The continuing adventures of our RV Christmas Family Vacation Trip to the Ocean. Catch up on part 1 here.
Spending Christmas with the family was great. We only spent a few days visiting because we ultimately needed to get to the Atlantic Ocean and back to our home state in Tennessee before I had work on Monday.
We finally settled in our camping spot very late Wednesday night. Tracy and I were blown away by the beauty of our site.
I didn’t remember our campsite being this close to the water, but it was amazing. Tracy and I drank our French-Press coffee outside. We put our chairs in the mud, our feet on the picnic table, and put our eyes on the nature show around us. The smell of the woods, the sound of the water, and a climate that was the perfect temperature. We watched a woodpecker put little holes in the trees just a few feet from us. The kid was in bed sleeping and Tracy and I relaxed and enjoyed the morning.
After our coffee the Ranger showed up. Perfect! We can pay up for the night and the next two nights.
“Ok, you guys need to be gone by 11. We are closing for the holiday!” said the cheerful ranger.
“Oh yeah, this campsite will be under water in a few hours as well”
We bartered with the ranger for a few minutes but he would have none of it.
Apparently in North Carolina they shut down all the public parks and services on Christmas.
I think I was a little shocked. I mean in other states everything closes at Christmas as well. That means self check-in. That means no help. That doesn’t mean you can’t use public lands.
While we waited for a ranger we saw multiple people try and put their boats in the water. Nope – the state shut down all the boat ramps. No using public property on Christmas in North Carolina!!!
It ended up not really mattering. The state park was on a lake with a Dam and with the all the heavy rains, the park was soon to be underwater.
The ranger was nice enough to provide a suggestion for another park not to far away. The downside of course was I had to listen to Sir give me directions, but we made the trip. The trip was short, and the sun was out, so I gave the passage a low difficulty rating.
The new park was simple with little amenities. It was full of other State Park Refuges and oil line workers. At $20/night with 50amp hookup and sewage, I couldn’t complain much.
I think I was mostly unhappy with the fact that North Carolina doesn’t let the public use state parks or public access areas because they are not around to hold your hand.
The other inconvenience was that we ended up over 15 minutes from my sisters house. They ended up just loaning us one of their cars for the duration we stayed.
The cat did a great job on the trip. I do not know if it is because the cat finally adjusted to RV life or what, but as soon as we finished traveling, he would always come out and explore his new surroundings.
I can’t say enough about how wonderful the weather was in North Carolina over Christmas. I loved that we had all our stuff with us. I was reminded how awesome it was to be at home away from home.
After a few days of Christmas celebration with my family it was time to hit the road again. The boy and I did the outside packing, and Tracy prepped the interior. With an emptied sewer, and our water tank filled, we rolled our to our final Christmas Vacation destination. The Atlantic Ocean!
We drove most of the day. We talked, listened to podcasts, Tracy made an amazing huge salad for each of us at lunch. I successfully filled up the gas tank at a gas station that was easy to enter and exit.
Then around 4pm in the late afternoon we rolled into Wilmington, NC and headed towards the beach.
We drove over a bridge to Emerald Island. Right after the bridge was a state park. Perfect.
We explored the state park for about 20 minutes. It had no ocean access. It had no beach access. It had only tiny sites.
No worries. There are more campgrounds!
The next campground across the way had the same issues. We visited a 3rd campground that only had seasonal sites.
Fine. We will find something else.
Next we drove up and down the Island. Every single parking lot was blocked off and said no public use. Every single parking spot had a sign saying closed in December and January.
I think I was in shock. I could see public access to the beach, but I also noticed no public parking was available.
I finally found a place to park. And it was on a private beach that you had to join a club to access.
So essentially Emerald Island is setup to keep the public off the beaches so the land owners can have access while the public pays the taxes to maintain it.
I have to say I was pretty furious. When we checked our gps program we couldn’t even find a beach that we could determine was open.
Essentially most of the North Carolina Coast my be public beach, but the rules of the communities appear to prevent the public from using the beach.
I am going to be honest. I could have voted for a communist at that point if I thought it would have provided me any justice.
So did we end up going to the beach? Sort of.
We drove to the other end of the island to see some historical landmark. I was so pissed I didn’t see the landmark. In fact I got out of the RV and saw.no beach. In a fit of rage. I walked back to the RV and laid down on the bed and took a nap. I think I was shaking because I was so pissed.
How could it be impossible to get access to the ocean.
About 20 minutes later Tracy came and woke me up.
We took the boy and walked 10 minutes down the oceanside walk.
At that point, we saw that someone had knocked down the barrier and about 30 people were on the beach standing in the water. All were tourists who probably were just as pissed as I was.
We spent the next 20 minutes jumping around in the water.
It was good.
Then this happened:
In the foreground you have Tracy full of Rage. In the background you have the boy full of Fear.
Even tho the boy “hung on” he someone managed to lose his glasses.
hahaha. That is what kind of day I was having.
We spent the next 10 or 20 minutes looking for the boys glasses, but we never found anything. Merry Christmas!
After giving up we all cheerfully walked back to the RV. Lets face it. We got to play in the Ocean! We did it! Screw you rich people stealing all the beaches!
Tracy made us a fantastic supper. We stayed in the parking lot and kept the doors open. We listened and watched the waves crash onto the shore. It was bliss.
I called the local Walmart and they said they allowed parking. With no campgrounds available under $100 with beach access, Walmart seemed the best option.
Despite the success of getting into the ocean, it was a super frustrating day. I was so grateful the RV was working great. Nothing is better then being in your own home at the end of the day, and even though my home ended up being parked at a Walmart, I knew I would be comfortably resting in my own bed that night.