As we left Jonathan Dickinson State Park on Wednesday morning, November 26th, headed for our next destination, once again we asked ourselves the usual question – would we want to return? A most definite yes! For some reason, the lack of trees and the noise from A1A/US1 didn’t bother us. We liked the park overall, the layout of the sites, the super-friendly staff, the clearly superior management and the fact that there was so much to do in the park as well as the immediate area. So yes, we will definitely return here in the future.
Our next destination would be Savannas Recreation Area, a Port St. Lucie County Park on East Midway Road in Fort Pierce, a very short 30 miles drive on A1A/US1N. Being the Thanksgiving holiday week, it was tough finding a reservation but luckily this county park had a spot for us.
Despite another boneheaded, circuitous and totally illogical route provided by Mrs. Rand McNally (Mrs. Google had it right) we turned right onto E. Midway Road, then a left onto Camp Ground Road. Do NOT let your GPS take you in via SR707 (S. Indian River Drive), it is a beautifully scenic drive, but very narrow, even for a car. Also when setting your destination, the EAST in the E. Midway Rd. address is very important, else you will end up somewhere you don’t want to be. The map below has the correct location.
Be aware also that there is a Florida Savannas Preserve State Park nearby which has 9 campsites but these are only for the volunteers at the park and not open to the public. More about the State Park in a future post.
When I called to make reservations (can only be made by phone) at the County Park, I was surprised that I wasn’t given a confirmation number nor was I asked for credit card information. That’s unusual! In fact so unusual that I called them several days before our arrival just to confirm our reservation. Yes indeed they had it! Bad enough being away from family on Thanksgiving but having to spend it in a WalMart parking lot would not be my idea of fun!
We didn’t really know what to expect but as we drove into the entrance around 1:00 p.m., we were quite pleasantly surprised – it was much nicer than we anticipated. At the office/Trading Post, we were assigned to site #40. BTW, the office is an old style “Cracker House” built sometime between 1890 and 1912, relocated to the park and renovated as a Trading Post/registration office.
Bordering the wide, big rig friendly packed gravel roadways in the park are fairly wide canals – perfect for canoeing or kayaking and fishing and open to the public for free. Just be aware of all the “Do Not Feed the Alligator” signs because during our stay we saw several lazing in the grass next to the canals as well as a couple of pretty large turtles. Not sure why alligators are so exciting to us still, Floridians probably view them much the same way we New Englanders view squirrels! More of a nuisance than anything else!
There are four types of campsites available here: primitive, unimproved (no electricity), fully improved (48 sites) with water, sewer, electric (30/50 amp) and 13 group sites. Not sure what the cost is for each type of site but our daily rate for a full hook-up site was $25.25 which is much cheaper than other RV parks we have stayed at in the area (not counting the FL State Parks that we get into for the 1/2 price Sr. resident rate, most of those cost us only about $12/night).
The sites are packed gravel with some grass, mostly back-ins with a separate parking spot for your vehicle and have sufficient space between them with some shrubbery offering a little bit of privacy. Some sites (#1-26) are directly on the canals but these sites didn’t look as roomy as the area we were in (#35-48) which borders the golf course. These sites have a pretty spacious “back yard” and a small canal that runs behind each of the campsites. Sites #27-34 are tent sites.
Amenities include a fire ring, a picnic table, hot/cold showers, public restrooms, WiFi (for registered guests only), laundry, pavilions, picnic shelters, a pow wow arena, a dog park, several short walking trails and a boat ramp.
Be aware that the campground is located next to a golf course – it emphatically states on their Rules and Regulation sheet that the Recreation Area and County are not responsible for damage, losses, claims, expenses or injury resulting from golf balls from the adjoining course. Indeed, we did find a couple of balls in our “back yard”, but there are enough trees in the buffer zone to make a damage incident highly unlikely.
Unlike Florida State Parks where usually the maximum stay is 14 days, here RV campers can reserve a campsite for a maximum of 155 days in a 12 month period. Tent campers may reserve a campsite for a maximum of 14 days and must be outside the campground for 3 days before returning and may only stay a maximum of 28 days in a 6 month period. Reservations can be made a year in advance. Best to make them early – the woman at the desk told us that after January, they are completely booked.
Lots of wildlife here! Alligators, turtles (sorry no pics), even a feral pig and lots of birds. Gary & Nancy from Oregon who we met at Myrtle Beach SP were here at the same time – they saw the feral pig but we didn’t. Some people down the road from us put out corn each day which attracted sand hill cranes to their site. Talk about huge, what stately birds they are! As we inched closer to them, they flew off – the whoosh of their wings sounded like a jet plane was nearby (well, maybe not quite that loud but they were pretty noisy)!
After we got settled in, I convinced hubby that we needed to take a ride to Nelson’s Family Farm which was just a few miles away. I needed a Meyer Lemon for a recipe I wanted to try (String Beans with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette and Parmesan Bread Crumbs) I was making on Thanksgiving. They didn’t have that particular type of lemon but recommended another less tart type which worked well in my recipe. I was afraid that the day before T-Day it would be packed – it was busy but not too bad. In addition to the lemons, we couldn’t resist some Ruby Red grapefruit and a few other things so it was a worthwhile trip. I have to say they had a lot of exotic fruits and veggies that I had never seen before (guess that’s why they are exotic, right?) but some of them unfortunately weren’t labelled so I can’t write about them. One I did recognize – prickly pear cactus anyone?
Once we returned from our quick trip, we settled in for the night after enjoying a short walk and a beautiful sunset. Over the next few days we enjoyed some things that we had done before and a few new things. More later.
More photos of Savannas Recreation Area….