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Layover Campgrounds [Feb. 1st, 2012|09:39 am]
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We took a week to get from Hot Springs to Pensacola, which was our next destination stop. When we’re travelling the way we prefer, we drive no more than 250 miles a day and take a day or two between drives to just enjoy the journey. J and I group our campgrounds into two categories: destination campgrounds, which are places we want to stay for a week or two, and layover campgrounds, places which are picked for cost and convenience more than any desire to spend time there. Our two layover campgrounds on this trip were both pretty good.

Chicot County RV Park was actually great; we had a site with a spectacular view over the ox-bow lake which borders the park. The sites are huge and they have parking pads in front, doubling the width of each driveway. Makes it very easy to get parked, in pleasant contrast to Pine Bluff. The beautiful sites along the lake are water and electric only, but the sites on the road side are full hook-up if that’s needed. It’s an easy day’s drive from Hot Springs, so I expect we’ll be there again if we’re headed south and east from my MIL’s. We extended our stay a bit and spent four nights there; the weather was iffy but warmer, so that was good.

From there we took the US highways diagonally to Hattiesburg, MS. Great roads; in this neck of the woods they are better than the interstates, with less traffic and smoother road surfaces. Shorter was just a bonus. We made our way off the main road and down a small lane to Okatoma River RV Park, an ok park for a layover, with sand roads and pull-through FHU sites for about $24 per night. The sites ring a small lake and there are other ponds on the property, the remnants of gravel pits, we learned. Not much wow factor, but handy to a good sized town, which is convenient. There’s a long narrow driveway in and another out of the campground; when we left we had to take the entrance road because the utility company was working in the exit driveway.

We were happy to get back on the road and head for Pensacola and Fort Pickens National Seashore. We’d driven through the park in 2010 while we were staying at Blackwater River State Park and loved it. It’s W/E only, located in the center of the barrier island so you have to walk or bike maybe 300 yards from the campground to the beach on either side. There’s not much to the barrier island it’s on, either. They tell you to call a hotline number before you come to check and make sure that the road to the park is open. It floods with tide surge, apparently.

We made the requisite check in call, got clearance, and had no trouble getting into the park. Looking at the driveway from the road to the reservation office, it didn’t appear to be passable for our rig. (When I went back I found it would have been fine, but we don’t drive down roads we don’t know will hold us. It’s a rule.) We drove straight to the campground instead and got setup in our reserved site before I went back to the office to check in. I was third in line, so I got to hear the whole “check-in spiel” three times. I’ve learned, people get in a rut with what every camper needs to know on checking in. And telling the registrar that you don’t need to hear it again actually makes things take longer, because they have to think about what to say rather than running on conversational rails