Planning a trip to the Gulf Coast this summer? Don’t let the BP oil spill cancel your vacation. Many areas of the coast are unaffected by the oil and remain open to the public. Contact local campgrounds for current conditions and any special promotions they might be running. If you still have hesitations, there are plenty of other lovely attractions in the area to keep you entertained.
This One Tank Trip seen in the Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory
Just across Georgia’s southern border lies the aptly named Sunshine State, where winter-weary tourists come to escape the chilly northern weather. While it’s true that many of the more popular attractions are in the southern part of Florida, the northern end still has plenty to offer the traveler who’s looking for an escape. It’s been said that the only white stuff you’ll see on Florida’s ground is the sand on the miles upon miles of coast, and rightly so. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more unspoiled range of beaches than right here in Northern Florida. If you are looking to take a quick weekend getaway, you might want to stop along these scenic locations & attractions on your one tank trips journey through Northern Florida and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Take for instance Gulf Breeze, which is such a beautiful place to visit, you might be tempted to make this both your point of origin and your final destination for this road adventure. Pull over anywhere along the beachfront and set up camp. Enjoy everything Northern Florida camping has to offer. The sounds of the crashing, bright green waves just take you away from the stresses of everyday life. Take a stroll and see the local amenities and activities, including zoos and botanical gardens. Enjoy fine dining at any of the local resort restaurants, or just set up your grill and cook by the side of the rig. If you’re looking for a way to kick back and relax, Gulf Breeze is an ideal place to do it.
Providing you can tear yourself away from the tranquility of Gulf Breeze, Ft. Walton Beach awaits you just 15 miles down eastbound US-98. Ft. Walton has been drawing travelers for a lot longer than you might think. Evidence of a Civil War encampment has been discovered within the city’s boundaries, and notorious pirate Billy Bowlegs paid the area a visit somewhere in the late 19th century. Bring your metal detector, because with all this pirate activity, who knows what treasures you might turn up!
Ft. Walton has quite a bit to keep you entertained for as long as you care to stay. There are shops along the beachfront, and carnival-style amusement parks with go-cart tracks. Don’t miss the Boardwalk, and its collection of restaurants and nightspots. Maybe get in a game of volleyball there on the sand, or rent a boat or Jet Ski at one of the local rental offices. The seals and dolphins that call this area their home entertain locals and tourists alike, so make sure you’ve got fresh batteries in your camera. You won’t want to miss the antics these aquatic acrobats put on.
Eight miles farther east on the 98 takes you into Destin, which is known by many as “the world’s luckiest fishing village.” This is not to say that all you need to do is pour the worms onto the floor of your boat and watch the fish jump in, but from all accounts if you haven’t caught at east enough to fill your belly by day’s end, you might want to see if your line’s even in the water. Destin’s the home of several fishing tournaments and there’s enough fish in the water to support a number of local boat charter services, so make yourself feel like a fishing master and go for it! If fishing’s not for you, fear not. There’s also diving, snorkeling, and dolphin watching. Maybe you’d rather just grab a towel and a folding chair and sit on the sand with a good book. There’s plenty of beach for just that purpose.
Your final stop of Panama City is another 55 eastbound miles on US-98. This is a particularly popular destination for returning travelers, as it has family parks that cater to any little ones who might be traveling with you, and offers diving, fishing, and other water sports that appeal to the more mature crowd. It’s a popular spring break destination, and is quite busy during the summer months. Pier Park offers dozens of eating and shopping opportunities, and there’s no shortage of day cruises available, where you can dolphin watch or just enjoy the feel of the sea spray on your face. After you see what Panama City has to offer, the odds are good that you’ll be one of those returning travelers next year.
This article was only one of many other exciting one tank trips also found in Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory. Enjoy an eventful weekend getaway of Northern Florida camping and experience it all on just one tank of gas.
See a list of Woodall’s Recommended Florida RV Campgrounds
For a complete list of one tank trips visit Woodalls.com.
Each breath of salt air carries with it a heady mixture to delight the senses. The aroma of delicious pastries wafting from the Greek bakeries that line the waterfront, a taste of gyros and pastitso from the many restaurants sandwiched in between the souvenir shops, and the not-unpleasant smell of fishing boats and nets drying in the sun. Overhead gulls cry out, while the creak of mooring lines and the sounds of fishermen calling out to each other as they clean their catches and tend to deck chores can be heard. Welcome to Tarpon Springs, a hidden treasure on Florida’s Gulf coast. Read more
Trailer Life Cream of the Crop Campsites: Bella Terra of Gulf Shores—Foley, AL
Bella Terra of Gulf Shores is the new premiere luxury RV resort on Alabama’s Emerald Coast. The resort just had its grand opening a few months ago, and is ready to wow you with first-class customer service in a plush tropical setting.
This year-round resort is for Class A motorhomes only, and features sites up to 5,000 square feet for the biggest of the big rigs to spread out their slides. Each site has a level stained concrete pad and built-in patio, with full hookups (200 amps per site) and cable TV. Optional upgrades include carriage houses, outdoor entertainment centers, gazebos and storage units.
