1 – Skidaway Island State Park
- We follow a few RV’ing blogs to get ideas on interesting places to visit. One of our favorites is WatsonsWander. They had traveled through some of the same areas that we are heading to, so after hearing their positive reviews of Skidaway Island, we decided to make this a stop for 10 days.
- Located just south of historic Savannah, Skidaway Island State Park borders Skidaway narrows, a part of Georgia’s intracoastal waterway. Trails wind through forest and past salt marsh, forming multiple loops. You can find deer, fiddler crabs, squirrels, raccoon, egrets and other wildlife. Did I mention squirrels, lots of squirrels.
- This is a gorgeous place to camp, with large sites, well removed from your neighbors, and with clean rest rooms, showers and a laundry area. Camping areas are under beautiful live oaks draped with Spanish moss.
- This is a great park for walking, hiking, biking, and exploring. The trails are through the wooded areas with good shade and have interesting overlooks out across the marsh or the river. Everyday we would hit the trails to go explore. There is a nearby shopping village just outside of the park that was an easy walk.
- There is a shuttle provided by Old Town Trolley for a “hop on, hop off” all day narrated tour of Savannah that will pick you up at the park entrance.
- If you don’t have your own, you can rent bicycles at the Ranger station. I did see one unique rental bicycle, it was a standup elliptical bike.
- Tybee Island’s beaches are less than an hour away. On one of our day trips we drove around Tybee Island and then went to The Crab Shack, a quirky tourist eatery along the water. Very casual dining, but good food. You are near the water, which means swarms of gnats. The condiment tray on the table included bug spray!
- Another day trip had us going to the Mighty 8th Air Force Heritage Museum. Opened in 1996, the Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum in Savannah, GA is a tribute to the men and women who bravely fought the bombing war over Europe during World War II. It shows the history of this branch of the Air Force up to current times, including the squadron I was assigned to in Utah.
2 – Petersburg (US Army Corps of Engineers)
- Petersburg campground is on the 70,000- acre Thurmond Lake, which is the largest Corps of Engineers Lake east of the Mississippi River, located north of Augusta, GA. It contains two swimming beaches, a fishing pier, the nationally recognized 27-mile Batram Trail, a pond, and a group picnic shelter.
- Like most COE campgrounds, it’s very nice. Well paved roads, widely spaced huge gravel-sand sites with a nice table and are mostly level. Right on the lake views. The campground follows the hills about the lakeshore and is up and down hilly. It is several miles to the Thurmond dam and COE vistor centers with a complete history of the building of the dam and its value to the area in flood control, recreation, and electrical power. The entire Thurmond lake area has an incredible number of recreational opportunities. If only I had a boat!
- When we first arrived it was a weekday, the park was almost deserted at our end. It was just us and one other RV neighbor on our loop. After we had set up, our neighbor came over and chatted for a while. Gene is the owner of a local bicycle shop in Augusta and was taking a mini vacation with his son. Later that afternoon, his son came over with a few fried fish fillets that he had caught earlier that day. Yummy! And the next afternoon, Gene treated us to a tour of the lake on his pontoon boat with his little Yorkie.
- This is also a great place to catch the mountain bike trailheads. Didn’t have to drive anywhere, they are right outside the maingate. This was something new to try, riding on true mountain bike single track. Well, I went about a mile, winding up and down the steep hills and then thought I would do better on the paved roads. Our bikes are not hard core off-road bikes and my skills didn’t match the trail.
- Augusta had a nice farmers market in the downtown area near the riverfront.
3 – Doll Mountain (US Army Corps of Engineers)
- Doll Mountain campground is perched on a peninsula formed by a ridge protruding into Carters Lake. The 3,200 acre lake, located near Ellijay in north Georgia, is contained by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the largest earthen dam east of the Mississippi (the lake is 450′ deep). The Coosawattee River feeds the lake year round, providing great conditions for wildlife observation, fishing, and water sports.
- After visiting many dams during our travels out west, I thought this facility would be pretty much the same. But no, I learned something new here. This is a newer dam, built in late 60’s, and they used newer technology. One difference from older dams is a downstream reservoir. Below the dam is a 1,000-acre retention and re-regulation lake. During electrical low-demand periods, they can take water from this re-regulation lake and pump it back into Carters Lake, to have more water available during peak electrical usage times. Clever. And it’s all done using one of the 5 generators/turbines operating in reverse.
- Doll Mountain is a beautiful, tranquil, well maintained park in a wonderful lake setting. The sites are very high above the lake so access is difficult. Very quiet setting, and although the access road has numerous twists and turns and is fairly steep, our motorhome had no difficulty with entry. When leaving the park the final time, we kept the Jeep disconnected from the RV for the climb out of the park and connected before we hit the main road.
- Although the walk from one end of the campground to the other was only about 3 miles, it felt like much more after climbing the steep hills.
- On one walk, the breeze was in our face, carrying our scent away. I could see movement of a small animal coming through the trees, it was a fox and he wasn’t aware of us at all. We got quiet and stood still and the fox kept getting closer. Just as it stopped and raised it’s leg to pee on a tree, he noticed us. That fox jumped straight up and took off running down the slope.
- We made a few trips into Ellijay and the surrounding mountain towns. Downtown historic Ellijay is great for browsing through the shops and grabbing a bite to eat at the many restaurant choices. And driving further up the winding roads, we made it to the Mountain Valley Farm store, a great organic farm that has grass feed beef and pork, homemade sausage, eggs and huge blocks of butter. They have a small area just to the side of the store with observation pens for the goats, chickens, and one young calf. Rabbits are running all over, you have to watch closely when leaving the parking lot.
Our next stop will be near Chattanooga, TN to visit family.