A state park or lakeside resort that features both an RV campground and a boat ramp among its amenities can make an affordable yet memorable destination for your family summer vacation. But if the park you choose is far from your home waters, a little local knowledge can really come in handy − be sure to call the nearest Sea Tow location for expert advice on navigation and where the fish are biting.
Here’s a look at four great destinations on the U.S. East Coast for summer vacations with a boat and RV:
Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys. This oceanfront park and campground lets you experience the best of the Florida Keys without having to pay resort prices. Located on Bahia Honda Key at Mile Marker 36.8 on U.S. Highway 1, it is 12 miles south of Marathon. This park has it all: ocean beaches, hiking and biking ashore; world-class fishing and snorkeling offshore with access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Two boat ramps mean you never have to wait long to launch. Head to the Gulf side of the key each night for a glorious sunset.
Not familiar with the area? Give Captain Mike Haas, co-owner of Sea Tow Lower Keys, or one of his team of U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captains a call. They can help you navigate the Keys’ shallow waters, tell you which species of fish are running, or direct you to a local dive shop. Call 305-872-2353, or click on Sea Tow Lower Keys.
Do you have a Sea Tow Lake Card membership? If so, you can use it at the next two destinations for priority Sea Tow services and valuable discounts on marine gear.
Lake Raystown Resort, Entriken, Pa. Every time a boater pulls up to the fuel dock at this popular summer destination with 200 campsites and a 650-slip marina, a dockhand wearing a yellow Sea Tow shirt asks if he or she is a Sea Tow member. This is not just because the resort is home to Sea Tow Raystown Lake, which employs a team of four Captains and two boats to provide on-water assistance on this scenic 8,300-acre lake. The dockhands also want to make sure boaters know about the discount they can get with their Sea Tow Lake Card.
“Sea Tow members get a 10 cent per gallon discount on fuel,” said Captain Paul Bonfiglio, manager of Sea Tow Raystown Lake. “People are always glad they have the Sea Tow Lake Card when they need a tow and at the pump.”
Bonfiglio and his fellow Sea Tow Captains also give boaters advice about the activities that Raystown Lake has to offer − including the WildRiver Waterpark, geocaching and paddleboating − as well as where to get the best marine services at affordable prices. “It’s more than just knowing we will come get you if your boat breaks down,” he said. “It’s knowing there’s a familiar face if you’re from out of town; someone you can trust to direct you to competent service people who keep their rates reasonable.” For more information, call (814) 658-0200 or visit Sea Tow Raystown Lake.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park, Va. With more than 500 miles of shoreline, Smith Mountain Lake is the largest reservoir in the Roanoke, Va., area. Located on the lake’s north shore, Smith Mountain Lake State Park has RV camping sites as well as separate boat trailer parking. The on-site boat ramp is free to overnight guests. Once you are out on the water, you can fish for striped bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and catfish; enjoy swimming in the freshwater lake, and hiking along its hilly green shores.
Never been to this neck of the woods? Get in touch with Captains Nancy & Rick Ellett, co-owners of Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake. These community-oriented Captains are at the lake year-round and are extremely knowledgeable about the waters, fishing, and all the local happenings. Contact them at 540-297-6066 or visit Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake.
Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Mass. Located on the western end of Buzzard’s Bay, this sandy state preserve embodies coastal New England at its finest. Horseneck Beach State Park encompasses nearly 600 miles of beaches, dunes and salt marsh, making it a mecca for birders, sun-worshippers and surfers alike. The on-site boat ramp gives you easy access to Buzzard’s Bay, a craggy, 28-mile-long body of water that separates the Massachusetts from southern Cape Cod. You can catch your dinner in the bay, then take it back to cook it at your campsite.
If you are visiting the Cape with your RV and boat, give Captain Curt Jessup, owner of Sea Tow Cape and Islands, a call. He will welcome you to his community, tell you the best place for local seafood, and even let you know where to show your Sea Tow Card for deals and discounts. Call 508-636-8817 or visit Sea Tow Cape and Islands.
Combining fun on the water with camping in a truly scenic setting, these coveted campgrounds are often booked up months ahead of time. So don’t hesitate; the time to start planning your summer vacation with your RV and boat is now.