have one row of RV sites on the sand for a beachfront view. BUT they do not allow dogs on these sites, so our site was a few rows back.
The sand was white and sugary and it was a beautiful and clean beach which made for some good walks. It was close to a ton of stores, Destin and a lot of shopping. While the location, bathrooms/facilities were nice and it was steps to the beach, I personally don’t feel that the cost was worth it since we we didn’t have a beach view and could not park on the sand.
Topsail State Park- Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
This was about 10 minutes away from Camp Gulf. Since my brother was visiting we wanted to give him the experience of moving sites, staying in an rv resort and our preferred state parks. The sites were large, paved and you had plenty of space between you and your neighbor. While they do have a beach, it is a long walk so they offer trams to take you to and from. We chose to just ride our bikes. The beach here was so pretty and quiet...much less commercial and no huge buildings or developments around.
There are several hiking and biking trails to keep you occupied, a couple of lakes and a community fire pit. The only downside was the bathroom/showers. They were very run down, pretty gross and a far walk from our site.
This cost $50 a night (full h/u), so definitely a more expensive state park but around the Destin area, it’s one of your best options.
Gulf State Park - Gulf Shores, Alabama
I think this was our favorite state park we have stayed at. It is HUGE….there are over 500 campsites in all different directions. The actual sites are big and very spaced out. There are so many hiking and biking trails. Everyone bikes there, we took a long ride and really enjoyed the views. There’s also a fishing pier, beach passes are included, and they even have restaurants on site (like I said the place is huge).
It also cost $50 a night (full h/u). What we noticed about Gulf Shores in general which was nicer than in Florida, there are huge areas of the coastline that are undeveloped so even driving along you have a nice unobstructed view of the water.
Davis Bayou Campground Gulf Islands National Seashore- Ocean Springs, Mississippi
We really liked our stay at Assateague so we were happy to visit another National Seashore. The cost was very reasonable, $22 a night (w/e). It was a smaller campground but nicely maintained and the park host was very friendly. Kevin got in some good fishing by the boat launch and docks and even managed to get his grand slam (speckled trout, flounder and red drum in one day). There are a couple of short hiking trails and you can catch a couple of alligators in the marshy areas.
Rutherford Beach- Creole, Louisiana
This was our first boondocking experience on the beach. We found the site on Campendium (awesome resource to find campsites, read reviews etc). There were a lot of other rvs/vans/buses boondocking near us. It’s a pretty remote spot but we did have cell service.
There is a parking lot with dumpsters and porta potties which some RV’s parked in, there is also a beach road behind the dunes which is where we set up. Sand is hard packed so we had no issue. It was quiet and peaceful. We had pretty lousy weather (what else is new??) when we were there but still enjoyed it. And best of all IT’S FREE!
Bolivar Flats- Bolivar Peninsula Texas
This beach was amazing. We were able to drive right out onto the sand with no problem. We didn’t even unhook the Jeep before going out, the sand is so hard packed. We went down a way watching the high tide water line and parked with a perfect view of the water. Relaxing with the door open and just soaking in the salty air. The dogs had a blast here and as you can see, they were partial to the view too. While the beach did get a lot of visitors in the afternoon on the weekend, at night it was just us with one or two other RVers, so it was like having the place to ourselves. Listening to the waves made for an awesome nights sleep. We loved beach camping although the amount of sand that got tracked into Wanda was enough to make us crazy!
To stay on this beach you do need to purchase a permit which is $10 for the year (although since we went off season it was only $5). We picked up the permit at the Big Store on the way in. And we did take the Cameron Ferry for $1 to get there. I was a little concerned about how Wanda would handle that but it was so simple just drive on and drive straight off.
I think we have officially had our fill of beaches for a little while and are looking forward to a change of scenery to mountains and deserts.
What are your favorite Gulf Beaches to camp at?
By Ashley Quiambao