We begin our northbound journey for many months to come, emerging from Florida in the early springtime, which is pretty nice here in the southeastern states. Before we head toward the Appalachian Mountains, we have decided to spend a little more time in low country along the Georgian coastline.
Fort Pierce West KOA Holiday
We needed a place to stay on our way up the Atlantic coast from Homestead, and Matt found the Fort Pierce West KOA Holiday. Note that there is also a Fort Pierce Downtown KOA. Unlike the Starke KOA, the Fort Pierce West KOA was brand new! The facilities were very clean, they have a pool up by the office, and the office building also contains a spacious laundry facility as well as shower facilities. Based on their map, it also looks like they are planning to expand this KOA in future. Overall, it was nice for an overnight stay.
As we said good bye to Florida, we ended up just over the border in a small town called Saint Marys, Georgia. There is a military base nearby, and ferries that go to the popular Cumberland Island embark from this area. We walked around the quaint coastal town, which was originally established in the 16th century as part of a Spanish settlement. It was nice to admire numerous beautiful, historical houses, and walk along the waterfront.
A Big Wheel RV Park
Matt found a gem of a place called A Big Wheel RV Park. It was fairly quiet, the grounds are beautiful, and most spots are shaded by large, picturesque trees. At night, some of the trees sparkle with laser lights, making it feel like a fairy land. They also have citrus trees on the park grounds and offer guests lemons, oranges and grapefruits for free. We did occasionally hear sirens nearby, but it usually wasn’t noticeable. The main building houses the laundry room and extra bathrooms, as well as a generous amount of books, puzzles and games for visitors to enjoy. We highly recommend this place if you are looking for an affordable long-term stay.
Jekyll Island State Park
About an hour up the road is another popular place that is both a scenic barrier island and a state park called Jekyll Island. You have to pay a fee to enter the island, which is $8 per vehicle. To be honest, it was a bit of a nut house when we arrived. We tried to go to the Jekyll Market, but it was so crowded inside that we got out of there in a hurry. I was feeling so claustrophobic between the winding lines of people and narrow aisles.
Instead, we parked down the street in a large lot and decided to bike around the northern portion of the island. On the oceanside the air was crisp and a bit chilly, but as we rounded the bend and headed south along the western inland side of the island, it was warm and humid. For such a narrow island, I was surprised at how different the environment could feel from one side to the other. On the western end we also saw many historic summer “cottages” that are now landmarks. Matt and I both thought that if those were considered cottages, we couldn’t imagine how big the owner’s other homes were! 😂
The western side was also a little more peaceful and less crowded, which made it easier to relax and enjoy our surroundings. Although you can bike around the entire island, which is about 20 miles, we opted to head back to the truck instead. We didn’t want to tempt fate and end up in an overcrowded area and ruin our good moods. It was a nice enough place to visit, but we were a bit underwhelmed since we prefer places that aren’t so crowded. I recommend that if you do visit, go during the middle of the week when perhaps there may be less people.
Crooked River State Park
Next door to our RV Park is the Crooked River State Park. We walked along their nature paths, which are around 3-4 miles in total. The landscape is thick with saw palmettos, blueberry bushes that were just starting to bloom, and pine trees soaring above us. We ended up in an area where you can rent cabins, picnic shelters for events, and then wandered into the RV camping area. The central bathrooms and showers were some of the cleanest we have ever seen in a state campground, and the campsites were incredibly spacious. However, like most state parks, your stay is limited to 14 days. Overall, it was nice to have a peaceful place to go within walking distance, to pop down to the river’s edge and check out the views.
Brackish Beer Company
A local Mardi Gras festival was advertised, but the details were so nebulous that we arrived too early and then later arrived too late to the festival. 🤣 Since we were already out and about, we decided to head back to Saint Marys and check out Brackish Beer Company, a local brewery. Jon, the owner used to be in the hospitality business in a lot of ski towns, but ended up returning to Saint Marys to take care of his mother and started this brewery.
Jon’s adorable French bulldog will likely greet you. She is still a puppy and bursting with energy. 😍 The current tasting room is a relaxed environment, and also hosts food trucks and entertainment. Check their Facebook page for updates. The owner did say he would be moving to a bigger location later this year, so they can keep more varieties of beer in stock. We tried the beer samplers, and all of the brews on tap were on the lighter side…easy sipping beers for hot days, which seems appropriate for the area. Come on in if you’re visiting Saint Marys.
Our stay was short, but sweet. We are headed a few hours north to Savannah, Georgia to enjoy some of that delicious low country food for a little longer before we head to higher ground. If you haven’t been to the Georgia coastal areas, it’s a great place to explore its many barrier islands and enjoy the local food. Before I go, be sure to check out my next entry about our experience on nearby Cumberland Island, which was a story within itself, so I decided to share it separately. Enjoy! 😀