If you find yourself West of Atlanta in Georgia (Paulding County), White Oak Park offers a few small lakes for fishing, a Disc Golf Course, exercise path, covered areas, and playgrounds.
We recommend you use this park in the colder months from mid-November through March. The downside of this park is it does have issues with vipers near the water areas, so you’ll need to keep your eyes open and watch for water moccasins in particular. We have sighted one before, so heed the warnings as they are justified.
Local photographers like to frequent this park for outdoor photo sessions for its picturesque scenery making it an excellent backdrop for portraits.
Jason got skunked on his fly rod, but Joshua had some success with a Grass Carp and a couple of small large-mouth bass!
So, if you ask my guys, they love this park, but as for me, I don’t find it friendly to families with smaller children. (Case in point, there is no bathroom near the large playground. You have to hike up the hill to use the restroom. When you have little ones, this can be a huge inconvience and remember — never send a child alone to a bathroom or anywhere out of eye sight!) Hate to be a Debbie Downer on this one, but until Paulding County can eradicate the vipers and put in a bathroom near the playground, this park won’t be one we return to often.
When I am talking about Washington with someone from out of the area, there are two assumptions that usually happen with most who have never been to the State… 1) I find myself needing to clarify that I’m talking about Washington State and not Washington D.C. and 2) that the entire state is not a rain forest (as it is commonly assumed that all of Washington experiences Seattle weather). Seattle can be very wet indeed (I should know, I lived there for ten years), but many people don’t realize that the Cascade Mountain Range puts the western side of the state in a rain shadow and is fairly dry. When it comes to eastern Washington, water brings life to an otherwise arid region. This is the region we spent some time exploring and stayed a couple of weeks in the Grand Coulee region camping at Steamboat Rock State Park campground. This campground is clean and easy to access. If you love to hike and play in the water with a boat/kayak, this will be a great destination for you and your family. It is a popular destination with the locals that are within driving distance, so we recommend booking in advance whenever possible.
Steamboat Rock State Park 51052 Highway 155
Electric City, WA 99123
Ph: (509) 633-1304
Campsite & Group Accommodations Ph: (888) 226-7688
The park is open year-round for camping and day use. The campground is partially open during the winter. Park Winter Schedule
The main park has 26 tent spaces, 136 utility sites, three cabins, one dump station, six restrooms (four ADA), and six showers (four ADA). The park also has 12 primitive non-reservable boat-in campsites with vault toilets and water.
Individual campsites are reservable April 1 to October 31. Campsites are available on a first-come first-served basis from November 1 to March 31. Utility sites have full hookups. Maximum site length is 50 feet (may have limited availability). Tents must be placed within the designated tent pad. There are mosquitoes during the summer months, so mosquito control occurs as required by the Grant County mosquito district evenings when weather permits. Two vehicles are allowed per campsite; campsite fee includes payment for one vehicle. Extra vehicle fees are due upon arrival. If you need to work with an internet connection, it also has (sometimes spotty) Wi-Fi. We recommend asking for a spot that has a stronger signal as it does vary depending on where you are camping.
Reservations can be made online or by calling 888-CAMPOUT (888-226-7688). For fee information, check their camping rates page.
RV Packing Organization Tip: We pack the quilt my step-mother made for our kiddos — it is a panel piece of fabric with a picture of roads and buildings. It doubles as a spot for our littles to play with toy cars and army men (light weight and easy to travel with) and it can be used for nap time as we travel in the car or at bed time for extra warmth when needed.
RV Camping Tip: Pack a lightweight hammock as there are trees in some sites that were planted as a wind barrier and the spacing is such that you can hang a hammock. Here our littles have fun hanging out in the hammock.
Some sites have RV and tent pads. Our site happened to have a tent pad, so our middle son who loves to tent camp (we call him our outdoorsman) had fun camping outside for a few days.
There is plenty of wildlife to enjoy in the area. We saw wild turkeys, wild deer, and quail while visiting. If you like to hike, there is a trail not too far from the campground that takes about 4-5 hours round trip. Plan on 45-min to an hour to hike up and time to explore at the top and then another 45-min to an hour to hike back down.
