The final month of another year traveling the beautiful country. We couldn't just end at home, now could we? I was planning to take a maritime course in Gulfport for work, so what better way than to camp our way down south to the Gulf for the month?
We had 7 stops planned that took us from the first week in December through Christmas where we would meet John and camp for the holiday. Or so we thought...
We headed out to stop number 1, which was in Appling, GA at Petersburg Campground, located on J. Strom Thurmond Lake. We had camped on this lake before, but on the South Carolina side. This was a new campground spot for us and as it turns out, we loved it. The sites were massive and had so much woods between neighbors. We had a nice little waterfront site that allowed Luna to go mosey on the beach and dip her paws in. The beauty of southern camping — it can still be pretty warm! We took a stroll and explored the campground, we even saw a beware of Alligator sign (something that would become common on this trip), but none were spotted.
Sadly, we only had one night here because we had to make our way to Gulfport in time for my course the following week, but we do plan to return to Petersburg Campground!
Day 2 we were on our way to good ole Alabama! A state that has some of the most beautiful camping locations. We have never been disappointed camping in Alabama. We stopped at Millers Ferry Campground, in Camden, AL, again, right on the water. This campground sat on the banks of Alabama River and we were lucky enough to grab one of the best sites it had to offer!
Once settled in our new spot, we did a quick FaceTime with my mom to update her on our travels. We were in shorts and t-shirts sweating, while they were bundled up in Massachusetts (sorry!). We also switched to Central Time Zone, so we had a wonderful sunset while we chatted.
Some of the best parts about Alabama camping are the "home made" rigs you see. People do all sorts of wacky creations and camp in them. We saw some good ones at this campground and had an equally good laugh, and with that, it was time to head onto Gulfport, MS.
GALEVANTING IN GULFPORT
Day 3 we made it to Gulfport! Our home base for the next week, while we explored a new area and I went back to "school" to learn all about the Maritime industry. I was really excited to not only take the course, but to finally get to meet my co-workers.
The campground we stayed at was right along the Gulf. It was a little "Glamp-like" for us, but sometimes that's your only option in popular cities. It's more about what you're close to. We could walk out of the camper and look at the ocean and the sunsets/sunrises were pretty incredible too. The weather for the week was incredible for camping. Warm during the day, and cool at night... every camper's dream.
The week absolutely flew by, but we got to try and do so many fun things. We had a couple work functions for my maritime job, including a Christmas party and BBQ dinner reception. All the food we tried was incredible. We hit some breweries, gift shops, and met some really fun people. On the final Friday after my course ended, Cameron and I enjoyed the brand-new Mississippi Aquarium followed a seafood dinner overlooking the water. Overall, Gulfport was one of our favorite spots in 2022 and we look forward to our next visit there!
If you're a frequent Camera Couple reader, you probably we know we have a map on the side of our trailer with all the states we have camped in. It's a fun little thing we do to show the places we have been in our trailer. Well Mississippi and Louisiana were two states that had been blank for a while, so we decided it only made sense to hop over the state line into Louisiana to knock them both off!
I wish I could say that this stop was as fun as our 2016 NOLA trip, however shortly after arriving at Fontainebleau State Park there was severe weather issued for the area. The Gulf can be really dangerous in the winter months for tornados, and you don't really want to take that lightly when you only have your camper for protection. We had a good few days, though. It was really mosquito-y with all the swamp areas, but the state park was huge and had lots of walking and biking options. We ended up leaving Louisiana a day early to beat the tornados, and after watching the news the following days it was a good thing we did....
GUSTY IN GEORGIA
Stop 5 and 6 along our December journey were in Georgia. After outrunning the storm in Louisiana, we high-tailed it back across the gulf. We weren't going to be completely free and clear of the storm, but leaving early at least gave us time to settle on the Florida-Georgia line where the storms wouldn't be "as severe."
While heading across the gulf we stumbled across our favorite place of all time... BUC-EES! Honestly, I don't even know how to tell anyone who doesn't know about Buc-ees, what it is. It's just magical, amazing, incredible, fantastic. You name it, it's Buc-ees. Just do yourself a favor and stop if you ever see one in your travels. They started in Texas, but have been slowly creeping into the lower Southeast, and we are thrilled.
After a satisfying Buc-ee's stop it was time to finish our journey into Georgia. We stopped at East Bank Campground, in Bainbridge, GA where we hunkered down for the storm we had out-run. We had some beautiful sunsets over the water in our campsite. It was really just us and a lot of retired couples that stuck out the storm. Thankfully, we didn't have anything as severe as Louisiana.
Since we were right on the state line, we hopped into Florida to try Johnny Macs Grill for lunch. It was a cute local spot that had a great atmosphere and friendly staff. Our waiter, Judy, was an epoxy artist who did some really cool table designs and shared some fun stories with us. Despite the couple days of weather, we had a great time in Southern Georgia and definitely want to visit there again.
The final stop in Georgia, sadly ended up being the final stop all together. What had started as a warm winter camping trip, ended with ultra-cold, gusty camping — which resulted in us returning back to NC to host Christmas instead. We arrived at Watsadler Campground in Hartwell, GA and planned to head over to South Carolina to meet John for the holiday after 3 days. The weather had other plans for us and temperatures dropped into the single digits, making camping almost unbearable. It was so cold, you really couldn't be outside for too long, and there was no way John and Bailey would be able to tent in that weather without proper gear. Even fluffy Lunabear was cold! We decided that our month on the road had well exceeded our expectations and it was as good a time as any to return home. It definitely is a gulf-tastic adventure we won't soon forget, full of amazing campgrounds, food, and lots of memories!
He likes pizza.