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Old 09-17-2018, 02:02 PM   #1
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Need recommendations for Overnight stays

Hello. My husband and I are planning our maiden voyage in our "new to us" Airstream Safari 25ft. We will be traveling from central Florida to Arizona (using I-10) and are looking for suggestions and/or recommendations of where to stay overnight. We don't need to hook up, just a place to park that has a restroom! We are thinking that our first stop would most likely be along the panhandle of Florida, or somewhere in Alabama or Louisianna.

Are rest areas a good place?

Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:39 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

You have asked a very broad question, so you may get many unrelated replies which may be overwhelming. The new search function in the blue box above works great. It is powered by Google to search only this site, and may be worth checking out. For instance:

“Florida rest stops” — https://www.google.com/search?q=Flor...=airforums.com
Walmart overnight — http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ing-13082.html

Have a great trip!

Peter
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:42 PM   #3
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I've never stayed in a "Rest Stop". First off, they tend to be filled with diesel running 18 wheelers. Secondly, many of them will say no overnight parking. If I just need a place to sleep for the night, I look for places with no 18 wheelers.

My first choice is a city/county park that allows free overnight parking. There is one near Houston in Winnie Texas - Stowell County Park Campground and another in Hakamer Texas called Whites Park Campground. Another in Junction TX called Schreiner City Park. My second choice is a low-cost city/county park - about $10/night. There is one in Welsh Louisiana - John Blank Sportsman Park. One in Vidor TX - Clairborne West Park Campground. I haven't stayed at any of the above but hear the Junction TX one is nice. Some of the free places ask for a donation where I gladly donate and I always buy fuel in the town and probably dinner.

My second choice is a retail parking lot. My first choice here is Cracker Barrel - where I pull in near dusk, turn on the generator and A/C and go in and eat dinner. I then ask for permission to stay overnight in their RV parking. I've never been told that I could not stay overnight. I turn off my generator and A/C when I go to sleep. My next choice would be a Sam's Club and then Walmart. Here I always buy fuel, groceries, maybe a propane exchange tank and again ask for permission to stay the night. They will probably tell you where to park, such as "park on the east side of the building". Again, I've never been turned down and use the same generator and A/C etiquette.

And finally, most casinos will let you park overnight. I stayed at Harrahs in Biloxi the last time I traveled on I-10 in a gravel parking lot on the west side of the casino where overnighting RVs are allowed. Here again, I went in and asked permission then went to eat at their waterfront cafe. I highly recommend this location for the waterfront dining. Again, same A/C and generator etiquette.

When I get to my destination, I look for those beautiful and scenic campsites where you can do more than eat dinner, buy fuel and sleep for the night.

Enjoy the journey to your destination. Many times I enjoy the journey as much as the destination because I love to "travel".
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:46 PM   #4
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Topsail state park in FL (near Orange Beach)
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:49 PM   #5
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There is another good one we stumbled on in LA called Fontainbleau State Park on the North shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:17 AM   #6
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There is an Airstream campsite in Pensacola.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:17 AM   #7
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Check out Harvesthosts.com! It's a website that lists participating vineyards and farms that offer their parking lot space for free in return for you coming in and sampling (and presumably purchasing) their wares. You get a free overnight spot in a pretty place, and some great wine. They get free advertising. Win-win!!
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:56 AM   #8
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First off, welcome and congrats.

We live just south of you in Vero Beach and used to live in Indialantic. My wife and I have made the trip west with the AS three times including to Arizona.

In my opinion, the first question you need to ask yourselves is "how hard do we want to push it to get there?". For trips of 2 weeks or more, in the first year after we got the AS, we would drive 4 hours a day (that means 6+ on the road including stops for lunch, gas, a little shopping or sightseeing, etc.). We would stay put for one day each week while in transit... longer when we got "there"... wherever that was.

In each year since, we reduced the pace to make trips more relaxed, to see and experience more things along the way and to enjoy our time together (we are retired, but not ready for assisted living quite yet, thanks).

So, what's your pace for this trip?

We stay at state or federal parks. We avoid commercial campgrounds, big box store parking lots, interstate rest areas, truck stops, etc.. We travel with generators, full fresh water, 100 pounds of propane and anything else to allow us to go days and days without hookups.

I swear by AllStays for planning trips and am devoted to Reserve America and Google Maps satellite view to scope out campground details. I use google maps driving directions to plan driving hours and distance. TripAdvisor is helpful to pick an interesting lunch spot.

Given that, our first night out from the east coast of Florida might be Steven Foster Folk Cultural Center if we are heading northwest or Rainbow Springs State Park if we want the Gulf route and a slow pace. Any of several parks on the gulf in the panhandle are a second night stop at our slower pace, but could be night 1 if you are trying to push west faster. Topsail Hill is a good choice. For us at a slow pace that has even been night 3.

