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Old 12-05-2015, 07:44 PM   #1
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Help us decide where to go.

We are new to the airstream life 2014 23D International ( 6 nights so far) in our first month. We will be in south Alabama for Christmas. And will have 8 days before the kiddos have got to be back in school. We are looking for a national or state park with full hook up to go Dec. 28th -Jan. 4th. We could drive and possibly overnight at Walmart or cracker barrel and then arrive the next day around lunch. Trying to keep driving to no more than 12 hrs or so. We have two kids one 12 and one 7. We tried Disney but they are booked. We where thinking Big Bend but that's like 18 hrs. We are not sure about cold weather and snow with the trailer.
PLEASE HELP!!!!
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:08 PM   #2
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Best recommendation I could make is to download the AllStays app. It's $10 but worth every penny. You can search for specific camps (like state or private or COE, etc) and get all the info you need including contact info for reservations.

Good luck and happy camping!
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:46 PM   #3
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Anybody ever been to the crater of diamonds in AK?
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:40 PM   #4
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Turkey Lake (city park but similar to state park) in Orlando is good possibility. I have reservation after Christmas which I will be canceling and can talk about coordinating with you if interested. If weather is good and don't want to go so far, look at st George or st joe state parks. I occasionally have courtesy parking available in Mobile with 30 amp and water so check with me if that fits into your travel plans.
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Old 12-06-2015, 06:35 AM   #5
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Meaher State Park on the Causeway east of Mobile has full hookups with showers in the bathhouse, laundry, etc. Very nice place.
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Old 12-06-2015, 07:22 AM   #6
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Big Bend is too far to go when you only have a week, IMO.

The AllStays app is excellent, and allows you to filter for what you want in type of campground and amenities, tho you are not going to find full hookups in a national park.

I would recommend either of the Gulf Islands National Seashore campgrounds....there is one in Alabama, another in Mississippi. Both are great and have clean shower facilities, allowing your holding tanks to last longer.

Take your kids bikes, take long walks, cook outside, look for alligators, do some sightseeing from your location, etc.

Have a great time.


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Old 12-06-2015, 08:33 AM   #7
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Maggie has good a suggestion on the Gulf Island NP campgrounds. The Mississippi one is Davis Bayou in Ocean Springs. The other is Fort Pickens and is actually in Florida next to Pensacola Beach and as name suggests it is a beach campground versus more of marsh style at Davis. There is a good Alabama state park at Gulf Shores with miles of bike trails. Meager right outside Mobile is also nice. My favorite panhandle parks are St George and St Joseph as previously recommended other excellent panhandle area state parks are Grayton, Topsail and St Andrews.
However if you're like me and want to wait for warmer weather for these beach campgrounds and don't mind 8-10 hours of driving, I would look at central Florida where it will be 5-10 degrees warmer and less wind and the kids might enjoy theme parks . In addition to Turkey Lake, look at Ft Desoto a Pinelles County park near Tampa. There are a number of good state parks in that area but will likely be full this time of year.
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:21 AM   #8
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I agree with the previous poster regarding Gulf Shores State Park in southern Alabama. It's a beautiful place with full hook ups and the whole area is great for kids also. Their is a huge Bass Pro Shop within a short driving distance. All Florida state parks are very busy this time of year so be sure to make a reservation before driving and being turned away.
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:52 AM   #9
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If you can take the drive ( really, if the kids can take it) Big Bend might be fun. One year when the kids had Thanksgiving week off from school, we drove out from Atlanta. We left Friday after school to get in some miles and stayed at a Walmart that night ( our first time at a Walmart and that was one of the hits of the trip for the kids - go figure). Then we did one very long day and a shorter one. Not sure how old your kids are - ours were about 12 and 15. It might be too much for little ones. We started very early in the morning on our long drive day and the kids slept in the backseat which helped I think. We did a full Thanksgiving dinner on Thanskgiving day - deep fried turkey and all the fixings. The nice thing about going to Big Bend if your kids haven't traveled a lot is that it's so different scenery wise. It was a very memorable trip for our kids since it was our first "western" trip. We all have nice memories of the trip ( the memories of the long drive have receded) and great pictures. I think it depends on how old your kids are and how much everyone is up for an adventure. The park is huge and it's a long drive from Marathon to the inside of the park - not sure how close other areas are for full hookup but check distance if that's what you decide to do. If you need full hookups, the park does have an area for that but it's really just a parking lot. The prettiest camping is in the no hook-up area but I'm not sure if you're up for that. There are no showers there - I can't remember if they had bathrooms or not but they must. There are water spigots at different spots in the campground. Hope that helps you make your decision.
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:00 AM   #10
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One other thing. Don't give up on Disney if that's what you really want to do. For several years, we decided around Thanksgiving to go to WDW. Of course the campground was booked. But we called every day ( maybe a couple of time some days) and we always got a spot due to cancellations. ( this worked for us about 4 or 5 times and Ive heard the same thing from others). You may want to have a plan B but based on our experience and what I've heard from others, you have a good chance of getting a spot. The key is persistence in calling.
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Old 12-06-2015, 11:12 AM   #11
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Help us decide where to go.

