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If you have been watching the Weather Channel, you probably saw “Hermine” left her mark on Florida… making landfall near St. Marks. Over the years we have made several trips through the area and always enjoy our visit to the St. Marks NWR. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is a beautiful place to picnic, hike, bird-watch, fish or view the St. Marks Lighthouse. The refuge is located right off U.S. Hwy. 98 and only costs a minimal vehicle entrance fee. Oh, and did I mention the alligators? 😉
If you find yourself in Pensacola during the holidays, you have to stop by the Pensacola Lighthouse located on the Naval Air Station and right across from the Naval Aviation Museum. The lighthouse and buildings are decorated for Christmas. Just about every room has a decorated tree!
The admission fee ($6 for adults, $4 for seniors) includes the lighthouse and museum exhibits. And, did I mention the lighthouse is haunted? 😉
If you are near the Eastern Shore of Maryland, you should plan to visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. This waterfront museum consists of 18 acres and is definitely worth a visit if you love boats and the water.
They not only have the Hooper Strait Lighthouse on property, but Point Lookout Tower, several boats and larger historic items; in addition, they have a boat shop where you can see apprentices working on projects, several museum buildings with multiple galleries/exhibits, a wharf, a boat-tour of the Chesapeake, Mitchell house, cabin, heirloom garden and more. Oh, and did I mention driving under the drawbridge? 😉
Admission to the museum is $15 for adults and $12 for seniors. The cost actually includes two-day admission so you don’t have to hurry to see everything. We easily spent 3 hours there and probably would have spent longer if we hadn’t other plans that day. They have benches near the lighthouse and it was peaceful just sitting there watching the boats and birds across the river.
Parking is not a problem for tow vehicles, however, you might call ahead and see if there is an event before you take the RV as Big Rig parking could be an issue during busy times.
The town of St. Michaels is very quaint with seafood restaurants and shops along the main street and waterfront.
For more information: http://www.cbmm.org/index.htm
Fort Morgan State Historic Park is just west of Gulf Shores (AL) and overlooks Mobile Bay. The fort was completed in 1834 and was occupied during several wars including the Civil War.
Although most folks might not be familiar with the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864, they have probably heard Admiral Farragut’s famous quote, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” From Battery Thomas (near the fort) you can see where the U.S.S. Techumseh sank after it struck a torpedo (mine). A buoy marks its resting place.
This state park is definitely a must-see for history and military buffs. It offers views of the bay and Gulf of Mexico, in addition to a handful of natural gas rigs and Sand Island Lighthouse.
Admission to the park includes the fort, museum-gift shop, outside structures and beach. Current price is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors. There is adequate parking; however to view some of the other structures you need to drive down a gravel road. So it would be better to take your tow vehicle. There is a ferry that can take you from Dauphin Island to/from Fort Morgan; however, weather and tide can effect whether or not they will allow RVs to board.
For directions and visiting hours, visit: http://fortmorgan.org/
In the Summer of 2008 we found ourselves along scenic Highway 101 near Crescent City (CA). We found a nice little campground and enjoyed visiting Redwood National and State Parks, in addition to Battery Point Lighthouse. Although we found ourselves with poor timing and had to return to visit the lighthouse. Battery Point is only accessible from shore during low tide. There are many sites to see along the coast and we look forward to returning in the near future.
When in Pensacola, don’t forget to take time to visit the National Museum of Naval Aviation and the Pensacola lighthouse. Both are located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station and are FREE! Citizens just need to show proper photo ID at the entrance gate. You will be given a dash pass to display while you are visiting.
Even if you have been there before, the museum has a new addition you should see – Hangar Bay One.
Be prepared to spend several hours at the museum complex. There are two floors of exhibits, Hangar Bay One, as well as other attractions (IMAX theater and FREE trolley tour). The museum also has a restaurant, gift shop and library/gallery to enjoy.
National Museum of Naval Aviation
Free Parking and Admission (see website for additional IMAX prices)
Museum Open Daily (except holidays) 9 am – 5 pm
And again, don’t forget to visit the haunted lighthouse while you’re there!
Located across from the National Museum of Aviation
Free Parking / Free Admission to Museum
$5 for Lighthouse Climb (see website for additional prices and special events)
Open Monday – Saturday 10:30 am – 5:30 pm
Check their websites for special Blue Angels dates, especially if you want to view them from the top of the lighthouse. Additional cost for lighthouse climb during Blue Angels schedule.
Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, California is well worth a visit! The lighthouse is actually on a small island just offshore. The lighthouse is only open (during season) when the tide permits folks to “walk” over. On our first visit we actually missed it, but fortunately there are so many other scenic sites in the area, that we had no problem returning later in the day. 🙂
NOTE: Information and driving directions to Battery Point Lighthouse can be found at: http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=58