The holidays are often a time of stress for many people. For nomadic travelers, holidays can have the added stress of making sure they have a campground reservation for that time. Guess who didn’t have a reservation for the week of Thanksgiving? Did you know that Florida State Parks may be completely booked for fall holiday weekends? Who knew that many private parks are mostly filled up by winter snowbirds this early in the season?
While we were still in GA, I began scouring our travel apps and internet sites, looking for a place to park for Thanksgiving week. We really didn’t want to stay in GA due to the higher nightly rate, and I wanted to be a little closer to our December reserved spot at Wekiva Springs State Park. All but three Florida State Parks were completely booked, and those three parks had maybe 4 sites open among them and the parks were located no where near where we needed to be.
I did find, however, that there are Florida State Recreational Areas that often times have camping. I found a park in Palatka, FL that had a few walk-up sites still available for the week. I spoke with the entry station gal the night before we left GA and she all but reserved a walk-up site for us. We arrived Monday morning, paid for one night until we had determined that we had internet access (too much work needed to be done while there and Mike’s AT&T i-phone had no bars), and then paid for the site through the following Sunday.
So, campsite found. Now, what to do about the holiday? Since we began traveling, some years we’ve spent Thanksgiving with others and some home alone. Well, a few days before the holiday, Mike connected with the Kiper family. We met them last spring when we were in Florida. They are currently staying in a house through the rest of this year to sort through and get rid of most of their possessions before heading into “the mission” field in January. When they heard we didn’t have Thanksgiving plans, they invited us to join them.
Thanksgiving was a great day. We reconnected with the Kipers and met other families. The food was delicious, but the discussion time (and play time for the kids) was even better. And, I had the opportunity to snuggle with an adorable baby. ;)
During the holiday weekend, Mike and I also had the opportunity to meet in person the Keys, a family who is gearing up for their own road adventure. They were camping at a National Forest campground about 20 minutes south of where we were. We really enjoyed sitting outdoors in beautiful weather, and getting to know them even better (their daughter is adorable).
On Sunday, we milked our stay until after lunch. Then, we headed toward our Dec 1 reservation. Of course, we couldn’t move into the State Park on Sunday without adjusting our 2 week reservation. Even though the site was open, and I was willing to PAY MONEY, and the State website says the parks can use their own discretion to let campers stay in a site longer than the 14 day rule—Mr. Ranger was not going to stray from the rules. So, we overnighted at a Cracker Barrel about 40 minutes from Wekiva Springs. On Monday morning, we arrived at the park mid morning and—oh, but that’s for another post.