Campground Review: Ho Hum RV Park, Carrabelle, Florida

If you’d rather listen to the podcast, click the play button.

 

     *see our 5-Bambi rating legend at the end of this review.

It’s called Old Florida, The Real Florida, The Florida You Never Knew, this fetching string of fishing villages adorning Florida’s Forgotten Coastline along Highway 98.

Our friends, Larry and Jacquie Cook recommended we drive past several lovely new, upscale, resort-style RV parks boasting perfectly level rows of angled pull-through concrete decks surrounded by manicured green screens and luxury amenities with stunning views of Carrabelle Beach … from across the highway.

Very nice, but no thank you. We fancy something without Hwy 98 between us and The Gulf of Mexico – a large site where we can sprawl out, rinse off our kayaks, hang wetsuits and towels on our clothesline and brew tea in the sun.

(Great end spot with lots of room across from the pier)
(View from our door)
(View of our Airstream from Carmen’s Kayak)

We stayed at Ho Hum RV Park for two weeks over Christmas week and New Year in the “Tier B, beach view” section (more accurately, it’s a Gulf View, since this natural shoreline has no significant beach). We paid $228 per week – about $32.50 per day. That’s cheaper than the resorts and we had easy launching in minimal surf. Bingo!

Every campsite here is near the water, so Ho Hum is a fishing and kayaking wonderland.

(Carmen and her dad paddle on the Gulf of Mexico near the pier at Ho Hum RV Park.)

We paddled along the coastline and to the barrier islands – Bird Island and Dog Island.

(Bird Island with Ho-Hum RV Park about 1 mile in the distance)

When we arrived to Ho Hum, we’d been driving from Pensacola – all day, in the rain – and it was getting late. But, even in the dark we couldn’t miss the big, yawning Ho Hum RV Park sign.

Ho Hum RV Park sign
(Ho Hum RV Park sign on Highway 98)

I grew up in Florida and the popcorn sound of driving on oyster shells triggered a flood of happy childhood memories of dad towing our boat into the marina. In Franklin County, oyster shells are still the usual pavement for roadside shops, driveways and even state park hiking trails – so, I’ll save my strappy designer sandals for Miami.

Oyster shells are used as ground cover
(Oyster shell pavement)

Ho Hum RV Park also uses an abundance of pea-gravel to demark each generous space, and the friendly campground hosts coordinate to keep the modest 48-space grounds clean and raked as neatly as a zen meditation garden.

Full hook-ups were provided on our comfortable end space where a conference of four tall pines made me wonder why we still don’t have a hammock. This “18 years-old and above” community of full-timers, part-timers and week-end regulars contribute to the balmy Ho- Hum, no-bad-vibes atmosphere. It’s not just an image they project, it’s a right they protect. Stress is actively discouraged. Residents will sometimes lift a languid hand and deliver the “Ho-Hum” salutation. Ho-hum: code, for “don’t stress.”

(Our site circled in red at Ho Hum RV Park)

We prefer to use our own shower in our Airstream trailer, but when other first-time  campers gave glowing reviews of the shower facilities, we had to investigate. Clean, beautiful, pristine – effortlessly maintained in the unusual Ho Hum way.

(Ho Hum RV Park’s clean and beautiful showers)

Like nearly every RV park, the coin laundry leaves much to be desired. We prefer to wash in our little portable and hang out to dry, but with limited winter sunlight and increased humidity we’ve, lately, been forced to use the dryers.

Our little "Panda" brand washing machine, perfect for small loads and fits inside the shower while in use.
(Our shower is transformed into a laundry with our cute and handy “Panda” washing machine – perfect for our frequent small loads washed in allergen-free soap)

Hey, it’s Florida and we’re on the water, so rusty machines are to be expected, but … to dry a small load of mostly quick-dry fabrics, it took three (3!) twenty-minute cycles at $1.50 each!!! I know, I know. Don’t stress. Ho-hum

Ho Hum RV Park laundry room
(Ho Hum RV Park laundry room)

Ho Hum’s abundant shoreline is absent of any significant area for beach-recreation or long strolls. At high-tide there’s no beach at all. But, there are several places on the grounds to hang out and de-stress.

The fishing pier…

(Carmen’s dad on the pier. Our Airstream, Beauty, just to the left of the pier)

the outdoor tiki lounge…

and, the swings near the water…

The thoughtful Ho Hum staff made us feel welcome. Pet-friendly stations with bags are provided, and guests were mostly vigilant about picking up after their dogs. Management received packages for us at the office – an important service for full-timers like us – especially at Christmas!

Another important feature for full-time travelers is WiFi. Connectivity is a fundamental  reason full-timing is trending. Ho Hum provides better than many parks – the usual frequent lapses during high-traffic hours weren’t too bad – but, we were told that plans are in the works to repair the problem.

There is no camp store at Ho Hum. The closest store – the IGA at Carrabelle – is a three mile drive. I say, drive because after hours of boots-on-the-ground, field-exploration using Google Maps and Google Earth, we can vouch that no known safe bicycle access exists between Ho-Hum and Carrabelle. If we had found it, we would have provided a map, here. It is not recommended to cycle even a short distance on this stretch of Hwy 98. There are no pedestrian or cycling paths or even a decent shoulder. If it wasn’t such a nasty road-kill and trash strewn half-mile tromp on the soft shoulder toward the cute market and boat launch in Lanark Village, we’d have walked there every day. About 100 yards south we crossed the highway (no pedestrian crosswalk!) into the Lanark Village neighborhood which was pleasant enough for cycling the residential area.

