Friday, July 29, 2011

Chattahoochee Bend State Park - Georgia's Newest!

Chattahoochee Bend State Park is located in west/central Georgia near Newnan. Georgia's newest state park covers almost 3,000 acres and protects about 7 miles of Chattahoochee River shoreline.

Chattahoochee Bend has several features that make it appealing to a variety of outdoor lovers. If you enjoy canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing, the park has a boat ramp and lots of river to explore. There are several miles of trails for hiking.

Amenities include two RV friendly campgrounds, platform camping, and several screened Adirondack shelters. There is a playground in the one open RV campground and another playground near the boat ramp. There are also two very nice pavilions, a large grill, and various other picnic tables and grills scattered on the river bank in the same area.
The park is relatively isolated. The closest store is about six mile away, and it's a small gas station. There isn't a lot to do in the area. McIntosh Reserve, a really neat Carroll County park, is located almost directly across the river from Chattahoochee Bend, but it's about a 35 minute drive. Banning Mills is also about a 30 minute drive.
Now, for the negatives...
Read more about the park, including a detailed account of our visit and lots more pictures!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Big Kahunas Water Park

A Family Adventure in Destin, Florida - Read the rest of the story

For their 7th birthday, Mother Goose (Rebecca's Mom) gave the twins passes to Big Kahunas water park in Destin. We don't do this type of thing (ie expensive) very often, but we like to do one or two special adventures on our annual vacation to the Florida Panhandle, especially on occasions like birthdays.

We arrived at Big Kahunas water park midday, and the parking lot was already pretty full. We were worried about a crowd at first because there was a line at the gate. Our worries were soon quelled. We never had to wait for any of the attractions for more than just a few minutes.

After stashing dry clothes and valuables in a couple of lockers, we headed for the water. The rest of the day is a blur. We went from slide to slide, and took breaks in the lazy river. A little thunder storm blew in mid afternoon, so we took cover in the food court area. Not to worry, if you don't like the weather in Florida, hang around for a while, it'll change. If it doesn't, Big Kahunas will give you a rain check. Fortunately for us, the rain passed quickly, and we were back in the water.
The Lazy River

The Richardson Tribe played hard at Big Kahunas, and we got our money's worth. From there, we went to one of the many Alvin's Islands and bought hermit crabs for all the kids before heading back to the beach house in Seagrove. What an awesome day, and what a great birthday gift for the twins.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Live Oak Landing - A Different Side of Florida

Live Oak Landing is located in Freeport, Florida, on Black Creek, just off the Choctawhatchee Bay. It's not the Florida you expect. It's a little darker, a little less commercial, a little more native, a little wilder. Live Oak Landing is a fish camp and a luxury RV resort in one. This makes for an interesting mix.

The Richardson Tribe is not big on RV parks. We appreciate the larger, more natural sites of state parks. Live Oak Landing is a hybrid of the two. Natural surroundings with the luxuries of a plush resort. The creek and bay offer great boating, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. The resort offers large pull through sites and a clubhouse with teak furnishings, a massive gas grill, and big screen TV.

In addition to the clubhouse amenities, Live Oak Landing provides a variety of other family entertainment options. A selection of indoor and outdoor games are available like Horseshoes and Bocce Ball. If you want to go canoeing, on a boating tour, or on a fishing expedition, Live Oak Landing knows just the skipper to serve your needs.

Fishing is a popular and productive pastime here at Live Oak Landing. With a boat ramp, docks, and a very nice creek side pavilion, the options are almost limitless. During our stay at Live Oak Landing, the manager arranged for canoes, paddles, and life jackets for the entire Richardson Tribe. From the park's banks, one can paddle out to Jolly Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay, or up Black Creek just like the Native Americans did centuries before.

If your interests lean more toward beaches, shops, miniature golf (and regular golf), go karts, and water parks, they're all just down the road. San Destin, Destin, Fort Walton, Seaside, Seagrove, Grayton Beach, and Panama City Beach are all just a short drive away. 

As I mentioned before, this is a brand new RV park. The concrete pads have barely solidified. How it evolves in the coming years depends a lot on the clientele the park attracts. The big-rig friendly sites and cottages (for sale) make it a great retirement park. Access to deep water lends itself to sportsmen. Families wanting an alternative Florida experience may influence the park's direction.

s a family of six, I must admit, staying at Live Oak Landing was like visiting a "friend with a perfect house" and no children. It's almost TOO NICE for kids. The bath house and restrooms were spotless. The grounds are lavishly landscaped and meticulously maintained. Visitors are expected to keep a tidy campsite, which can prove a challenge for a family of six with bikes, chairs, and fishing poles. I hope the park continues to maintain high standards, because it's nice to visit a a place that seems to care.

On the negative, it was unusually hot while we were visiting (June). It would have been a big plus to have had a pool, fountains, or misting stations to provide some cooling. The kids spent a good deal of time in the large screened pavilion with ceiling fans and a large screen TV. 

Rebecca and I spent the evenings by the fire overlooking Black Creek. It was beautiful and relaxing. The smoke helped keep the yellow flies at bay. You see, one of the prices you pay for staying in such a tropical place is bugs. There are bugs. Deal with it.
In summary, We really like Live Oak Landing. It's not your typical RV resort. Click here for lots of pictures and a more thorough review of Live Oak Landing.