From the pages of I RVing: Winter 2022

Charting a Gulf Coast Cruise

Migrating to Warmer Waters

Having an RV means that winter is strictly optional. Especially when the other side of the snowbird coin is island life at Hilton Head. On Page 46, check in to the Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort and experience the relaxation of paradise found. From local beaches to the best golf courses, we’ve prepared your island tour.

Stay in the sun of the Floridabama coast as you turn east from New Orleans toward the magic of Orlando


And the name of this plan is “Poof!” Mobility has its benefits and enjoying the perks of summer in the winter months is not the least among them. Few places allow us to do that better than the Gulf Coast states. Starting at New Orleans, a quick turn east puts the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico on your right flank, launching a four-state cruise that will be the envy of every snowbird. From sunny beaches and sweet coastal towns to the sea-market menus of Tallahassee, the trip is guaranteed magic—whether you finish at Walt Disney World or not.

Eastbound and Down

For starters, there’s no hurry to hustle out of New Orleans before you’ve soaked in Bourbon Street and eaten gumbo with the locals. (This is the South, and you can take your time.) The entire French Quarter is worth whatever time you have to spare—and you’ll want to step into the Bombay Club at least one night to let the smooth sound of jazz sweep over you. But when the road calls, head east over Lake Pontchartrain onto Interstate 10, which will take you clear across four states and into the Panhandle of Florida. Your Gulf Coast cruise will steer you directly into some great Southern cities and towns (looking at your, Biloxi), but Mobile, Alabama is your biggest obstacle, traffic-wise. One approach—a good one—would be to park it in Mobile for a spell (more on that in a sec), but if you’re passing through, time your approach either before 4:00 p.m. … or well after.

Plan for a Southern Detour

Because winter isn’t going anywhere, consider taking the scenic route. For a beautiful view of Mobile Bay, hop off I-10 onto US Route 98 East at Spanish Fort. This small highway will take you through Fairhope, Magnolia Springs, and Foley, which are some of Alabama’s most charming towns. At the Grand Hotel in Fairhope, the Bayside Grill and Southern Roots restaurants have panoramic windows with stunning views. (The food is pretty good, too.) When you’re ready to head out, stay on US 98 East and follow it through to Pensacola where you’ll reconnect with I-10. Once you clear into Florida, you’ll remain on “The Ten” till you dip south on Interstate 75 and link up with US Route 27 South toward Orlando. But take note: Temperatures in the Sunshine State can still drop down to the 40s in the winter, so pack coats with your swimsuits.

A Stop to Smell

The Flowers Pull off in Theodore, Alabama to stretch your legs and explore the grounds of Bellingrath Gardens. The grounds have serene waterfalls and a 1930s house with a porcelain collection. But the big show is the expansive garden with winter berries in January, camellias in February, and an explosion of over 250,000 azalea blooms in March—a refreshing rest stop.

Make a Historic Landing

Pensacola is a jackpot of visual history—the kind that kids actually enjoy. They can climb into Spanish forts like Fort Barrancas, and imagine being explorers and conquerors. (They have their choice: Spanish, French, British, Confederates, and Americans have all captured the city at some point.) And when you’re done learning, congrats. You’re in a prime spot for beach camping.

Plan an Hour Ahead

Is it losing an hour or gaining an hour? May depend on your outlook. Either way, factor in the time change as you cross from Central to Eastern Time Zones. Whatever your philosophy, plan for that hour when looking at your check-in times.

The Salty Flavor of Warmer Waters

Savor the flavor of your favorite saltwater entrees in Tallahassee. You can take your pick from a just-caught seafood menu at the Tally Fish House & Oyster Bar—whether that’s gulf shrimp, red snapper, swordfish, or Atlantic triggerfish. And for brunch, they offer bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. Yes, please


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