The 6,000-square-foot clubhouse stands as the centerpiece of the resort and features an outdoor fire pit. For your convenience, the resort hosts a business center with free WiFi Internet access and a fully-appointed fitness center for your exercise needs. There’s onsite laundry, a general store, library and a private movie theatre.
Lounge by the infinity pool (heated year-round), take a dip in the Jacuzzi or steam yourself in the sauna. Clean up before dinner in the private bathhouses with shower suites and restrooms, then take a stroll through the open landscaping of tropical flowers and foliage as the sun sets.
The resort’s lake is stocked with fish for you to cast a line on a lazy, sunny afternoon. Take up a game at the multi-use sport court, or try your hand at bocce ball, horseshoes, or shuffleboard. There’s even a putting green where you can warm up before teeing off at one of the area’s many championship golf courses. For a full list of resort amenities, see the Trailer Life Campground Review.
Rates: Nightly fees for two people range from $45-$100, depending on the season and type of site. Rally packages are available for groups of 10 rigs or more. Download the resort brochure PDF for details.
Area Attractions: Easy Interstate access means you’ll be that much closer to the fun and excitement the Emerald Coast has to offer. The nearby beaches are covered in sugar-white sand and provide a multitude of fair-weather outdoor fun. Set up a chair and umbrella to lounge with a book, go for a swim, or walk the beach with your sweetheart.
Gulf State Park has 2 miles of such beaches, along with several paved backcountry trails for leisurely exploration of the natural Gulf habitats. Watch for ‘gators!
World-class restaurants serving all kinds of fare can be found in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. Take a tour of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial, watch the dolphins on a bay boat cruise, or view local sea creatures (without getting wet!) at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab public aquarium. I’m sure the ladies will keep themselves busy “saving money” at the Tanger Outlet shops while the men go fishing on the Gulf!
Climate: The Gulf Coast has pleasant temperatures all year, with winter averages in the 50s-60s °F and summer averages hovering in the mid 80s °F. Bring your Bermuda shorts and Panama hat!
Get a sneak preview by watching the Virtual Tour video. If you’ve visited the area before, be sure to rate your stay at Bella Terra of Gulf Shores on the Trailer Life Directory website, or leave a comment below to spread the word about your experience at this quality RV resort!
Trailer Life Cream of the Crop Campsites: Sun-N-Fun RV Resort—Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota, Florida is on the Gulf Coast of southern Florida, about 35 miles south of St. Petersburg and 45 miles south of Clearwater. The community covers 35 miles of white sand beachfront on the mainland and on five sunny islands just off shore. The gorgeous landscape and the area’s rich cultural history just beg to be explored.
The Sun-N-Fun RV Resort is a huge vacation resort centrally located near many of the area attractions. They host 600 RV sites in four classes, each with full hookups (30/50 amp service), cable TV and a picnic table. Some are grass sites and others have crushed shell drives. Their pull-thru sites can accommodate the big rigs, while other sites have length limits.
Prices range from $25 to $75 depending on the type of site, time of year and length of stay. Check out their nifty chart for a complete breakdown of nightly RV camping rates.
The resort features a heated Olympic-size pool, two large spas, a kid’s activity pool, mini golf course, computer lab with free Internet access and full bathhouses with accessible facilities. This pet-friendly resort has two fenced-in dog runs and does not limit based on size or breed.
Fun-N-Sun also has lighted tennis courts, a 10-acre fishing lake and a variety of lawn games for your recreational enjoyment. Don’t miss a minute of the scheduled on-site events: read the Fun-N-Sun Resort Activity Guide for a full list of exciting recreational festivities.
If venturing out for a meal after a long day seems a bit daunting, you can grab a bite at Fun-N-Sun’s family-friendly poolside bar and grill, which offers lunch, dinner and snacks. The resort does not have a convenience store, but there are three grocery markets within 10 minutes distance where you can re-supply.
The Sarasota Tourism website has all the details you need to plan your adventure in the area. Just glimpse at the list of Sarasota Attractions and you’ll see why Sarasota is known as “Florida’s Cultural Coast.” From museums and shopping to kayaking and golf, there’s something for every taste and skill level. In fact, Sarasota was a beacon for Scottish settlers in the 1800s; Sir John Hamilton Gillespie, a Scottish aristocrat, is reputed to have built America’s first golf course right here in Sarasota.
Circus mogul John Ringling established the town as the circus’ winter base. He and his wife, Mabel, helped transform Sarasota into a cultural destination, and have left a legacy in the Ringling Museum of Art. Ringling’s circus elephants also helped build the first bridge from the mainland to St. Armand’s Key. Learn more about Sarasota’s fascinating history.
Look over the handy Trailer Life RV Travel Checklists to make sure nothing gets left behind on your next adventure. Don’t forget to browse the Trailer Life Directory Travel Tips when planning your journey through Sarasota, Florida. Here you can get pointers on traveling with pets, learn some state trivia and check current road conditions.
Please chime in with a comment if you have any tips or stories about visiting Florida’s southern Gulf Coast! Your insights could be the key ingredients to someone’s fabulous trip!