Not sure if it's too far from you but when we lived in AL we loved camping with the kids at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, GA. They do a fun snow area with inner tubing and they have an amusement park for children...the campsites were amazing. Click image for larger version

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Old 12-06-2015, 12:01 PM   #12
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Ron Coleman Mine: Quartz Crystals Galore!

Kids with lots of energy. Treasure everywhere to be found. Nobody leaves empty handed.

Not Crater of Diamonds, Arkansas... as even for adults it takes a lot of effort, equipment and the kids will be wanting to leave the place after an hour.

Not far away is OUR favorite rock hunting place in Arkansas. Crater of Diamonds is... a distant second. Found no diamonds, but figured out what equipment we would need to do it right. Upon entry, the park will loan you tools to dig. It is like finding a bead in a football field, but they announce for everyone to hear when someone finds a diamond. More for older kids.

Quartz Digging for all ages!

Ron Coleman Mine. Jessieville, Arkansas. Actually an open pit for Quartz Crystals. They have a decent RV Park, showers, restrooms and just outside of the mine. It use to cost $20 per adult for sunrise to sunset crystal hunting. Children may be less. The campsite was reasonable and paved. Our 23 foot Airstream fit easily at any of them. Call them 800-291-4484.

Dump trucks bring up tailings from the mine and dump loads onto the large triple football field flat surface for anyone to dig through for crystals. Safe for kids and adults.

Bring empty five gallon buckets for crystals.
Bring garden tools, a shovel or two to "dig the red gritty dirt to expose loose crystals".
If it rains... the crystals are washed out and EVERYWHERE! No body goes empty handed.
Wear gloves... sharp edges on broken crystals.
Bring extra clothes for just digging. You will be red for a few days.
If you find no crystals... Coleman's will give you some.

When they first opened, they brought up so many absolutely crystal clear crystals in their tailings... that it hurt their business. After four or five years, they were a bit more careful not to bring $100 crystals to find with $20 admissions. The first three years we went every three day long holiday weekend.

The first time, my wife and I actually dreamed about digging crystals and could not wait for the sun to rise, the gate to open and pay our $20 each to DIG, DIG and DIG.

Kids will go nuts. Adults will go nuts. I am nuts for crystals.

Ron Coleman. Not Jim Coleman, as that is another more difficult open pit area.

Ron Coleman used to have a restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Otherwise, just on the highway to the north is a decent "hamburger & fries" restaurant. Or... go to Hot Springs to the south.

For adults and kids I rate the Ron Coleman Mine 15 out of a perfect 10. YOU will return.
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Old 12-06-2015, 12:01 PM   #13
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We stayed at Sephard St. Park a few years ago and it was fine. There are some great parks near Destin, Fl. There is one on the beach right in town that we looked at last Christmas that is great. Destin is very nice. We have never stayed at a Georgia Park we did not like.
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Old 12-06-2015, 12:26 PM   #14
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I stayed at Mystic Springs Cove Airstream park. Close to Pensacola and not that far from other attractions in the panhandle. You have to be a WBCCI Member and there is nothing there for kids, but it is a very inexpensive place to stay (full hook ups) and I used it as a jump off point for sightseeing
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