Monday, September 22, 2014

Skidaway Island State Park, Georgia

One of my hobbies is amateur radio and I like to check in to the Wally Byam Caravan RV Service Net a couple of mornings each week. This is a group of RV'ers with amateur radio licenses who meet on one of the Ham radio frequencies to share information about things of interest to campers.

I mentioned on the net one day that we were packing Rosie, our Airstream trailer, for a trip to Skidaway Island State Park in Georgia. One of the Hams responded that he lived near Savannah, where Skidaway is located, and that he had visited the park once.

That didn't sound like an endorsement to me since we have visited the parks close to our home multiple times, so I asked him about his impression of the park. His response was one word, "bugs." When asked what kind of bugs, he said that Skidaway is known for having red bugs and an abundance of flying pests.

Entrance to Skidaway Island State Park


That on-air conversation greatly lowered our expectations for Skidaway. We feared an army of bugs would invade our campsite the moment we arrived and we were not disappointed. I'll talk more about the bugs in a moment.

We arrived mid-afternoon, right after a quick rain storm. It was easy to see that some areas of the park are lower than others and that it would take longer for some sites to dry out after a hard rain.

This was a fortunate observation because it rained often while at Skidaway. We found a site that was "high ground" when compared to others in the park.

Trying to find the higher ground while camping in Georgia's low country


The camp hosts were incredibly helpful in recommending potential sites to us. They even carted us over to look at some sites in their golf cart. Similar to other Georgia State Parks, you don't reserve a specific site when you make reservations at Skidaway. You end up roaming the park when you arrive looking for the best of the remaining sites.

Speaking of golf carts, it seems that a high percentage of the campers in this park had them. We frequently saw people "cruising" the park in their golf carts. We had the impression that most of the people in the park were locals and that they frequently camp together there.

All of the campsites are pull-thru in Skidaway. Most people would think of this as an advantage, but our primary view in Rosie is out the back window and a pull-thru means we are staring at our neighbor's rig, not the woods. We found a site that worked for us by changing Rosie's angle and we could now see the woods.

While setting up Rosie and disconnecting from the truck, the heat, humidity and dew point were all in the "oppressive" range. It was the middle of September when we arrived at the park. I would not want to be there in the heat of July and August.

The park is on an island and about a block away from housing subdivisions and shopping areas. That means you are not exactly in the wilderness at Skidaway. Needless to say, we didn't see too much wildlife in the park.

Skidaway is surprisingly small. In addition to the camping area, there are a couple of hiking trails and a day-use area. It didn't take too long for us to ride our bikes around the entire park on the first day,

I mentioned earlier that we were on alert for red bugs and mosquitoes. We tried to dress to discourage the red bugs, but the mosquitoes were everywhere. We found that full squadrons of mosquitoes lived in the bath houses and would attack anyone venturing into that space. You need to plan how you will combat the bugs while at Skidaway Island State Park.

The town of Savannah has to be one of the major draws to this park. The Savannah city limits are just over a couple of bridges and it appeared that most people spent their days exploring that city. And Savannah is certainly worth visiting and exploring. You will want to spend a day in the historic district.

Some specifics about Skidaway Island State Park:

  • Most of the campsites have both 30 and 20 amp service. A few sites also have 50 amp connections.
  • AT&T provided moderate 4G and 3G service over the campground.
  • Wi-Fi can be found in the campground's office. You will want to quickly complete your online tasks because lots of mosquitoes will be waiting for you there.
  • We were able to watch ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC TV stations from our antenna. We also saw ME-TV, CW, THiS and Antenna-TV digital channels.
  • The restrooms have some age on them and appear to have lived a hard life. The campground volunteers seem to work at keeping them clean, but there was an abundance of dead bugs in there. We wondered if the dead bugs were an accumulation since the last cleaning or if there was a dead bug collection taking place in the bath houses.
  • The park has water and electrical connections, but not sewer hook-ups. We could find only one dump station at the park. That means you may have to carefully schedule your exit time to avoid waiting at the dump station.
  • There is a Kroger grocery store near the park. If you need a gallon of milk, it is less than five miles down the road.

One of the more interesting things that happened at Skidaway was the arrival of new neighbors next to Rosie's camp site. As we were driving up, we thought a vintage Airstream was across the street, but the angles on the front and rear of the trailer were wrong. It turns out that a Spartan Royal Mansion from the 1940s had moved in.

Spartan Royal Mansion

I had never seen nor heard of the Spartan Royal Mansion, but this was a trailer made after World War II by J. Paul Getty's aviation company to help offset the loss of building aircraft for the war. This trailer was more than 65 years old and it was amazing. The owners had carefully restored it.

Spartan Royal Mansion


I looked up some information about the Spartan Royal Mansion and a source found on Google said that these trailers were selling for $4,000 in the 1940s. The median value of homes sold during that time was $8,000, meaning that buyers were affluent and looking for a mobile "mansion."

Another view of the Spartan Royal Mansion
Rosie across the street from the Spartan Royal Mansion

The bottom line on Skidaway Island State Park is that it is a nice little park and deserved a visit. I don't think it will be added to our "A-List" and I doubt that we will return for a second visit.



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