A Semi Quiet Weekend at Fort McAllister
After we settled into our site at Fort McAllister on Friday afternoon, November 7th, we took a walk to the Ogeechee River where there’s a boat ramp, a dock and a fish pier. You can even rent kayaks and canoes if you want to explore the river. Pretty view from here!
When we first arrived at Fort McAllister campground we had seen a sign for the Magnolia Trail which is one of the 4.3 miles of trails within the State Park. The trail head for the 1.3 mile Magnolia Trail was fairly close to our site so even though it was getting close to sunset we decided we still had time to explore it. It always feels good to take a walk or bike ride on our travel days. Although it wasn’t a long drive on this particular day, getting some exercise felt good. Plus it was a beautiful day, perfect for a relaxing, peaceful walk in the woods!
After our walk, we returned to our campsite where it was time to enjoy a campfire and the rest of the relaxing evening.
As mentioned in our previous post, our plans for a sightseeing excursion in Savannah were thwarted by the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon. Visiting Fort McAllister didn’t seem like a good idea either due to the GA Geocaching weekend group event taking place and the possibility of a large crowd. So what would we do?
Several people that we had met over the past few years had recommended Skidaway State Park and we had tried to make a reservation but there were no available sites for that weekend. Since we still want to see Savannah at some future date, we decided to take a ride to Skidaway SP about 45 minutes away to see what it was like. Along the way, we stopped at Waffle House for a quick breakfast.
Even though it was a Saturday (or maybe because it was a Saturday?), there was a lot of traffic and a few spots where we were crawling at 5 mph. Despite the slow going we eventually made it to Skidaway Island. Some of the reviews we read on the forums indicated that it was necessary to drive through downtown Savannah to get to the state park. Not so. Those folks must be using a Rand McNally GPS! We would recommend just telling Mrs. GPS to stuff a sock in it. For approaches from either the north or south, the best approach is to just stay on I-95 exiting onto GA-204 east (exit 94) which is mostly 4 lane divided – this will take you all the way to Skidaway with no drama except maybe some traffic delays due to the stoplights. Very minimal if any low branches along this route.
The area surrounding Skidaway State Park reminded us of a miniature version of Hilton Head. The majority of the land is private and behind gates, roads are bordered by lots of trees, flowering shrubs and palmettos providing a camouflage for retail and other commercial buildings which were set way back from the main road, low profile signs and lots of residential golf course communities. There was a marine research facility but we couldn’t tell if it was open to the public.
As we approached the State Park, we were surprised that aside from a gas station, a small market and a restaurant there wasn’t much there so shopping or dining out during a stay there will likely require leaving the island.
Skidaway State Park has 87 sites, 17 of which are full hookup sites. When we arrived at the entrance gate, the ranger gave us a map and explained to us that the full hookup sites have a yellow stripe on the site marker, 50A (no sewer) sites have a blue stripe, and 30A (no sewer) sites don’t have any stripe. Pretty nice campground – sites seemed to be well spaced with plenty of privacy between them. Roadways and loops were comfortably wide, mostly straight and lacked closely encroaching trees. Eventually we found the full hookup sites most of which seem to be in “Campground Section #2”. All are supposedly at least 50′ in length so big enough for our rig. We definitely would favor staying here (vs. Fort McAllister) next time we are in the area. Skidaway is also a lot closer to Savannah downtown.
After we left the State Park, we headed back towards Fort McAllister, stopping at a Sam’s Club to stock up on a few items.
That night we enjoyed another campfire. All of the weekend warriors had arrived in the tenting area so there was an almost enjoyable background hum of people and kids having a good time.
On Sunday morning, there was a parade of tenters and RV’ers leaving the campground. By early afternoon the entire park had pretty much emptied out so we were pretty much by ourselves. Ah, yes, serenity, how nice it is!
I mentioned in the last post that the couple across from us were avid geocachers and I guess after talking to them on Friday night the geocaching bug bit us again! Those of you who have been following our blog might remember we got hooked on geocaching after learning about it from Lee & Denise when we were in Carrabelle in February of 2013.
We hadn’t searched for any since May when we were in East Greenwich, RI. There were plenty in the area to find but I guess we were just too busy doing other things and working on projects. On Sunday morning I checked our c:geo app on our phones and sure enough there were a number of them nearby which makes sense – why would the GA geocachers have an event at Fort McAllister if there weren’t any geocaches there?
With our phones in hand, the hunt was on – the first stop was by the fish pier where it didn’t take long for us to find the first one. Woo hoo!
We quickly discovered another one on our way to the Magnolia Trail. Guess it didn’t take long for us to be hooked again. Walking the trail again was nice – it was a beautiful day and we were the only ones on the trail. And then we found another and another, and another…..after we walked the entire trail we walked out of the campground down the road towards a small overlook where we found another one. Nine total bringing our count up to 30. Well, that was a productive geocaching day! It also brought us to some new vistas that we would have missed just by following the trail.
There were more caches but they were too far away so we would either have to hop in the car or ride our bikes so we decided to call it quits. Besides we had things to do in prep for our departure the next day. So back to the coach we went where we spent a quiet evening.
Where will our next stop be? Stay tuned to find out.
So happy to see that we got you hooked on caching! I am going to miss that part of rving but there are so many around here that we have yet to find. As far as rving goes we are just not cut out to be full-timers and our fifth wheel was too big for not being full-timers. Plus I could not drive that frickin’ dually! (and it was frustrating watching Lee try to maneuver it…….way too many K-turns!) We are casually looking at other options but in no rush. Our plans to sell our house and move to the Seattle area have been dropped due to the fact that our oldest and wife want to move in 5years to the Netherlands! And our youngest who was hoping to get transferred to Portland, OR is now in Montclair, New Jersey! Ack! Life’s twists and turns! Have a belly-filling Turkey Day. Love, Denise
Yes, you’ll miss the caching and I bet the Apalachicola oysters as well! Maybe now we’ll get a chance to catch up to your number of geocaches! We’ve found 30 now so what do we need about 1100 more finds to catch the two of you? We were so disappointed to hear you wouldn’t be camping any more but we want to explore MI so someday we might be knocking at your door! Who knows, eventually you might get back into rv’ing, perhaps in a smaller camper. Keep in mind that if you ever take a trip to NJ to see your youngest, New England isn’t too far away. Happy Turkey Day to you and Lee as well. Love, Linda
Skidmore Institute of Oceanography: Does not seem generally open to the public except on the last Friday of most months but does have a few special events.
“What programs do you offer the public?
Walking tours of the Skidaway Institute campus, labs, and, when in port, our 92 foot research vessel R/V Savannah are offered on the last Friday of most months at 2:00 p.m. Tours start from the Skidaway Institute John F. McGowan Library. Please call (912) 598-2400 for details and reservations.
Seminars are open to the public and are announced on our main webpage.
We also open our facility to the public at our Annual Skidaway Marine Science Day every Fall.”
Thanks for the info! Sometimes I get so wrapped up in writing the posts, I don’t want to spend a lot of time researching things.
Please excuse – and forgive – as my inquisitive nature has led to my compulsive habit. Ask Burl about it sometime.