Best Campgrounds of the year – 2018

These days we are taking shorter RV trips and staying close to our home state of Georgia. It’s no wonder that this year our top three parks are either in Georgia or Florida. All three campgrounds are parks we have returned to numerous times during the years.

Number 3 – Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs, FL

We’ve been returning to this park over and over since we first discovered it in 2009. This year we camped here twice. Spring flowers were blooming in late February and the Festival of Lights were the highlight of our December stay.

All of the sites are large with water and electric hookups, a fire ring and picnic table. The bells from the carillon tower can be heard all through the campground.

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Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

Located on the Suwannee River, the park has a museum honoring Stephen Foster, hiking and biking trails (currently closed for maintenance), a gift shop and craft village with local artisans. Just outside the park is the historic Spring House and the town of White Springs.

There’s more about our latest stay at Festival of Lights and the Suwannee River

Number 2 – Pine Lake RV Campground in Bishop, GA

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Wandering Dawgs

Located less than 15 miles from Athens and the University of Georgia, this private park is well maintained with large sites, sparkling clean bath houses, full hookups, and fantastic staff.

Whether you stay here to attend a Georgia Bulldogs football game, to visit the University of Georgia or are just passing through, this quiet campground can’t be beat.

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Pine Lake Campground, Bishop, Georgia

Read more about our latest stay at A favorite campground and Georgia Bulldogs Football

Number 1 – Silver Springs State Park in Silver Springs, FL

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Silver Springs State Park

By far one of our favorite Florida state parks, we have returned to Silver Springs State Park a number of times since we first discovered it in 2009. The sites are all very large with fire rings, picnic tables, water and electric hookups. A few of the sites have been upgraded to full hookup. The bath houses are clean and each one has a washer and dryer.

Located close to the three campground loops are hiking and biking trails, an educational center, and observation decks on the Silver River. Just up the road at the Silver Springs Historic Entrance are the famous Glass Bottom Boat Tours, canoe and kayak launch and rental, more walking trails, a gift shop and snack bar.

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Glass bottom boat at Silver Springs
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Kayaking the Silver River at Silver Springs
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Silver River

Many birds and other wildlife can be seen in the park. Watch out for the monkeys!

There’s more about this year’s visit at Historic Silver Springs

Honorable Mention:

  • Always a favorite, we camped this February at Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA, Number 2 in our “Best Campgrounds of the Year – 2016“.
  • River Vista Mountain Village, Dillard, GA – This large, well maintained private park  in the north eastern Georgia mountains is a great location to use as a home base to explore the area. There’s more about our latest stay at Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2019 filled with safe travels and happy trails!

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

For the second year in a row we made a fall trip to River Vista Mountain Village in Dillard to explore the beautiful north Georgia mountains. Last year we explored Black Rock Mountain State Park, visited waterfalls in North Carolina and wandered around Tallulah Gorge State Park.

This year we had adventures in two new places. One day we went to the top of Brasstown Bald. Another day we drove an hour and a half to Blue Ridge, Georgia to take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

Our seats were in an open air car for the hour long ride beside the Toccoa River. The train departed the station right on time at 11:00.

As we traveled along at a whopping 10 mph we were able to enjoy the scenery and snap a few photos. A few trees were starting to show signs of autumn but we were too early for the brilliant oranges, reds and yellows that will come later in the season.

Our destination was McCaysville, GA/Copperhill, TN. There was plenty of time to explore the town before the scheduled 2:00 departure. It’s hard to tell which town is which since the state line runs right through the middle of town.

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GA/TN state line

As we wandered around the town we crossed back and forth between Georgia and Tennessee several times. The state line even runs through the middle of some buildings. “Dine on the Line” is the motto for the Copper Grill restaurant where we had lunch. Their address is Tennessee but the state line goes right through the restaurant.

It was nice to sit back and relax on the return trip to Blue Ridge. Before driving back to Dillard we walked across the street from the depot for some fried apple pies from the Mercier Orchard downtown restaurant and store. These pies have been featured on the Food Network and are melt in your mouth delicious!

What’s not to love? A scenic train ride, cool mountain air, beautiful scenery, fresh trout and catfish for lunch, going back and forth between two states just by walking through town, and delicious fried pies! A great day!

Saturday in Athens

On Saturdays in the fall when the Georgia Bulldogs have a home game, all roads leading to Athens are lined with vehicles flying their Georgia flags and the entire campus is filled with red Georgia tents and fans dressed in red and black.

We have had season tickets to Georgia’s home games since 1980 and our fall weekends revolve around home football games.  This past weekend was the SEC showdown between UGA and visiting University of Missouri. We usually stay in a town about 50 miles from campus but we decided to take the fifth wheel closer to Athens for this game. Last year we discovered Pine Lake campground in Bishop, about 15 miles from the UGA campus. With spacious wooded campsites, a lake, and even a small waterfall it is a well run private RV park that feels more like a state park.

