Atmore – Magnolia Branch Wildlife Preserve (June 2015)
Check-In: The actual process was just fine, however there’s no sign on the trailer (office) out front to indicate that’s where you check in. It wouldn’t be confusing except there’s an older trailer right next to it that isn’t the office. There’s no decent pull off for those with larger RVs/trailers, so you pretty much park on the street. The staff inside was very affable, but seemed young and inexperienced. I had to ask for a map so I would know where our site was. There was no handout with the activity information listed, which would’ve been great to have on paper to keep in the RV. We had paid, checked in, and were on our way to our site within a few minutes, which was wonderful considering it was raining. My biggest issue with this park is there is no signage! There are no signs to tell you which roads to use, which ways to go, where the RV spots are, where the swimming is, etc. Once you get unhitched and can drive around and figure out where you are, it’s fine. Towing a large RV and not knowing where to go isn’t ideal.
RV Spots: 49 full RV sites and 10 pull throughs at $30/day, 82 RV sites with water and electric at $25/day, 82 tent sites with water and electric at $20/day, and unlimited primitive campsites for tents. There’s a lot of spots that are in the sun, so I’d recommend checking google maps and compare it to their maps. We had a nice pull-through that had some great shade.
WiFi: Non existent as to be expected when you’re out in a wildlife refuge. 🙂
Amenities: Zip lines ($5/day), Canoe and Kayak rentals ($5-7/hr), Tubing ($5 for 2hr trips), swimming, bike rentals and trails, walking/offroading trails, volleyball, horse trails and stalls, swings, and a water blob!! There was lots to do! It rained EVERY day we were there, but when it wasn’t raining we had plenty to do and still had a wonderful time!
Kids/Pets: They had a playground of swings for the kids who weren’t swimming, tubing, etc. It was very family and pet friendly!!
Staff: The staff was always very helpful and welcoming. The whole thing seemed somewhat unorganized, but that’s certainly better than having rude staff! My absolute biggest complaint about the staff is that they do NOT adhere to the posted 15mph speed limit. They fly through the park even when kids were out playing, even after other campers had yelled at the staff to slow down.
Local Area: We headed into town which was about 20 minutes away to the local Walmart. We drove through and around town and did some exploring and learning online about the Poarch Creek Indians and Atmore history.
Reason/Rating: Enjoy the camping experience 5/10
Robertsdale – Styx River RV Park (November 2015)
Check-In: We arrived on Veterans Day right in the middle of their ceremony which happened directly next to the check-in driveway. We asked if we should park and/or turn off our engine and the check-in staff didn’t have a clue or an opinion. We felt like we were making a horrible entrance for those trying to enjoy their ceremony by the flag. Once we checked in, we parked so the staff could drive us around in a golf cart to let us pick our spot before parking. I originally thought this was crazy and time consuming because I was ready to get settled and hooked up, but I always enjoy having options.
RV Spots: They have almost 200 RV spots, almost all are pull-through. They have almost 20 cabins, some new models, but most older models. The spots are a nice size, all come with a picnic table, and some come with a concrete pad.
WiFi: We never had a problem with WiFi.
Amenities: Where do I start with this one? They have a very large park, a nearby river for fishing or swimming during warmer months, plenty of trails for golf carting, biking, or walking. They have two pools, one indoor and one outdoor, as well as a great clubhouse with an adults lounge upstairs and bingo, table tennis, and kids area downstairs. They have an outdated miniature golf course, but we had a blast on it! They had a playground, basketball court, volleyball court, and a game room. I really enjoyed all the options since we were there for a few days, however we couldn’t help but think how amazing it would’ve been in the 80’s whenever it opened. I was so excited about all of the social activities they had on their calendar, everything from an ice cream socials, adult crafts, zumba, card games, neighbor meet and greet, movie and popcorn, and karaoke.
Kids/Pets: I was so excited for family bingo, but it apparently only happens twice a month and not while we were there. We loved the playground, putt putt, clubhouse, and basketball court. We also really enjoyed biking around the grounds and trails. Everybody had dogs, so this was a very pet friendly campground. They obviously loved the trails as well. There’s plenty of things to do for the kiddos and pets!
Staff: The staff was very helpful when I had to change our plans a few days before. I always received emails which I appreciate when trying to keep our plans printed out. This trip was a free offer I entered through Camping World provided by Ocean Canyon Properties for their RV membership program. I had read lots of scary reviews about these meetings with salespeople being super pushy and taking up too much of your time. Our “tour” and meeting was almost exactly 90 minutes as they advertised, and our salesman was great and not pushy at all. We had a wonderful trip, paid 90 minutes of our debt in our time, and realized this RV membership was not for us. Even after turning them down, we received a $100 Camping World gift certificate that we will absolutely use!
Local Area: We did a day trip into Mobile and had a blast at the USS Alabama. We ran out of time, but added the Exploreum and so much more! Mobile is a trip in itself! Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are also nearby.
Reason/Rating: Enjoy the camping experience 4/10