From East Bank to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
After a very pleasant stay (despite some heavy weather) at East Bank on Lake Seminole, Thursday arrived and it was time to move on to our next destination as we slowly make our way over to Foley, AL for the month of March.
Can you tell that the kitties weren’t too thrilled to be hitting the road again? Sparky doesn’t understand that hiding under the pillows on the bed doesn’t do him any good! I’m sure he is wondering why we keep torturing him this way!
After hitching up the toad and stopping at the dump station, we finally hit the road around 11:00 a.m. It would be a relatively short journey since Topsail was only 139 miles away, about a 2 1/2 hour trip without stops.
The Eastbank campground suggests I-10 at exit 166 (Co Hwy 270A) for arrivals from/departures to the east or I-10 at exit 158 (Co Rd 69A) for arrivals from/departures to the west. To be sure these are the shortest paths back to I-10, but are narrow shoulder-less roads. Since we were departing to the west we chose another option – Hwy 90 parallels I-10 and is a nicer and more scenic road with a decent shoulder and is roughly half 2-lane and half divided 4 lane for the 20 miles from Chattahoochee to Co Hwy 71. Then just a short run on 71 (which is also 4 lane divided) will bring you on to I-10 at exit 142 (Mariana). This exit is also convenient if you need fuel or supplies as it has a Pilot and a Super Walmart as well as various other services. For us I think we will prefer to use the Hwy 90 approach in the future.
In Mariana, after filling up with diesel (at $4.22/gallon – ouch!), we got on I-10 and after driving approximately 70 miles, got off at exit 85 taking a left onto Route 331 South. Route 331 was a little dicey with narrow lanes in in a few places due to construction. Since this is one of the few routes to the beach, it looks like they are expanding the road to handle more traffic.
We followed 331 for approximately 24 miles then turned westbound onto SR98. We were only on SR98 for about 6 miles before turning onto CR30A. It was easy finding the state park as it was very well marked. According to a brochure we picked up, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is named for a majestic dune, resembling a ship’s topsail which stands twenty-five feet above sea level.
The Gregory E. Moore RV Resort inside Topsail State Park has 156 sites with water, 30 or 50 amp electric, cable, sewer, (non-heated) swimming pool, laundry facilities, a small store and shuffleboard courts. It also has 22 very nice looking tent sites (if you are so inclined) and “cabins” and “bungalows” that can be rented (these are more like large park models and small homes in our opinion).
We arrived around 1:00 p.m. central time and were greeted by several very friendly park staff members in the registration office. After giving us the usual literature and map, we pulled into the very large parking lot to unhitch the toad and then drove to Site #86 (Alvin pointed out the site to us). When we made our reservation at Reserve America, we were able to select any available site from the online map. Site #86 has a long concrete pad with a picnic table and shrubs and trees providing privacy from our next door neighbors. There are no fire rings but you are allowed to use your own fire bowl/pits as long as you keep it on the concrete pad.
Although we had run into a few showers during our drive, it was cloudy, overcast and a little chilly but not raining when we arrived so after getting settled and debating about taking a walk or bike ride, we set off on foot to explore.
Our first impression – beautiful campground adjacent to an equally beautiful and large preserve park with easy access (.5 mile walk) to a fine white sand beach and emerald gulf waters – we’ll provide more details in a separate post.
To be continued….
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