I’m a sucker for sleeping to the sound of crashing waves.
- 1 What is Ho-Hum RV Park Like?
- 2 Prices at Ho-Hum RV Park
- 3 Interesting History of Carrabelle
- 4 Where to Eat Near Ho-Hum RV Park
- 5 Enjoy More of the Forgotten Coast
- 6 Mike and Jennifer’s Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!
FAQ’s about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers
- 7.1 What is the weather like along Florida’s Gulf Coast?
- 7.2 Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?
- 7.3 Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?
- 7.4 Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?
- 7.5 But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?
So when we found the Ho-Hum RV Park, just a few miles east of the town of Carrabelle in Northwest Florida and smack dab on the Gulf of Mexico, we had to pull in for a look.
That’s all it took.
Even though it was raining at the time, finding a place to camp this close to the water is pretty rare.
Our RVing friends Les and Kathy Shanteau had tipped us to this place and, as it turned out, the site we got (number 41) was the same one they camped on.
Our spot was just a few feet from the waves. I took an afternoon nap with my dog to the sound of waves out front and rain on the roof. Jen caught up on email and used the time to call the women she leads in a Bible study group back home.
Later, as the storm passed by, we went exploring and got a chance to visit with several of our neighbors.
What is Ho-Hum RV Park Like?
It’s a delightful little park. Nothing fancy. But it’s clean, neat, and far from the overdevelopment that characterizes so much of the coastline of the Sunshine State.
They even market themselves as such:
“We’re not a resort– we’re “Ho-Hum.” A different kind of RV park… the perfect place to read, take a nap, or just relax.”
To the east, there are a couple of well-spaced beach houses. To the west, nothing but wild beach, bordered by scrub pine. One of our neighbors said he kept returning to the area because it was “Old Florida,” meaning the culture was laid back, very Southern, pre-development.
The park boasts a lighted 250-foot long fishing pier and a narrow little beach.
Pets, on a leash, are welcome in the park, on the beach, and even on the pier. Kids, not so much. It’s billed as an “adult-only” park.
Our neighbors were all snowbirds. Most seemed to be staying for a month or two.
Prices at Ho-Hum RV Park
Like most campgrounds, prices fluctuate based on the site location and time of year. We splurged for the beach site, and it was quite the bargain compared to others in the area. Where we stayed in Destin, Florida just a few days prior to this visit was significantly more expensive.
These days, prices are fluctuating more than ever, so it’s best to check their website and availability for up-to-date prices.
We were the only Class B (back when we had a Class B – now we have a Class B+) in the park. Most of the others were Class A giants or Fifth Wheels, with a couple of Class B rigs sharing beach space with us.
Interesting History of Carrabelle
The beach we camped on has an interesting history. In 1942, Camp Gordon Johnson was opened nearby for the purpose of training amphibious soldiers on nearby beaches.
The camp trained a quarter of a million men and was used to prepare for D-Day and Normandy. Many of those D-Day landings were practiced on the sandy shores right around us.
The camp closed in 1946, but there is a great museum in town.
The World’s Smallest Police Station
Carrabelle is a sleepy little fishing town of 1,300 with a great sense of humor. On U.S. Highway 28, the main drag, Carrabelle boasts the world’s smallest police station. It’s a phone booth marked “Police.”
It has a great history, as recounted on the city’s website:
“The World’s Smallest Police Station” came into being on March 10, 1963. The city had been having problems with tourists making unauthorized long-distance phone calls on its police phone. The phone was located in a call box that was bolted to a building at the corner of U.S. 98 and Tallahassee Street. Johnnie Mirabella, St. Joe Telephone’s lone Carrabelle employee at the time, first tried moving the call box to another building, but the illegal calls continued.
Mirabella noticed that the policeman would get drenched while answering phone calls when it was raining. So when the telephone company decided to replace its worn-out phone booth in front of Burda’s Pharmacy with a new one, he decided to solve both problems at once by putting the police phone in the old booth.
With the help of Curly Messer, who was a deputy sheriff at the time, Mirabella moved the phone booth to its current site on U.S. 98 under the chinaberry tree. The booth did protect the officers from the elements, but some people still snuck into it to make long-distance calls. Eventually, the dial was removed from the phone, making it impossible for tourists to make calls.
