After we were mentally and physically recharged in the nature of both Barrington and Blythe Island county parks, it was time for some variety. We were in the mood for beach and fun and that's why we chose to look for a place where we could hang out with our 4×4 camper could drive onto the beach! This is possible on Amelia Island, a peninsula in the north-east of Florida. Here you can go to the beach with your car in many places, so that became the destination for the next few days. We then made another stop in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States.
Table of contents
The ultimate tour of North America
This article is part of a large one-year tour the United States en Canada in 2022, with a Dutch 4×4 camper that we shipped ourselves… It is a bucket list worthy and an once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.
We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Below is a handy overview in 5 expandable categories.
2. Highlights & Itineraries
3. Cities & places of interest (AZ)
- Tour America | Amelia City
- Tour America | Amelia Island
- Tour America | Annapolis
- Tour America | Ice Lake Trail
- Tour America | Kennedy Space Centre
- Tour America | KeyWest
- Tour America | Miami
- Tour America | New York City
- Tour America | Ouray
- Tour America | Salt Lake City
- Tour America | Savannah
- Tour America | Seattle
- Tour America | Silverton
- Tour America | St Augustine
- Tour America | Starbase SpaceX complex in Texas
- Tour America | Washington DC
- Tour America | Wynwood
4. National Parks & Monuments (AZ)
- Tour America | All National Parks (list)
- Tour America | Black Canyon of the Gunnison
- Tour America | Death Valley
- Tour America | Dinosaur
- Tour America | Everglades
- Tour America | Glacier
- Tour America | Grand Canyon (helicopter tour)
- Tour America | Grand Teton
- Tour America | Great Sand Dunes
- Tour America | Mesa Verde
- Tour America | Rock Mountain
- Tour America | Yellowstone
- Tour America | Yosemite
5. Plan your vacation to America here
- Itineraries compare | TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies compare | WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives compare | Americaplus.
- Cruises and city trips compare | Travel deal.
- Flight tickets compare | Skyscanner, TUI, KLM. as KAYAK.
- Rental cars compare | Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities compare | GetYourGuide.
- Campsites reservation| RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts reservation | Booking.com.
- SIM cards order | USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at airport | Parkos, Central parking of park care.
- travel items (suitcases, world plugs, etc.) | Bol.com.
Longhorn Steak House
We left our previous destination, Blythe Island, by evening. Before we drove to Amelia Island, we decided to enjoy one of the donations received! We received from Guido (thanks!) a specific donation to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse. This is real American diner / steakhouse with a cowboy theme… And it just happened to be on the route!
We arrived around 6pm on a Friday evening and it was already very busy. There are even people waiting outside! And while we slowly drive past all the people in search of a parking space, we are literally stared at by everyone. You just see people thinking, “What's driving up here again?” and “What kind of weird license plate is that?”.
After waiting a while while enjoying a beer, which I got at the bar, we were assigned a table. We are well and good and we already receive a nice e-mail from someone who is in or around the Longhorn Steakhouse and who has seen our camper and on our Hello page has arrived.
A new donation
Jason and Kim send us an e-mail wishing us a lot of fun in Florida and immediately donate $5, without us even talking to them. Really very sweet! It is emblematic of the hospitality we have experienced in this country so far.
Obviously we opted for a 'steak' as we were in a steak house. You can choose 2 sides (side dishes). We opted for fries, a side salad, a baked potato and asparagus. The side salad came first and my god what a portion. The side salad alone is already a meal!
A one kilo Rib-eye
When the rest of the food came I really scratched my head… That Longhorn Special Rib-eye is just a kilo! Or maybe even more… I'll never finish that.
At the top of the photo (below) you see a 'normal' steak that Malou was already full of. The Rib-Eye on my plate was the size of my head, really bizarre.
In good spirits I start to feast. What a delicious steak (sorry vegetarians!). Malou helps a bit with making this great piece of meat, but halfway through we just really have to give up… It's way too much!
Of course we don't throw away what remains, but take it with us in a so-called Doggybag. We can also have lunch there tomorrow.
Official Florida Welcome Center
Because we left late and we had an extensive meal, we don't feel like driving much further and looking for a wild camping or camping spot. We already knew that we were going to visit the beach tomorrow! So for this night, as soon as we entered Florida (10 minutes from Longhorn Steakhouse), we decided to stay overnight at the official Welcome Center.
Great place to stay
Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures, but the Florida Welcome Center (location here ) is a great place to spend the night for free. It is located directly on the highway with many picnic benches, beautiful swaying palm trees and there is 24/7 security. Recommended.
In addition, this is a good stop because you can buy a toll box here. There are two variants: a ticket for 10 dollars or the box for 15 dollars. The box can be used in many more states (see image below – all states that are purple, you can use it there). Since we come to several states, we have opted for the more expensive variant.
What is handy about the box is that you can link your credit card to it, so that you pay any toll automatically. So we don't have to worry about that anymore.
Lots of information about Florida
Finally, you can tap a free juice here and view and take with you hundreds of flyers and information booklets about Florida. There really is a lot to do in Florida and because we're staying here for a month, we really take a moment to really look at what we want to do. For example, we bring a flyer with all the best places to see a rocket launch in Cape Canaveral. We also want to know where we can snorkel with Manatees (in the wild of course!). We eventually walked out the door with a bag full of information booklets. Off to the beach!
