We often talk about how different each campground can be, but we are learning that even the same campground can offer a different campground living experience throughout the year.
We are at Sugar Sands RV Resort in Gulf Shores, Alabama. This is the only campground where we have stayed on three separate occasions. I want to take a moment today to delve in to what we have learned about the experience of campgrounds throughout the year from these three visits.
Winter Campground Living
Our first stay at Sugar Sands was for the month of February in 2016. We were waiting out the winter while positioning ourselves to be able to cross the southern US during the Spring before it was too hot, and then travel up the West Coast for the summer and enjoy Yosemite, Mt. St. Helens, Glacier National Park and other cooler areas during the heat of the summer.
During our winter stay, the campground was full of Snowbirds, most from the Midwest. Due to their long stays, most settle in to a nice routine where they can enjoy the outdoors while snickering about the weather where they are from. I am convinced that no one likes to tell you more about an ongoing snow storm than a snowbird who is over a thousand miles away from the actual snow.
As you probably guessed, reader, the majority of RVers this time of year are retired and many have been retired for quite some time. In our 30s, we were by far the youngest couple. The oldest person was a kind gentleman who I believe was 90 years old (his daughter & son-in-law were staying too). I never saw him without a smile on his face.
Due to the cooler temperatures, the pool waters lay unmolested and trips to walk on the beach were limited to the warmest time of day. Nonetheless, the resort had an extensive schedule of activities for those interested. From cornhole and card night, to Mardi Gras Parade Float design; the variety of weekly activities offered fun for everyone.
Due to the extended stay of most of the RVers, the turnover was minimal; in fact, I believe there were only a few spots that were not long-term guests. I think there were maybe 2-3 nights where there was a vacant spot for the entire month; otherwise, the resort was full.
The sunny days seemed endless. One after another. We did have one tornado warning interrupt the repetition.
The wi-fi proudly over-serves the demand and flaunts its high speeds. Except in the morning hours. The routine of the snowbirds must include wi-fi in the morning.
Overall, campground living was quiet and peaceful, sunny yet crisp.
Fall Campground Living
After our travels up the West Coast, we then crossed the country again to meet my family for vacation in Florida. On our way there, we stopped for a week at Sugar Sands again in September. For this stay, we were able to enjoy the beach and warm Gulf waters to their fullest. After absorbing the sun’s heat for the entire summer, the water temperature was as warm as it gets…bath water. The pool was open and very warm too.
Since students were back in school, and we were still too early for the snowbirds, the campground had plenty of vacancies. We could visit the pool with only one or two other visitors.
The wi-fi is barely tested and is abundant.
The whole place seemed to be breathing a sigh of relief after the summer crowd. Even the heat did not have its full strength.
The RVers seemed to be vacationers like us, but mainly with Southern license plates.
Summer Campground Living
Now, we are currently enjoying June and July at Sugar Sands. We were originally only to stay for June, but admittedly, we just love the place too much to leave it. So, we added a second month. This time of year is crowded at the resort, similar to the winter, only this is a much younger crowd. Also, the RVers are more local, mostly from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Some of which leave their RVs here for the summer and visit on weekends to enjoy the beach. The rest seem to be here for a week long vacation. There are usually a few vacant spots, but not many.
Young families dominate the scene, and Mothers are waiting for the pool to open at 9:00 am so that they may set up their family’s area. The pool does not see a break from the crowd until its gates are locked at 9:00 pm. It thins out at lunch and dinner time, but otherwise, it is a steady stream of young swimmers. The shuffleboard, volleyball net, and other games are seeing plenty of use as well.
It is funny to walk around the campground now to see Roll Tide and LSU flags, when I can remember walking the same path in the winter passing Yooper and Green Bay flags.
The beach is much more crowded and the increased traffic is noticeable; especially around Independence Day.
The wi-fi is unreliable, great when it can be, but also overloaded at times.
The heat keeps Chris and I indoors in the afternoon, but it does not seem to phase our Southern friends. I love the sultry evenings and the ease of minimal clothing. Intense thunderstorms seem to be always lurking and strike weekly.
This time campground living is full of fun and youth, not as much peace and quiet.
I have pondered it before, but the life of the RVer really can be summed up by constant change. Even visiting the same campground will give a completely different experience depending on the timing. We try to embrace that change, savoring the highlights of each season in our lives before it passes to the next.