It has been featured on television shows “Real People,” “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” “The Today Show,” and “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” It was featured in the movie “Tate’s Hell” which was produced at Florida State University. Along with police station T-shirts – the design is copyrighted – there are police station hats, visors, postcards, and calendars.
But life has not always been easy for the retired St. Joseph Telephone and Telegraph Co. phone booth. Vandals have ripped phones out of the booth and shot holes through the glass. It has been knocked over by a pickup truck, and a tourist once asked a gas station attendant to help him load it into his vehicle to take it back to Tennessee. It was knocked over and damaged by Hurricane Kate in 1985.”
But it’s still there, still being photographed by tourists.
Where to Eat Near Ho-Hum RV Park
For food, we tried the Hog Wild BarBQue. Oh Boy! Not sure if it is still there – make sure you look for it.
We didn’t have any BarBQue but we did have the buffet, loaded with Southern specialties. All the fried chicken, black-eyed peas, lima beans, turnip greens, rutabaga, cornbread and meatloaf you can handle. All for a great price, with a piece of cake for dessert.
Enjoy More of the Forgotten Coast
The area is part of the so-called Forgotten Coast that I wrote about previously. In fact, from our site at Ho-Hum RV Park, we could see St. George Island, where we had stayed the night before.
And for a more thorough exploration go read and WATCH — 11 of the BEST Florida Beach Campgrounds [Gulf Coast]
Mike and Jennifer’s Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!
We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.
Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter.
That’s why we’ve created three guides, covering Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys.
Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.
Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content!
FAQ’s about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers
What is the weather like along Florida’s Gulf Coast?
The weather along Florida’s Gulf Coast can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. In general, the area experiences hot, humid summers and mild, pleasant winters.
The Panhandle region can be quite cool in January. It is seldom below freezing, but daytime highs are typically in the 50s. It warms up about 10 degrees each month.
You can also generally add about 10 degrees for every 150 miles you travel south down the Florida peninsula.
By the time you hit Naples, daytime highs in January are in the comfortable 70s.
Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?
While it severely damaged almost two dozen RV parks and campgrounds, about 8-10 campgrounds in the Naples-Ft. Myers area were completely destroyed. Most of the damaged campgrounds have been repaired and reopened.
Check with the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds if you have questions or concerns.
Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?
One of the best resources we can recommend is called Campnab. This service monitors parks for cancelations and sends you an alert when an opening matches your criteria. That said, it isn’t magic. The app doesn’t create availabilities.
The service works – but it is not free.
Campnab offers two ways to use the service. The first is individual pay-per-use scans. These watch for vacancies at a specific park for a specific date. These work well if you know exactly when and where you intend to camp. Pay-per-use scans cost $10 – $20, depending on how frequently you want them to check availability.
The second way to use the service is through a membership. These typically run monthly and are tailored to those who camp more frequently or are looking to maximize their chance of finding a site. Membership allows you to scan multiple parks and/or dates simultaneously. With memberships, you pay a monthly recurring fee ($10, $20, $30, or $50), depending on your needs.
Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?
Not many. And they are very pricey. If you want to sleep directly on the sand in an RV, you’ll have to stay at a developed commercial campground like Camp Gulf on the Emerald Coast or an RV resort like Big Pine Key Resort in the keys. Some state parks like the Gamble Rogers State Memorial Recreation Area in the Atlantic Coast or Bahia Honda State Park in the keys or Fort Desto State Park near St. Petersburg have beachside sites, too.
But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?
Sorry, none that I know of that would work for RVs.
There is unrestricted camping on wild beaches on a couple of islands, but you need a boat to get there, and it is for tent camping only. If you want to sleep directly on the sand, there is Anclote Key offshore Tarpon Springs, and Shell Key in Pinellas County. Another favorite is Keewaydin Island between Naples and Marco Island but that area remains pretty devasted from Hurricane Ian.
January 12, 2015at6:42 am, Backroad Planet said:
We drove through Carrabelle last spring break and totally missed the police station even though I had put it on my itinerary. Thanks for posting a great picture!
January 12, 2015at7:47 am, Mike Wendland said:
It is one of the most delightful little towns we’ve found in all our travels.I think it is not so well known because there are not a lot of amenities in the town, like fancy restaurants and shopping. That’s also what we like about it!
May 28, 2022at9:50 am, Mojo Riesen said:
Do a Google search on the “adults only”