Conecuh National Forest Soaring pines and serene ponds

When it comes to planning our trip, there are only a few stops we have on our must list so far. The rest of the campsites are chosen within a month of the stay. We have even chosen a campsite within a few hours of arrival time. That being said, it’s actually shocking that all of our sites thus far have been nice. I have always been a full-blown procrastinator, so for me this way of life is nothing new.

But for Scott, who is more of a planner than myself, things seem a bit too stressful when we are finding a new site in such a last minute fashion. In fact, when we were leaving Chattanooga, we had the option of going north to spend more time in the mountains, or heading south to Alabama. I might be the most indecisive person to ever live, so we literally pulled over en route to decide what the hell we were doing. I just don’t like making choices when they all seem interesting!

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Anyway, while we were at Lake Guntersville, we decided that our next spot would be more remote. More nature-y. Less crowded. Who cares if the grocer is 30 minutes away– we needed a break from humanity, really. The months leading up to our departure were quite stressful, and the month spent visiting family in NC, SC, and TN was more about seeing loved ones than experiencing cool spots and having adventures. When we booked our stay at Conecuh National Forest, we didn’t really know what to expect. We just knew that with barely any reviews online, hardly any photos found on an image search, and a fee of just $16 a night, we could expect some adventure (whether good or bad, we had no idea).


We are obviously new at this life, but one thing we have learned quite quickly is that there are (mainly) two kinds of places to stay with a camper: an RV park/resort, and a campground.

An RV "resort"
An RV “resort”

An RV park is more like a parking lot with hookups. The campers are crammed in tight because maximum capacity equals maximum profits. Maybe this parking lot has great amenities– a clean bathroom, spotless laundry facilities, shuffleboard, a rec room, and a store where you can pay an arm and a leg for common items. Maybe this is what camping means for some people, but it certainly isn’t appealing to us.

Come to think of it, that above pic kind of reminds me of this...
Come to think of it, that above pic kind of reminds me of this…

We made this huge life change to be able to connect more with nature and see this great country. We seek a beautiful, changing view from our windows; to be a few steps from a scenic trail or beach overflowing with natural life. The funny thing is, many of these RV parks cost more than state parks/national forest campgrounds. I don’t see us staying at them unless there is a dire need to.

Staying at a campground, on the other hand, is more like staying in nature.

National Forest and State Park Campgrounds are where it’s at. From what we have seen, they’re more affordable and well, more beautiful. We rolled up to Conecuh not knowing what to expect, but we were in awe as we backed into our spot early in the morning. Situated right on Open Pond, we had more room than at any spot we had yet experienced. The air smelled of cedar and pine, the still pond shimmered brightly. We felt as though we had stumbled upon some secret. Why were other RV parks we researched so full and so costly? Here we were with water and electric hookups, surrounded by beautiful, nearly untouched Earth, hiking trails and kayaking literally at our doorstep for $16 a night! Scott inhaled as though he hadn’t breathed deeply in days and I said, “This is what we are seeking, this is why we are doing this whole thing.”

“Situated just above the Florida panhandle, the forest has a distinct southern flavor of mist-laden hardwood swamps, pitcher plant bogs, and southern coastal plain pine forest. These hilly coastal plains are also home to longleaf pine, upland scrub oak, and dogwood, as well as an aquatic labyrinth of winding creeks and cypress ponds.”

I really don't know how we lucked out here.
I really don’t know how we lucked out here.

We spent the week in our kayaks, hanging in the hammock between the trees, checking out lizards and other wildlife, and walking the docks.

Going exploring is always fun, but sometimes the simple mornings by the campsite are just as beautiful. Playing board games, reading books, and having a slow  brunch in such a beautiful setting with my favorite people are memories I’ll treasure forever.

Somehow Emery, who is 6, beats adults at Splendor, a strategy board game meant for 10 years and older.

Of course, riding our bikes to the many ponds was a unique experience. This landscape was like none I had seen before.

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I kept a lookout for alligators, but found none, thankfully.

After a lovely time exploring the forest, it was time to head back and relax by the campfire.

Kill the Beast!
Kill the Beast! Scott being his weird self.

We would have stayed at Conecuh longer if we had not already booked a reservation near Destin, FL. I know I would love to return at some point in the future, and recommend it to everyone!

Ok, signing off on this post with a cheesy pic of Scott and me enjoying some string light/campfire vibes. Next stop, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Florida!

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3 Comments

  1. Excellent post. You elegantly depicted exactly how we feel in state parks versus RV parks. It’s always nice to reconnect with nature and keep life simple 🙂

  2. Amazing photos, amazing journey. I just realized you have this blog to go along with your IG photos! Incredible.

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