Canoeing Juniper Spring

Juniper Spring paddle

This is perhaps one of our favorite activities ? in the Ocala National Forest in Central Florida. Paddle magazine rates this run as a top 20 in the world ? and we have to agree. The water ? stays around 74 degrees and is crystal clear. The canoe trip starts in Juniper Spring National Forest and is a great 3 to 4 hours floating through some of the most beautiful canopies ???? aka hammocks in Florida. We saw several alligators ? , and lots of turtles ?.

Juniper Spring paddle

This trip should be able to be completed by novices to experts but I would describe as a great float. Bring water ? ! No alcohol allowed. We packed a lunch ? to enjoy ? on the trip ;albeit, all foods must be in a container as no cellophane or aluminum foil is allowed. The rangers will check your bags before you embark. Remember once you get back I recommend jumping in the swimming ?‍♀️ area at Juniper Spring as the water was refreshing even in February. You are not suppose to get out of your boat as you Canoe you down the run.

Link to Juniper Springs Rec. Area

The campground here was also very nice. Very clean and unspoiled. We picked campsite # 48. The site was large and private. There was no water or electricity but the water source was on the road in front of our campsite. The only downside was that we could hear traffic noise from the main highway outside of the park from our site. The park rangers and staff were very friendly and knowledgeable.

Finding the Manatees on Roadtrippers

Does size matter?

Does size really matter ??? It does for us . We had to laugh when we parked at a rest area and came out of the welcome center to view this !
When we were discussing a camper , we decided we wanted something comfortable, light to tow and no restroom inside. Our GG met all of our criteria…. This all depends on what you are looking for. We love to be outside when we’re camping . Cooking , relaxing and taking in everything the outdoors has to offer. I’m not saying we gave up comfort!
Once we had her, the inside had to be perfect. We have a queen size mattress inside and some cabinets …. that’s it ! In addition to the queen sized mattress that is standard with the Retro 509 jr, we added a 4 inch foam mattress topper plus a 3 inch feather bed !
I ordered quality deep pocked sheets, down pillows , a down comforter and a soft cotton duvet cover. Not to mention 4 small throw pillows …

All color coordinated of course ! When we climb into bed after a long day of hiking or kayaking, it feels like we are in a little nest !

Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot Island State Park is a great park located near Fernandina Bch. Fl. The camp grounds are well maintained. The bathrooms ? are very clean ?. There was nice privacy between the camp grounds.

Hiking ?? around Little Talbot is a must do. We loved the 4 mile trail that is rated moderate but if in ok shape should be easy. Trail ? leads one through the Florida’s woods and the last mile of the loop is along the coast line?.

Robin taking a rest on the trail…

Dreher Island SC

Update: visited again June 6, 2021~ One of favorite parks.

Dreher Island SC 2019

This secret lake ? outside of Columbia SC is a campers dream. Lake Murray is a 50,000-acre man-made lake in the Midlands of South Carolina. It is operated by South Carolina Electric and Gas Company and is known for striped bass fishing ? and summer water sports ?‍♀️. Public access is through public parks near the dam, public boat ramps ? and marinas ?, and Dreher Island State Recreation Area. Each summer, an estimated flock of over one million Purple Martins ? fill the predawn and evening skies, establishing their seasonal roost at Bomb Island, located in the middle of the lake. The island is the site of the first official sanctuary in North American designated solely for roosting Purple Martins.

GG made the trip with ease. We arrived late at night and Robin was very concerned about backing GG into the campsite ⛺️ our first time. Nailed it!

GG showing us our let’s eatIng options ???????

Lots of deer roaming the campgrounds which are kept very clean ?. Activities include swimming ??‍♂️,fishing,? tubing, boating??‍♀️ and the list goes ??‍♀️on and on? and on?an on ⛱and on ⛵️And on ??‍♂️ and on ?.

lake Murray on Dreher Island is waiting for you.


So ….here we are , the proud owners of a brand new Riverside Retro Jr. 509. This decision came after months and months of deciding whether we build, buy used or new. We knew we wanted something small and light with just sleeping area. (No bathroom inside ?)

Our search led us to this little sweet thing ! 

Let me back up a ways and tell you about how our obsession with the great outdoors started. 

A few years back , my other half ( not better but equally adventurous) and I started talking about an epic camping trip across America ! Neither of us had camped much in the past  and really didn’t know what we were doing , but we wanted to go. We worked and planned and charted and purchased everything we would need to take a month long trip from South Carolina out west. Sad to say that trip did not work out, so we decided to take a trip closer to home.

Our new destinations included South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee .

This trip led us to so many beautiful hikes , friendly people , campsites and scenery. It lasted 28 wonderful days, 12 campsites and 1 hotel room for 1 night (when we just had to recharge our batteries after camping in the rain for 4 days and nights ! ) This also involved setting up and breaking down camp every 2 or 3 days, rain or shine , In the South ….in June ! Every second was worth the effort ! 

About a year later we started talking about a trip out West once again. We decided a tent on wheels would better serve us. That brings us to our new found treasure ! We named her 

Gone Girl , Aka … GG !   So our adventure begins !

We wish to offer a big shout to our Dealer At Southland RV and David Notheis, we highly recommend these guys. Use this card and tell them Robin sent you.