A state parks that features both an RV campground and a boat ramp among their amenities can make an affordable yet memorable destination for your family summer vacation. Beaches, hiking, and other land and water sports are among the many pastimes these low-key natural paradises have to offer. But if the park you choose is far from your home waters, a little local knowledge can really come in handy − be sure to call the nearest Sea Tow location for expert advice on navigation and where the fish are biting.
Here’s a look at three top parks on the U.S. East Coat for camping with a boat and RV:
Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys. This oceanfront park and campground lets you experience the best of the Florida Keys without having to pay resort prices. Located on Bahia Honda Key at Mile Marker 36.8 on U.S. Highway 1, it is 12 miles south of Marathon. This park has it all: ocean beaches, hiking and biking ashore; world-class fishing and snorkeling offshore with access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Two boat ramps mean you never have to wait long to launch. Head to the Gulf side of the key each night for a glorious sunset.
Not familiar with the area? Give Captain Mike Haas, co-owner of Sea Tow Lower Florida Keys, or one of his team of U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captains a call. They can help you navigate the Keys’ shallow waters, tell you which species of fish are running, or direct you to a local dive shop. Call 305-872-2353, or click on Sea Tow Lower Keys.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park, Va. With more than 500 miles of shoreline, Smith Mountain Lake is the largest reservoir in the Roanoke, Va., area. Located on the lake’s north shore, Smith Mountain Lake State Park has RV camping sites as well as separate boat trailer parking. The on-site boat ramp is free to overnight guests. Once you are out on the water, you can fish for striped bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and catfish; enjoy swimming in the freshwater lake, and hiking along its hilly green shores. The park also offers a beach and 13 hiking trails that meander through hardwood and pine forests.
Never been to this neck of the woods? Get in touch with Captains Nancy & Rick Ellett, co-owners of Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake. These community-oriented Captains are at the lake year-round and are extremely knowledgeable about the waters, fishing, and all the local happenings. Contact them at 540-297-6066 or visit Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake.
Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Mass. Located on the western end of Buzzard’s Bay, this sandy state preserve embodies coastal New England at its finest. Horseneck Beach State Park encompasses nearly 600 miles of beaches, dunes and salt marsh, making it a mecca for birders, sun-worshippers and surfers alike. The on-site boat ramp gives you easy access to Buzzard’s Bay, a craggy, 28-mile-long body of water that separates the Massachusetts from southern Cape Cod. You can catch your dinner in the bay, which is full of bluefish, black sea bass and fluke, among other species; then take it back to cook it at your campsite.
If you are visiting the Cape with your RV and boat, give Capt. Curt Jessup, owner of Sea Tow Cape and Islands, a call. He will welcome you to his community, tell you the best place for local seafood, and even let you know where to show your Sea Tow Card for deals and discounts. Yes, that’s right − Sea Tow saves you money on and off the water! Call 508-636-8817 or visit Sea Tow Cape and Islands.
Combining fun on the water with camping in a truly scenic setting, these coveted campgrounds often are booked up months ahead of time. So don’t hesitate; the time to start planning your summer vacation by RV and boat is now.
Reservations for RV camp sites in these parks may be made via their individual websites or at www.reserveamerica.com.