• Mr. Z’s RV Park, Gilbert, SC

    We intentionally passed through Batesburg-Leesville on US-178 but quickly discovered that the choices of campgrounds was very slim. Southeast of town there’s a nudist park outside of Pelion which would be fine except that it’s too cold now in late March to run around nekkid and there’s no point to paying double the price if we couldn’t. Then there’s a church camp but us sinners probably wouldn’t be welcome and there’s a CG around a pond but when we rode by it looked like the Clampetts met the Duck Dunderheads.

    Mr.Z's

    Mr.Z’s

    Up way northeast of town there’s a place the purports to be a Barnyard in a flea market and way up northwest there’s lots of CGs around Lake Murray but that’s all way off track.

    So on a guess and a spy-eye from Google Earth we chose Mr. Z’s RV Park, which is about two-thirds of the way from Leesville to Lexington. The fact that it’s a PA park doens’t hurt.

    It turned out to be a good choice. The owners live in  a house out by the highway and their big back yard is a 12-site FHU CG. There’s plenty of room for big and wide rigs, enough pine trees to give some shade but not interfere too much with satellite TV, a nice little laundry and a pool. The free wifi actually works most of the time. No showerhouse, though, so you’ll have to be self-contained.

    Mr. Z’s RV Park
    3343 Augusta Hwy
    Gilbert, SC 29054
    kez48111@yahoo.com
    (803) 206-8928

    www.mrzsrv.com

  • James Island County Park, Charleston, S.C.

    James Island County Park is a huge Charleston County park on the western side of James Island S.C. just west of Charleston.  It features a FHU campground, miles of nature trails, freshwater lakes, access to a tidal creek and a waterpark for the kiddies.

    The first topic is getting there. Coming in from the west I outwitted myself by getting off US-17 and taking River Road and Maybank Parkway. Don’t do it! They’re narrow two-lane roads with overhanging trees; although we had clearance at 12’6″ the antennae on top twanged every limb along the way. Continue to Folly Road, turn south, then turn right on Central Park Road, left on Riverland Drive and there you are on the right.

    Lot # 84

    Lot # 84

    The CG itself is very spacious with plenty of room to maneuver and plenty of clearance. Campsites are widely-spaced with bushes and trees between camper. With some moving around the satellite tv worked and wifi worked fine. The sites are all level but some are a little high and some are a little low; unfortunately we were in site 84 and it was somewhat muddy and had standing water all around on a rainy day.

    Camp Store and office!

    Camp Store and office!

    Of course the point of camping at James Island is going into Charleston, and the park makes that easy. The park operates a shuttle bus that goes into the city at 9 a.m. and returns a 4 p.m. for $10 per person. Since parking a car downtown is impossible or even more difficult the shuttle is great. Don’t even think of taking an RV into Charleston.

    Bath House and Laundry!

    Bath House and Laundry!

    We’ll be returning to James Island County Park; there’s lots more we want to see and do in Charleston.

    871 Riverland Drive
    Charleston, SC 29412
    (843) 795-4386
    Call (843) 795-4386 for availability and reservations.

    http://www.ccprc.com

  • Half Shell Resort, Satsuma, FL

    Half Shell Resort is a nice little fish-camp-style CG on the St. Johns River in San Mateo across the bridge and about six miles south of Palatka, Fla. It’s not a resort; it is, however, nicely and relaxingly rustic.

    The Marina!

    The Marina!

    The first trick is getting there.  Just east of Dunn’s Creek, turn northward off US-17 onto Roberts Blvd. That corner is at Chico’s Mexican hole-in-the-wall joint and across the highway from a quick-rip convenience store. Down Roberts Blvd. there’s a small sign for Half Shell on the left side.

    CG roads are paved but turns are rather tight; campsites are gravel and level. Some have a paved patio and some don’t. Electricity, water, sewer and wifi worked just fine. For nature lovers there’s two alligators in the pond, one in the five-food range and a little squirt. Us crackers call that bathtub-size and kitchen-sink-size.

    The Queens Barge! Our campsite by the pond!

    The Queens Barge! Our campsite by the pond!

    Also in the CG is a showerhouse, laundry and clubhouse.

    For the mariners, dockage is available for what seems to me to be reasonable rates. Controlling depth is 17 feet plus in the channel and around four feet on the south side of the channel. Controlling vertical clearance is 65 feet.

    For you who didn’t come prepared, there’s a Winn Dixie supermarket and liquor store on SR-19 a bit west of US-17 in Palatka. Also, absolutely do not miss Corky Bell’s seafood restaurant on US-17 in East Palatka. It’s not fine dining but it’s mighty good dining in the same style as the fried seafood at St. Augustine.

    An alligator in the pond behind our campsite!

    An alligator in the pond behind our campsite!

    When we finally pulled into Half Shell late in the afternoon the proprietors were watching for us; after a very quick tour to see a couple of sites we were all set. The daily rate is higher than a state park but appropriate for FHU; the weekly and monthly rates are a good deal for north-central Florida. Note that it’s cash or check; no cards.

    We were at Half Shell for a week and saw a surprising number of short-term campers for such a small park. We did relax and enjoy being there even though the North Florida misty/mucky/cold winter settled in for most of that week.

    The Entrance Sign!

    The Entrance Sign!

    Half Shell Resort
    132 Roberts Blvd.
    Satsuma, FL 32189
    386-325-3166
    halfshellresort@yahoo.com