We started our 2017 travels in mid-January, with a trip to our former hometown of Grayton Beach. We still love this area so much and have many friends there, so we made plans to start there and stay for a month. The first 2 weeks we stayed at Grayton Beach State Park, where we have stayed many times. We usually stay in the paved, full hook-up loop, but this time we stayed in the gravel loop with water/electric sites. We decided to do this because we are able to book site #10 – which we think has the nicest view of any site in the whole park. It backs right up to Western Lake.
We enjoyed many nights and mornings just hanging out in our site.
Deas was able to kayak right from the site and took this picture of our RV from his kayak.
Thanks to Instagram, we found out that Kevin and Laura of Chapter 3 Travels were staying in Grayton also, and we met up with them for happy hour one night. Our good friends Nancy and Betsy of RV-a-GoGo joined us as well.
We hung out with both of the couples alot during our stay, and one night we had a huge RVer dinner when we were also joined by Mike and Kathie of Life Rebooted and Ben and Lanni who don’t have a blog, but you find them on Instagram here and here.
Our month in Florida flew by and had to say our goodbyes to Nancy and Betsy, who were staying for a few more months, and all of our fun local friends. Next we headed to Gulf Shores, Alabama and our reservation at Gulf State Park.
This is a really huge state park, and it’s filled with great walking and biking trails. We liked it here so much we extended our stay by a few days. The following weekend, our good friends Gray and Linda told us that they would be in town that weekend, and invited us to driveway camp at their house for a few days. We can’t say no to good friends AND a free place to park, so we moved the RV right on over. Their house is right on the bay and we enjoyed watching the sunset from the dock behind the house.
We had a great weekend with our friends checking out some local restaurants, happy hours and sunsets. Our favorites were The Gulf and Fisher’s.
As we continued west, our next destination was Louisiana. Our original idea was to spend a few days in New Orleans, but since we had stayed longer than expected in Alabama and we have been to New Orleans many, many times – we decided to just drive through and land in Lafayette instead. We stayed at the city-run Acadiana Park Campground. I called to make reservations, but the manager told me that they had plenty of room and that we could just show up when we liked. I was a little surprised because it was Mardi Gras season, and on paper this park sounds like the type of place that would be really busy – an inexpensive public park close to downtown, with hiking trails. But it wasn’t very crowded at all when we got there – we were able to just pick whatever site we wanted. Once we drove around the park I began to understand why maybe it’s not so popular. The park itself is very run-down. Many sites were horribly unlevel, and the hookups (water and electric only) were placed in very strange places relative to the sites. We chose a back-in site close to the trail heads, but as soon as we pulled in, realized that the hookups were on the wrong side of the RV, and all the way at the front of the site. So basically in the completely wrong area for us to be able to use them. We made it work by pulling forward pretty far in the site and running the water hose and power cord under the RV.
And this was the grill at our site. Good thing we travel with our own!
We did enjoy the nice walking trails which were mostly boardwalks, as the area was somewhat swampy.
The park itself is very pretty, even though it had some quirks I would stay here again if we were back in the area.
As luck would have it, we were parked very close to Kerri and Tim (Solo Journer and Van Tramp) who I have followed for awhile on Instagram. We went out to dinner with them one night and had a great time, but I neglected to get a picture. I did however get a picture of our yummy food, so you’ll just have to use your imagination and picture 4 RVers sitting and talking around this table of deliciousness.
We’re always looking for a good place to walk the dogs, and we found a great place to do that at Girard Park, close to the University of Louisiana campus. There were lots of people there walking around, a pond, and a disc golf course.
We took a short drive to the nearby town of Breaux Bridge to eat at Poche’s Cajun Restaurant, which had been recommended to us by several people. We both got the crawfish etouffee and it was delicious!
After lunch we decided to drop by Bayou Teche Brewing Company for a beer. According to Yelp, it was open at that time. When we got there we noticed the parking lot was empty, but walked in anyway. As we were standing in the tasting room, I noticed a sign on that wall that informed us that we were actually there a few hours before they opened. We were just about to leave when someone came into the room and offered to serve us anyway. Louisiana hospitality at its finest! We ended up having a nice talk with the owner, and we told him about Harvest Hosts. Just last week, another RVer that I follow on Instagram posted a picture of themselves staying there! So they did end up signing up for Harvest Hosts, and if we go back on this route we’ll try to stay there too. The beer was really, really good and the owners and employees were all incredibly nice.
Since Deas has never been to a Mardi Gras parade it seemed liked something we should really do. Even though I grew up in New Orleans, I have not been to a Mardi Gras in probably 20 years. The older I get, the less I enjoy big crowds, so it’s something Deas and I have never done together, even though we’ve talked about it many times. Since this was Lafayette and not New Orleans, the parade wasn’t as elaborate and it was pretty easy to find parking and a good spot to watch the parade.
Even though I hadn’t been to Mardi Gras in a long time, I immediately go right back into the spirit and went after as many long strands of beads as I could get!
We ended up having a blast and now I’m thinking we should do a real New Orleans Mardi Gras one year. Maybe next year – we’ll see.