The next morning we drove from the Florida Welcome Center straight to the beach on Amelia Island. We found through iOverlander Peter's Point Beachfront Park where we can also drive onto the beach if all goes well. Once there, however, we saw a barrier with security… We were not allowed in. Fortunately the retired security guard was very helpful. He was able to tell that the local population has been 'protecting' this piece of beach since last year. There are still plenty of cars on the beach, but that is only allowed if you are a resident of the district… Bureaucracy.
The best man tipped us the place where it was still allowed and that is Seaside Park, about 8 minutes away. We thanked the man and got in to continue our mission!
Seaside Park – on the beach with the 4×4 camper
Once arrived at Seaside Park the gate is indeed open and I could drive straight onto the beach. Just to be sure, I first went to see what the beach was like… We have a 4×4 camper that weighs almost 3 tons with a lot of weight on the rear axle. There were some lifeguards who I also asked if we could go on the beach with our camper.
"If you have 4 wheel drive, you canis the motto.
Do we dare?
I continued walking to see if it was wise to drive onto the beach with our 3-ton combination. Because if the sand was extremely soft and loose, I risked getting stuck and I didn't feel like it. The first part was quite hard and hit by a lot of driving. So no problem. A little further, where everyone was parked, the sand was a lot looser and softer, but not so bad that I thought: that's not possible.
Reduce tire pressure
I therefore decided to significantly lower the tire pressure before driving onto the beach. With a lower tire pressure, you have more tire surface on the sand (both in length and width). I could explain it in a lot of words, but the image below does it much better in much less time.
In summary, I lowered the tire pressure from almost 3 bar on the front wheels and 4 bar on the rear wheels, to 1,5 bar at the front and 2 bar at the rear. I activated the 4-wheel drive and drove calmly onto the beach. As a child I was so happy!
After I had checked whether we are somewhat level, the now famous thumb appears. The place was approved!
Lots of interest from locals
We put everything on display and soon noticed that it was very windy that day. We were almost sandblasted there! I therefore decided an hour later to turn the camper a quarter turn so that we could sit out of the wind. In the meantime I took some pictures while I thought to myself how bizarre it really is what we were doing now… We were with our own Dutch camper, which we had shipped to America themselves, camping on the beach in Florida!
And from every angle, the camper seemed to become more beautiful while the sun rose higher and higher on the horizon… It's fantastic that this sturdy device makes all this possible.
Malou decided this morning to lie in the sun and read a book, while I spoke to one American after another. It actually gave me a dry mouth.
After a lot of interest and compliments from the locals, who were also slowly becoming more and more found on the beach (it was still early), I folded out the chair and started enjoying the sun. Now that it got a bit busier, we also noticed a little less. It may sound spoiled, but at a certain point I had had enough of all the interest and compliments. I also just wanted to relax here!
Where we stay
Where we Peter's Point Beachfront Park – the place where we were not allowed to drive onto the beach in the first instance – but we did use it for, is to spend the night! The large parking lot was wonderfully quiet in the evening and we didn't find any signs with 'no overnight parking'. Free toilet and shower facilities were available here and in the morning we could enjoy a delicious breakfast at the large, covered picnic tables with the sea in the background.
An old camper with a lot of luxury
This morning we also enjoyed a fresh cup of coffee with water that we filter ourselves with our filter system and electric cooking with our 2200 (!) Watt kettle. We grill the toast at breakfast electrically again today and we just tap out hot water for the dishes our electric water heater of 14 litres. All this takes a lot of energy! Energy that we generate completely ourselves via our solar panels and which is stored in our EcoFlow Delta Max Power Station.
The EcoFlow Delta Max
The EcoFlow is a new device (Kickstarter project from September 2021), costing roughly 2000 euros that makes all this possible. The device costs a bit, but it also gives a lot of comfort in our 20-year-old camper. You may not think about it; Until recently, boiling, grilling and showering with electrically heated water in a motorhome or caravan was unthinkable. Unless you were constantly on 220 volts at a campsite, of course.
Infinitely clean water and electricity
At home you take all these things for granted, without thinking about it! That you always have an infinite amount of electricity and clean water at your disposal. At home this is normal and the bills are paid automatically. Traveling in a motorhome is a completely different story, you'll find out soon enough.
Drinking water is scarce, hot water costs a lot of energy and you have to tap that energy somewhere or generate it in some way. We are therefore very happy with all the upgrades we added to the camper before we left for America. We are now reaping the benefits!
In the next blog I will tell you more about what to see and do in the region in and around Amelia Island.
Until the next blog!
Plan your vacation to America here
- Itineraries : TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies : WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives : Americaplus en Travelworld.
- Cruises and city trips for America you book with Travel deal.
- Flight tickets for America you book with TUI, KLM, KAYAK en Skyscanner.
- Rental cars : Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities in America you book via GetYourGuide.
- Campsites in National Parks you book on RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts in America you book with Booking.com.
- SIM cards : USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at the airport you can arrange via Parkos, park care of iParking.
- travel items (suitcases, bags, world plugs, etc. can be ordered at Bol.com.
Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!