Wednesday, April 19, 2017

T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park - 2017

It seems that our annual trip to the T. H. Stone St. Joseph Peninsula State Park has earned the honor of kicking off our camping season. For more than 15 years, we have camped in this park during the Spring Break time span. Our first visits to this park were in tents. Now we camp in Rosie, our 25 foot Airstream trailer.

Turning on the road that goes to the park.

We credit this park with our leap from tents to Rosie. A storm drove us from the park one too many times while we were tent campers. As we, along with the other tent campers, were quickly tearing down to get out before the storm, we noticed that the campers in RVs were simply rolling in the awnings on their rigs. That observation put us on the road that led to Rosie.

And Rosie has led us to many camping adventures over the years. While we enjoyed our tent camping days, Rosie has given us new opportunities to explore, such as participating in WBCCI (the Airstream owners association) caravans and rallies. Besides, sleeping on the ground was getting harder for us each new year.

Since retiring, we have changed from scheduling one week in this park to two. That seems to improve the odds that we will enjoy a week of great weather. It was cold during our first week and "Chamber of Commerce" perfect the second. So, our strategy paid off.

We have noticed over the years that the complexion of parks tends to change over weekends. The "weekenders" roar into the park on Friday afternoon and the noise and activity levels explode. They love sharing their blaring music with everyone in the park and their smokey campfires cast a hazy cloud over everything. As quickly as the weekenders took over the campground on Saturday, they disappear on Sunday. You learn to appreciate the joys of weekday camping.

We always enjoy an excursion into Apalachicola to see the shrimp boats followed by a lunch featuring local seafood. We were not disappointed with either.

Shrimp boat in Apalachicola


Shopping for groceries while camping at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park has always been a problem. The two grocery stores we found in Apalachicola are small and have painfully few "organic" offerings. We broke a fifteen year tradition this year and turned west leaving the park. Port St. Joe was half the distance than Apalachicola and we found a grocery store that was larger and better stocked than the ones in Apalachicola.

If you have read any of our previous postings from campgrounds along the Gulf coast, there is no suspense here. You already know that we love hearing the sounds of the surf while camping. It is a safe bet that we will return to the T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park next year to make sure both Rosie and our minds are ready for another year of camping.
Here are some specifics about this park:
  • There are two camping loops (Gulf Breeze and Shady Pines) in the park. There are some tree-lined sharp turns in the Shady Pines loop and I wouldn't recommend that loop for larger rigs. We have camped in both loops before, but our reservations were for the Gulf Breeze loop this year.
  • Our site had 30 and 20 amp electrical service. I don't think the park offers 50 amp service.
  • In addition to electrical service, our site had a water connection. The water pressure on our connection was a healthy 42 pounds.
  • Our site did not have a sewer connection and I don't think any sites in this park have sewer connections. There is a single dump station near the exit of the Gulf Breeze camping loop. You should plan on waiting for your turn at the dump station if several other people decide to leave about the same time as you.
  • There is a dump station in the Shady Pines loop. You cannot reach it with your RV, so you must lug your sewer tote across some soft Florida beach sand to reach it. While this is a challenge, it is easier to use when camping in the Shady Pines loop than dragging your tote to the Gulf Breeze loop.
  • There are two bath houses in each camping loop and they are all well maintained by the park's staff. The Gulf Breeze loop bathhouse nearest the boardwalk appears to have been updated more recently than the others. That bathhouse was also heated, something we appreciated during the short cold snap while we camped there.
  • The AT&T signal over the park hasn't improved over the years. It continues to rate a "pitiful" to "marginal" classification. We could see one or an occasional two bars of service on one end of Rosie some days and no service was consistent on the other end. Both voice and data services were unreliable. We suffered through several days without any service at our site.
  • There are two WiFi access points in the park. The WiFi at the campstore seems to be a little faster than the WiFi point between the two camping loops. Expect the bandwidth speeds to plummet when someone else starts sharing the WiFi signal you are using.
  • There is a campstore in the park with some last minute necessities. Take lots and lots and lots of money if you need to buy some milk.
  • This is a pet friendly park.
  • We were able to watch ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS most of time time using Rosie's antenna. We occasionally saw the FOX affiliate's signal. We also consistently saw digital channels ME-TV and CW. Signals from GRIT, H&I and Escape drifted in and out during the days.
  • We have seen Poison Ivy in this park before. We saw a bumper crop along the boardwalk this year.
There were eight Airstream trailers and one Airstream Interstate in this park during our stay. Three of the trailers were Bambi sized and another was a 1966 vintage unit. It is always special to meet and share ideas with other Airstreamers as we travel.


Along the boardwalk

Suzy out in the Kayak

Steve and Suzy on a trail

The boardwalk

Becky and Suzy

An owl spotted in the park

Rosie seen through the woods

Coming in for a landing

Bath time!

Selfie along the shore

This is the first time we have seen this flag

Becky did some plein air watercolor painting while in the park


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