So, if you need more let me know. I have spreadsheets with full itineraries (I'm a retired corporate ops exec and descended from Germans... I can't help myself). If our style of travel is what you are aiming for you may find our prior trips a helpful starting point. If you want to go faster... or a LOT faster... you might skip every other stop or even omit two out of three. Either way, I strongly recommend deciding HOW you want to travel before picking WHERE you want to stay.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:11 AM   #9
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I may be missing something here, but don't you have restroom in your trailer?
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:56 AM   #10
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Having traversed the "loneliest hiway" several times (from "sea to shining sea"), if your trip is just a straight through, no site seeing, then I stop at 1) Walmarts 2) Cracker barrel then 3) Interstate rest stops (implementing the etiquette stated previously). Otherwise seek out national/state parks and other out of the way locations (like taking US 90 instead of the slab, but...)
I use my smartphone to get locations for each (like Google search "1-10 rest areas westbound" or "- state").
The above posters are right about rest stops being as bad as truck stops but a diesel will run all night in a Walmart parking lot, also.
Because of bad press (or, in spite of it) panhandle rest stops have great security - although I would recommend the Walmart(s) up that way, like Defuniak Springs (again, using my smart phone to locate them, or Google search "walmarts along I-10 in Florida"). From Melburne you could spend your first night in FL unless you're making great time and end up in Biloxi!
From Melbourne to San Antonio you have plenty of choices but when you get to west Texas, those choices get a bit thin. I usual stop in Van Horn, then it's a day trip to Tucson from there (Phoenix is another couple hours or so).
Speed limit in West Texas is 80 MPH but I doubt you'll do more than 60, so account for that rate of speed.
Another case where a smart phone and a Verizon account is worth its weight in... whatever. I prefer Android. Google has the search thing nailed. Siri? not so much.
Hope this helps!
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Old 09-18-2018, 12:47 PM   #11
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Public Campgrounds

My preference for stopping en route is to stay at public campgrounds; State, County, Municipal, USFS, Corps of Engineers or "dispersed camping" on USFS or BLM (in the west). I use the "UC Public CG" app, among others.

When I'm at a point about 1-2 hours from happy hour, my wife will look ahead for a public CG, not too far off our route. We've never had a problem finding a spot in an area we desire (give or take 30 minutes), and can frequently find elect hookup on hot nights for AC. We typically pay $20 or less to camp. Corps and USFS CGs are 1/2 price with golden eagle or America the beautiful card. Some of these interim stops can be as wonderful as the destination! Have fun!
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Old 09-18-2018, 12:51 PM   #12
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Oh Boy, it's going to get confusing real quick

Quote:
Originally Posted by jageiss View Post
Hello. My husband and I are planning our maiden voyage in our "new to us" Airstream Safari 25ft. We will be traveling from central Florida to Arizona (using I-10) and are looking for suggestions and/or recommendations of where to stay overnight. We don't need to hook up, just a place to park that has a restroom! We are thinking that our first stop would most likely be along the panhandle of Florida, or somewhere in Alabama or Louisianna.

Are rest areas a good place?

Thank you in advance for your help.
Welcome to the forum

The answer is, well, it depends-----------

I get the feeling that you are kinda new to this and that's OK.

Rather than suggest places to stay as along HWY 10, as there are a bizzilion, I would recommend you use some RV Park apps such as ALL Stays or Yelp or even the Sam's Club RV Travel Site Directory to sort out the sites along the way. A lot depends upon how far each day you plan to travel, what kind of facility you prefer ( i.e. Camp Sites; boon docking or full hookups or RV Parks with full hookups)

Here's an idea, why not do a week-end near your home at local RV Park (Sams Club or even KOA) or a Camp ground to sort out what you like and don't like to give you a starting point. After that it will give you some idea what you will be looking for on your travels.

Enjoy your adventure and be safe.

Hugh------
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:04 PM   #13
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Speed limit in West Texas is 80 MPH but I doubt you'll do more than 60, so account for that rate of speed.

Good Point! I typically travel faster than the average AirForum member, but I always use 50 MPH as a planning speed. Want to travel 400 miles in a day? I'd plan on that taking eight hours (400 miles divided by 50 MPH equals 8 hours). I calculate my average mph on each trip and its uncanny how it always averages to just over 50 mph with potty breaks, fuel stops, lunch stops, interesting sites to explore on the road . . .
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:29 PM   #14
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As to HarvestHosts, of which I am a member, there is pretty much nothing if one is on I-10.

We have stayed at:

Atchafalaya Rest Stop / Info Center in Louisianna (largest swamp in the US!). Clean, security, lots of others doing the same thing.

Walmart, Las Cruces, NM at the Old Mesilla exit (and close to a Crackerbarrel as well). Clean and bright, parking near garden center.

Walmart in Fort Stockton, TX. A very busy spot for overnighters, must have been nearly 20 the last time we stopped there, though is was a Friday night.

There is a new rest area just west of Fort Stockton, TX that should be open.

There is a free app called "USA Rest Stops" that you might find helpful, and of course "Allstays" which will cost maybe $10, but pays for itself in one use. Covers pretty much all available spots, free and not free.
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