For fitness walking and cycling we had to get in The Beast and go for a drive. About 8 miles west is Tate’s Hell – named for a pitiful soul whom The Woods chewed up and spat out sparing him only a scrap of breath to declare, “My name is Cebe Tate, and I just came through Hell” before he collapsed dead on the spot. Okay. So, you try not to think about that and just appreciate the natural tropical landscape; admire the well-maintained and marked state park trails which are clearly signed and right off the highway. Picnic tables are on most of the loops but, since it’s a bear area, we chose to hike without food. Most hikers we encountered were with unleashed dogs and some were better at controlling them than others – we didn’t sense any danger, but pepper spray is always a comfort.

(We survived hiking Tate’s Hell)
(Hiking Tate’s Hell)

Fish markets are close by and we took advantage of the local catches – oysters, shrimp and grouper … oysters mostly! Many businesses were closed for the holidays, but a few restaurants we’d like to recommend are, Lynn’s Quality Oysters, for the steamed “poppers” with fresh cut slices of jalapeño and finished with a dollop of cream cheese; Dad couldn’t have been more pleased with the shrimp tacos at Tropical Traders; and, Jim and I enjoyed breakfast several times at Emsy’s Cafe where our special request for basted eggs was greeted with a smile and perfectly executed with a “no problem” attitude.

Plenty of room to move here in Franklin County, where the land still has a sense of frontier to it.

(Carrabelle boasts it has the “World’s Smallest Police Station”)

Even on 1 – 30 mile trips to Panacea, Lanark Village, Carrabelle, Apalachicola, and St. George Island we would often encounter fellow Ho Hummers at restaurants, or at the fabulous Oyster City Brewing Company

(Our flight at Oyster City Brewing Company in Apalachicola, Florida)

…and even while walking a long stretch of warm and sunny deserted beach.

Carrabelle Beach
(Carrabelle Beach all to ourselves)

I write this review as we depart, Ho Hum. We thought about staying longer – possibly till Spring. Packing is an effort when you don’t want to leave … when you’re so relaxed and pleased with all you’ve seen and done, and still so much remaining to be discovered. But, we can always come back. We promised ourselves to see as much of Florida as possible this winter … So, off we go …

(A sunset drive to Apalachicola which ended with beer at Oyster City Brewing Company … perfect)

 

 

Our “BAMBI” rating system for Public and Private campgrounds and resorts explained:

bambi-1 – One Bambi: Should’a boondocked.

bambi-2 – Two Bambi’s: Better than a Cracker Barrel or Walmart.

bambi-3 – Three Bambi’s: Adequate for a short stay.

bambi-4 – Four Bambi’s: Great place! Met our expectations for an extended stay. Needs minor improvements or is not ideally situated for all our preferred recreation (walking, cycling, swimming, kayaking) without driving.

 – Five Bambi’s: Destination Camping at it’s best! Critical as we are, there’s nothing we’d improve, and you can bet your sweet Bambi we’re going back!

11 thoughts on “Campground Review: Ho Hum RV Park, Carrabelle, Florida

  1. Thanks for the wonderful update. Maybe we can follow suit someday. In the meantime, we’re living in Brooklyn helping with our second granddaughter. The Excella is put to bed for a few more months.
    You introduced me to another new product, the cute little wash machine.
    Enjoy your sunshine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful to hear from you Bill and congratulations! Neither of us have been to Brooklyn, but we’re surrounded by Brooklynites in this campground!

      We are enjoying the sunshine, thank you, and I had my first manatee experience today!

      We love our little Panda. It became necessary because of my allergy to preservatives in liquid soaps. The residue in the coin-op machines caused reactions. Panda solved the problem! But we had to learn not to overload. We like thick sheets, so we wash one at a time – and we’ve adapted to mostly light-weight, quick-dry garments and towels. We prefer line-dried laundry so Jim rigged lines on the awnings on both sides so we can have big wash days when it’s sunny.

      Thank you for following, Bill. Keep us posted on your whereabouts so we can meet up.

      xoxox!!!

      LIB

      Like

      1. I truly love your review
        The narrative describing the lack of cycle, walking or etc safety is truly valuable
        I love your washing machine
        I have one a little different but serves the purpose

        I too have horrible allergies to detergents & mostly to fabric softeners & most all flowery smelling perfume or lotions
        Also allergic to ALL artificial sweeteners

        I’ve found melalueka products (also watching out for how they are scented)

        Is this what you use or do you use something else?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very nice review! I concur and thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and the pics. It was good to meet you fine folks and learn more about your kayaks. Next time you’re in that area you may want to consider the campground on St. George Island, where we’ve also stayed. It’s very isolated, but I think you would like the hiking trails, beach and kayaking there. It’s also very beautiful! Bon voyage!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Fred! We did visit the campground on St. George Island. It was beautiful, clean and had upgraded bathroom facilities. We walked around and found the launch area. When we’re in the area we will be sure to give it a try.

      Happy Trails to you, too Fred! Hope to see you down the road!

      LIB

      Like

  3. I always get comfortably when I see an email from livinginbeauty! I love the wonderful adventure that I experience everytime I read an update. I love Florida; versatile and fabulous in every way. The pictures were extra fantastic this time! Thank you for sharing your wonderful life with all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for being with us Teresa, and for your kind words of encouragement.

      You seem to know Florida well. Please let us know if there is some aspect of Florida or some place, event we should experience.

      Best to you, Teresa!

      LIB

      Like

  4. Wish we were with you! Today is grey and rainy in San Diego. I want to bike, kayak or hike and see the sights you are describing so well. Thanks for including us all on your epic adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

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