Recreational activities abound, but there are other things to do in the area as well… like see the Grand Coulee Dam — the largest hydroelectric concrete dam in the United States.
5 Kids and a RV recommendations are based on personal experience and do not represent the business, agency, or not-for-profit we feature. We share our experiences in an effort to inspire parents to engage and explore with their children. As always, whenever trying something new, please use your own good judgement in what best suits the needs of your family to keep everyone safe while having fun.
5 Kids and a RV: “Let’s go learn something today.”
Guntersville, Alabama (or Bass Capital as some call it) known for the pristine Lake Guntersville that frequently hosts the Bass Master Classic. It’s mid-November and our visit is a four-day stay. Lake Guntersville State Park is located along the banks of the Tennessee River in NE Alabama. The park overlooks the majestic 69,000-acre Guntersville Lake and ranges over more than 6,000 acres of natural woodlands and touts an 18-hole championship golf course. The Main Campground includes 321 improved campsites, a primitive camping area, bathhouse, playground and recreation area, and country store. All improved campsites have water and electrical hookups, picnic table, grill, and fire ring; some sections also have sewer hookups.
The moment we unhook, the boys grab their rods and hit the lake in hopes of getting something on their line. This is the second time we’ve camped at Lake Guntersville State Park. The last time was three years ago and we visited during the month of May. That trip was great, but only days after we broke camp and headed home a tornado hit the area and caused severe damage, closing the RV camp until restorations could be completed this year in May of 2013. It was a little sad to see the trees that once stood in this area are no longer around — it looks like a completely different park in some ways. If you do stay at this park in the spring months (April thru June), be sure to have a weather radio that automatically turns on and tune it to the area as tornadoes are not uncommon with spring storms. We prefer to visit late summer or fall for that reason.
I particularly love how I can look out my window and check on the boys fishing on the shoreline or dock. The sites are fairly close together which I am not too crazy about. They do include a fire pit, picnic table, and are a gravel parking surface. Our chosen space was not very level and required effort on our part to get it right. We have two doors on our travel trailer and the back door by the bathroom was a little high off the ground but more level by the main door. We did have full hook-up and that was convenient. Our nightly rate was $19 for full hook up + a 12% lodging tax surcharge. Sites are first come, but it is helpful to reserve in advance in case it fills during busier times of the year. The conference center is situated on the bluff and overlooks the Lake and RV park (see photo below). Some young trees have been planted, but none to offer shade or beauty yet.
We did some geocaching within the park. The first one was easy access, but the second one was a bit more intense and I wouldn’t advise it with little ones and no path. I feel a bit uncomfortable with four boys enthusiastically clamoring thru the woods — it puts my mama safety-senses into overdrive. The kids, of course, are oblivious to my silent concerns over poisonous snakes, falls that could cause a broken limb (of a child, not tree), or hunters that aren’t paying attention … and they climb over rocks and logs in the heat of the hunt for new-found treasure — the cache did not disappoint them. 😉
One cost we didn’t factor in with the kayaks riding on top of our vehicle was mileage. We have gone for towing at 11 MPG to about 9 MPG. Depending on how frequently you plan to use them and how far you go with your RV, it may make sense to just rent at a lake when you get to your destination. We use ours a lot and not every lake we go to has kayak rentals, so the benefits are there for our crew.
We also need a way to secure them better to the top of our rig. They are cradled beautifully on a Malone Kayak Saddles atop a Yakima Rack system and strapped down securely with tension straps. For the most part it’s easy to load and secure. What concerns me is that someone with the wrong intentions and a sharp knife could cut the straps and take the kayaks. When we travel, the kayaks do seem to garner more attention, so we need to find a lock mechanism that would deter theft.
Be sure you are aware of each state’s guidelines on kayaking. In Georgia, children under the age of 12 need to have an adult with them and within eye sight to operate a kayak. For our 13-year-olds, we have a buddy-system and they’re to be with another kayaker at all times. I know I state the obvious, but it’s a good idea for your kayaker to also know how to swim.
Other than that, the kayaks have been a wonderful addition to our RVing. My husband even said that we should sell our boat and just get kayaks for everyone! Lol I’d call that a win!