Saturday, November 19, 2011

Eldy Does It Again!

We are exploring a lot of different parks in the area for possible future winter stays here in Alabama. Right now we are at Gulf State Park which we think is a GREAT place to stay for future visits in the short time we've been here--three days. We are on the water for 35.70 a night on a pull through site, but there are less expensive sites to stay in the park. You can stay for as low as 25.50 a day with a senior rate if you don't mind not being on or near water. There is a relatively new pool (1 year old), nice tennis courts (no pickleball, though), good laundry facilities, a clubhouse and over 400 sites to choose from at the park. There are great bike trails and hiking trails in the 6,150 acre park.
Gulf State Park tennis courts
Gulf State Park has 2 miles of white sand beaches, the longest fishing pier in the Gulf of Mexico, a 900 acre fishing lake, and an 18 hole golf course! There are also a large number of activities to choose from. There is a biking group called Folks With Spokes that go out for regularly scheduled bike rides...

The section we were in had BIG roomy pull throughs with picnic tables and gas grills and overlooked the canal. We loved Gulf State Park, but come January, they don't take reservations, it's too late! According to some people, you can sit outside the park gate entrance and wait for people to come out so you can reserve a spot to come in if you can't get through on the phone. Who knows how long THAT could take?! I guess that's why some people choose to show up and wait at the gate for the very few sites that are available for "walk ins", something like 12 or 13 sites out of 400+!! They told us February and March are already totally booked, that's how popular this park is!

Off we went today to explore Luxury RV Resort in Gulf Shores, about the only other park in the area close to the gulf besides Gulf Shores State Park....not much luxury...crushed gravel sites close together, it looked dry and dusty, and very poorly shaded. It looked like parking in a parking lot. We crossed that one off our list. The second park we looked at was called Emmaus RV Resort. This hidden gem is in the middle of some county roads in Summerdale, AL, about 30 minutes north of Gulf Shores. You feel like you are going to be in the middle of nowhere once you get traveling the back roads to get there, but it's very centrally located to Pensacola, Mobile, and other cities. There is no problem driving a motorhome to the Emmaus Campground, the route is just on county roads. We will have photos of this park in the next day or so, because that's where we are going to be staying next.
LOTS of cotton fields in the area all around us

We passed a LOT of cotton fields on our way there. I have never seen cotton fields before or cotton close up, growing on a plant! Many of the fields have been picked, and probably by machine these days, but you can only imagine what a tough job that must have been with the rough, hard, thorny parts of the plant sticking and poking you. Cotton picking with bare hands, stooped over all day with a sack, temperatures in the 100's on many days, what a tough job!
Rough and thorny!
Some more info about Emmaus Park. Pensacola, FL is 20 minutes from the park. Mobile is about the same distance, we think. The park is a Passport America park, and the manager will honor the Passport America rate for an ENTIRE MONTH, (420.00 a month!) with full hookups, taxes are included for that rate. (11% in Alabama). She says she has NO LIMITS on the number of days to use the Passport America rate!  The P.America daily rate is 14.00 should you decide to stay a shorter amount of's a VERY quiet park and off the beaten path. The park is being developed and is trying to hang in there till the economy loosens up. It's a first rate park with what they've developed so far...classy check in, and nice facilities at the clubhouse. There is lots of shade on many of the park's cement pad/patio sites. No pool yet....It's in the works. This place is going to be a VERY classy place if they can hang on.  Only the first section has been developed, so as things grow for them, they will add to the number of their sites. We decided to stay a week there and will be spending Thanksgiving at the clubhouse with the other residents of the park eating a wonderful dinner provided by the park management which we are helping pay for, lol! Way to go, Eldo, for finding us a nice park with a great rate!

We checked out another park....Lake Osprey RV Country Club...a luxury resort under development in Elberta, AL..about 15 minutes from Gulf Shores.  This place is further along in development, but still has a long ways to go. They accept class A motorhomes, 5th wheels, and class C's....There is an infinity pool which is absolutely beautiful, and a luxurious clubhouse, with extra facilities like a Tiki bar lounge area. Rentals go from 45.00 a day/250.00 weekly/$600-700 monthly for a lakefront lot. The lake front lots are facing a lake, but the landscaping across the lake is undeveloped and it's just piles of dirt and clay at the moment. Courtyard lots are $40.00 daily/$200.00 weekly/$550.00 monthly.  Free cable, free wi-fi, and FREE laundry. We liked the weekly and monthly rentals rates but are taking a wait and see on this one......It definitely will be a quality, high class resort with its continued developments. What they've done so far is gorgeous! (And don't forget the GOLF! reminds E.) Oh, right! It sits right next to a championship 18 hole golf course and they have a partnership with the RV resort to offer a reduced rate to the park's guests.

After checking these parks today, we were delighted to catch up with our friends over dinner, Greg and Jan White at Lulu's, Jimmy Buffett's sister's restaurant. Greg and Jan said that sometimes you'll see dolphins jumping around in the causeway outside the restaurant. I swore I saw a big dark shape make a big splash but one blink, and it was gone.

We had a nice dinner and enjoyed Greg and Jan's stories about where they've been, and we got a little information about the area from them on the way home. One of the interesting things we learned was, that the local Hooter's restaurant is the "world's smallest Hooter's."  It's a double wide mobile home! When an impending hurricane is going to hit the coast, they pack up the restaurant and temporarily haul it to a safer location!

Tomorrow, we head over to Emmaus RV Park, but before we go, Sparky is going to head out on a bike trail and share that with you....We'll see you there.....Wish we could have spent more time at the Gulf State Park, it's HUGE and there is so much more to explore there, but it's above our budget staying by the day, at least it was on the water. Cheapest rate for other sections in the park with no senior discounts is 30.00 a day..right at our budget...It was just one of those things where we didn't know how much we were going to like it, so we committed to just three days. We'll know to stay longer next time!  Bye for now......


  1. thanks for the park info in that area as we will be looking for places in late feb or early march...

  2. Check out Gulf Breeze Not on the water, but convenient to everything.

  3. We have reservations to stay there in April for 3 weeks. It's nice to know it's a good place to stay, thanks. The only thing we didn't like is that we can't actually reserve a water front/side space and that's what we really want. Oh well, we'll see what happens. Smiles

  4. We landed by chance at the Gulf Shores State Park one rainy night when there were only 3 open sites left when we called... and by the time we drove the 10 miles to get there was only ONE site left. Turns out it was under a tree and next to the bathrooms and nobody liked it. We didn't care, at least we made it in!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  5. I love that you are sharing info about RV parks along the way. I've been bookmarking the sites. It's so much better when you know someone's review is on the money. . .than trying to figure it out from a website.

    I want to start doing this on my website too. . .one step at a time.

    Have a great stay,

  6. Gulf state Park is a very nice place. We left Tues after a weeks stay. Did not see much as we were down with colds, but could certainly go back and enjoy the area.

    We also thought the luxury RV park was poorly named:)

  7. If you are an Escapee's member, there is a park right there in Summerdale. It is off the beaten path also. Nice job with the reviews.

  8. Can't believe Gulf State Park is that expensive now. And it always was a busy place but we never realized it was that busy!