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The lake at Pine Lake Campground
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Waterfall in the Pine Lake Campground

The SEC Nation pregame TV show was broadcasting live that morning just behind our tailgate area. Crews were in the process of breaking down the set when we arrived. Several semi tractor trailers were still there but we just missed seeing Tim Tebow, Paul Finebaum and the other announcers. It’s amazing how much equipment is required for these broadcasts.

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SEC Nation was live on campus before the game. We arrived as they were tearing down the set.

After a fun afternoon visiting with friends, eating delicious food, and enjoying an adult beverage or two,  we headed to the stadium for a 7:30 kickoff. It was a great night for the Georgia Bulldogs as the Dawgs won and went on to become the number 3 ranked team in the country. Go Dawgs!

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The teams take the field for pregame practice before a night game in Sanford Stadium
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Homecoming pregame show
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Georgia Bulldogs vs Missouri in Sanford Stadium
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The fans light up the stadium at the beginning of the fourth quarter

 

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Pennsylvania

State 35:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania became the 2nd state on December 12, 1787. The capital is Harrisburg.

When I was a teenager, my family made a trip to Philadelphia to see the historic sites. All I remember is seeing the Liberty Bell (it was more years ago than I want to admit and I was a teenager after all). About 40 years ago my husband and I took our kids tent camping to Pennsylvania and toured the Hershey factory and the Gettysburg National Military Park. We made some wonderful memories with our children who were two and six at the time. Unfortunately I don’t have photos from those trips.

Just a few years ago Henry and I traveled through Pennsylvania on an RV trip with our fifth wheel. Always looking for a waterfront campsite, we found a great one at Ferryboat Campsites in Liverpool, right on the banks of the Susquehanna River.

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View of the Susquehanna River from the campground
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View of the Susquehanna River from the campground

The Millersburg Ferry is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna River. The ferry landing is located in the campground so of course we took a ride across the river.

Millersburg Ferry in Liverpool, Pennsylvania
Millersburg Ferry in Liverpool, Pennsylvania
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Millersburg Ferry on the Susquehanna River
Millersburg Ferry is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna River
Millersburg Ferry is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna River
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Millersburg Ferry
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Each mark on the building represents the year and the height of a flood

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon

Best Campgrounds of the year – 2016

Welcome to our third annual “Wandering Dawgs best campgrounds of the year” list.

Our 2016 wandering took us on a short trips to Florida, Georgia,  Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

We prefer staying in state and federal parks and this year our top three all fall into one of those categories.

Number 3: Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham, Alabama

Early Morning at Tranquility Lake
Tranquility Lake was just a short walk from our campsite

We stopped at Oak Mountain on our way to Mississippi and enjoyed it so much we returned to the same site (A28) on our way back home to Georgia.

Our site was spacious with full hook ups and nothing but woods behind us. This large state park has a golf course, archery range, equestrian camping and horse stables, nature and hiking trails, lake front beach, mountain bike trails, and scenic drives. The road through the park is a popular place for bicyclists. Nearby Pelham and Birmingham have restaurants and shopping.

View from Peavine Falls Road Overlook
View from Peavine Falls Road Overlook

Read more about our stay at First Stop on our Fall Football Road Trip .

 

Number 2: Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Fargo, Georgia

Do you see the alligator behind the Cypress tree?
Do you see the alligator behind the Cypress tree?

We love this place so much we have camped here numerous times in past 10 years. Our most recent trip was in March, 2016.

Just getting to the campground is an adventure. After turning off the highway, seventeen miles of driving through pine forests and palmettos takes you into the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. It is remote, quiet, and wild.

We camp in one of the large premium pull through sites. It is a short walk or bike ride from the campground to the marina where you can go on a guided tour of the Okefenokee Swamp, rent a boat or canoe, launch your own boat, or take a walk on the nature trail through the swamp. Alligators are often seen around the marina but we’ve never seen one in the campground.

Sophie the Mama Gator
Sophie the Mama Gator

You can read more about our stay at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Number 1: Fort Pickens Campground, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida

Ready for Beach Chair Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico
Ready for Beach Chair Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico

Miles of white sugar sand beach in Gulf Islands National Seashore within walking distance from our campsite, an historic fort to explore, a nice campsite, nature trails, beautiful sunsets, fresh seafood, fishing pier, museums and a lighthouse nearby – what’s not to love?

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

Read more about our stay at Gulf Islands National Seashore .

Honorable Mention:

  • We returned to Mississippi River State Park in Marianna, Arkansas, our “Best Campground of the Year – 2014“. I left it out of the top three to make room for three new campgrounds
  • Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center, White Springs, Florida
  • Eastbank Corps of Engineers  Campground, Bainbridge, Georgia

Where do you think we will wander next year? Stay tuned…