Camping Locally @ Palmetto Island State Park

April 5, 2024

This week we went on a one night camping jaunt to one of our local state parks - Palmetto Island in Abbeville, LA. Since we had a few really great weather days (night and day taking into consideration) it allowed for a paired down setup. 

Perfect for a quick Spring Break trip.  

The bigger question here is, why has no one told me we needed to camp here before?! Jeremy camped here with friends about 10 years ago, and I admittedly stick to Arkansas/Tennessee for the weather. Moving forward it looks like we may be alternating between our two local parks for a quick camp in the Spring/Fall when the weather is ideal. 

How gorgeous is this short board walk trail through the swamp?

For a 24 hours trip it felt like we spent multiple days. 

For starters I booked up at campsite CI088, right across from the shower/laundry area. The facilities were great and in the laundry area they even had a book shelf full of kids books that the boys took advantage of. 

The roads going through the park are paved, perfect for taking out scooters and bikes. There were many families riding bikes and walking all day long. I always love the safety of a campground, because the boys can be given more freedom to ride around and explore. It's been nice getting to an age where everyone can adhere to the rules set in place and aren't actively trying to get in water or fall in a fire pit. 

The site was large enough that we really went back and forth on whether or not to use the tent pad or put the tent on the back side of the driveway. We ended up going with the pad because it was so well shaded.

 This was the first tent pad we've used that was sand, it honestly made walking in the tent feel better on your feet (many are rock based) and the bottom of the tent shook off easy when we were packing up. 

Here's a better view of the campsite from the road. 

We had a good amount of space, and a big bonus with the fire ring not being right by the tent. We were able to check into our site at 2pm and since we were doing a lighter set up this time we set up the tent to house our bedding and bags until we got back from hiking and kayaking. It's a breeze when you don't have to connect the AC to the tent (says the woman who watches Jeremy set it up every trip). 

We lucked out and were able to see the Abbeville Red Irises blooming.

There is an area with a big splash pad and playground, and a meeting room building where right behind it is a short boardwalk through the swap where you can easily view the flowers when they are blooming. 

Elliot was warned many times to stay on the boardwalk and not get too close to the edge. I was not jumping in that swamp to fish a child out. When Harrison was this age he fell into the Cahaba river (when we went to see the lillies) and at 4 he slipped in the creek at Beaver's Bend where he was also fished out of the water. The kid isn't agile and has given me a few heart attacks while camping. 

The outdoor rug we added to the mix for our Gatlinburg trip in 2022 is still a favorite. It give you just enough room for wiping off feet and leaving shoes that the tent floor doesn't get nearly as gritty as it did before. 

After we froze our butts off overnight in Gatlinburg in 2020 (we meaning me) we've since learned our Spring camping lesson. Surprisingly we didn't end up needing our gas heater that night. 

Also note, with the nice weather and checkout the next day being at 1pm, we didn't tarp the top of the tent. Dew was minimal and the tent had plenty of time to dry. Trust me when I say this, always tarp the top of the tent on long trips just in case the weather decides to change. 

Our minimal inside set up. 

No AC, the boys shared the queen double air mattress and we had the king size. I added fleece throws to their bed and they slept in long flannel since the temps were dropping to the high 40's by 4am. We had a heated fleece blanket incase everyone needed to end up in our bed. 

The kids spent so much time playing in this patch of sand in front of the tent. 

Fair warning, there was a ton of poison ivy. Jeremy is highly allergic, so I set up the back side of the tent and did my best to walk around it. We always remind the boys to not touch anything green that isn't grass. Jeremy hasn't mentioned it yet, but I think we came out of this without any poison ivy rashes. 

And I set up the tent standing in it (I know, I know) wearing Chacos! Make that your PSA is always pack Dawn dish soap. As soon as we were done I washed my feet and legs with it and came out of the trip fine. I've also never had poison ivy and don't think I'm super allergic. 

Another set up view. 

Peep the amount of extension cord we take to reach that tent in all camping set ups lol! 

The pop up tent wasn't taken this time. As per the usual the coffee pot and griddle were set up on the picnic table. We contemplated grilling the burgers that night, but opted for the easy of the griddle. It's just cheaper and quicker than fussing with a fire pit or ring. 

Everyone playing frisbee. 

I left Jeremy to do all the cooking this time.

Elliot was very impressed with his burger, but honestly this child just loves camping and would live in the tent if given the opportunity. He would be on board for buying an RV and living in it full time. 

If you go to Palmetto I highly recommend taking kayaks, we borrowed two from a friend and had a great time. Pretty soon we need to purchase two tandems, I personally enjoy the ease of taking your own vs. renting. With renting you tend to end up with a canoe and then an hour slot. 

We kayaked the area in about 30 minutes (tons of lilly pad overgrowth we couldn't paddle through) and since we weren't renting no one felt bad when we pulled our kayaks back out in that time frame and then did it all over again the next morning. 

Everyone making smores. 

Another fire while making breakfast. 

After breakfast we packed up most of our stuff and left the tent up while we went kayaking again. Take down was quick and we managed to check out with time to spare.