See the USA the State Park Way

 

Bottomless Lake State Park New Mexico

Bottomless Lake State Park New Mexico

Rock Hound State Park New Mexico

Rock Hound State Park New Mexico

Elephant Butte State Park New Mexico

Elephant Butte State Park New Mexico

 

By far our favorite places to stay when we are on the road are state parks. They all have their own character reflecting the nature of their surroundings. From the wild and windy beach at Mustang Island and Goose Island in Texas to the mountainous Stone Mountain State Park in North Carolina and the desert vistas of Rockhound and Elephant Butte in New Mexico you can experience camping in any landscape you choose and the cost of staying at a state park is usually far less than commercial camp grounds, definitely you get better bang for your buck.

 

On the Gulf at Mustang Island State Park

On the Gulf at Mustang Island State Park

Stone at Stone Mountain

That is a stone in the middle at Stone Mountain

Each park usually has large and fairly private campsites (Big Bone Lick in Kentucky had only small sites) with water and electric services, a few have sewer connections. That’s a bonus. They all have shower facilities and some even have laundry facilities ( at Bayou Signette in Louisiana laundry was free along with free wifi).

 

Spanish moss at Fontainbleu State Park Louisiana

Spanish moss at Fontainbleu State Park Louisiana

 

Tropical foliage, Fountainbleu

Tropical foliage, Fountainbleu

They all have their own character, they’re all different but all have one thing in common. They are destination parks with things to do and see, usually off the beaten track, maybe ten or more miles off the interstate on twisty, hilly, rutted roads that seem to be going nowhere until suddenly you come upon the sign for the park. And you’re there!

 

Sometimes the sites are hard to back into. Those are ruts we made. See how close that post is. We just missed it by inches.

Sometimes the sites are hard to back into. Those are ruts we made. See how close that post is. We just missed it by inches.

We went four hours out of our way to stay one night at Gulf Shores State Park in Alabama, and didn’t really like it. Wasn’t on the gulf, we didn’t feel comfortable leaving the truck in the parking lot and dogs aren’t allowed on the beach.

 

View from our campsite at Gulf Shores State Park

Inland waterway view from our campsite at Gulf Shores State Park

 

Our rig at Gulf Shores and possible visitors

Don’t feed your dog to the alligators. It is against the rules.

Little Rock Arkansas is the exception. There is a state park right in the core of the city, on the Arkansas River within walking distance of all the downtown city attractions. The submarine, USS Razorback, just a short walk up the river is open for tours and at night you can watch the gaily lit riverboat paddle by your waterfront campsite. Not the Peabody Hotel,  famous for the ducks marching on the red carpet to the fountain in the lobby, but we got to sleep in our own bed in our home on the road.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/05/peabody-hotel-ducks-make-final-march-in-arkansas

Daytime view from our back window

Daytime view from our back window

 

Across the river

Across the river

Same view at night

Same view at night

The Razorback

USS Razorback bow view

Exiting from the hatch

Exiting the rear submarine hatch

If you want to get from A to B quickly, state parks are not the best places to stay; Walmart, truck stops,or even a roadside campground are your best bets. Close to the highway, easy off easy on, stop and go. But if you want to take a few days rest along the way, take in some of the local sights, relax a bit, then definitely state parks are worth the effort of getting out into the local countryside and seeing what different regions of the U.S. have to offer.

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5 comments on “See the USA the State Park Way”

  1. We’ve always loved state parks. Never stayed at a bad one! Love that sign. I’ve never had the desire to aggravate or feed an alligator, have you Ruth?

  2. I agree with you! We love state parks and will go out of our way to stay in them.

  3. Oh, and I love the picture of your Titanium!

    • Yeah they are distinctive looking fifth wheels. We bought ours from the #1 Titanium dealer in Canada at an RV show just before Glendale went bankrupt. Even met the president of Glendale at the show, was a nice guy. What a shock, but the dealer honored the warranty. Anyway we love our Titanium, although after 5 years of full timing it is feeling a bit cramped.


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