The funny thing about this trip is how spontaneously it started. Let me explain. It went something like this:
Tyler – “Do you want to go on a trip in January?”
Me – “Umm okay! But where?”
Tyler – “Somewhere on the east coast in the South. How about Charleston?”
And the planning began. We planned our 7 day road trip about a week before we left. Our calendar hardly ever has seven full days open, so we decided to just go for it!
The biggest detail of trip was that we camped, all SEVEN nights. Yes, every night, and yes, we loved it! We go camping with Tyler’s family every year over Easter weekend at Tyler State Park, but we’ve been talking for a long time about how we wanted to do a long camping road trip just the two of us – and this was the perfect chance! We wish we could have brought Banjo with us but there just wasn’t enough room, nor would’ve all of the places we went have been dog friendly. Most of our time was spent trying the amazing local restaurants, dorking out a little bit (ok maybe a lot) at all the historical landmarks, and enjoying the incredible scenery! Tyler even created two gorgeous time lapses in Charleston and Florida.
We very quickly fell in love with Charleston, and I remember telling Tyler that if we couldn’t live in Texas, I would choose Charleston. We read online that Charleston is known for being “the nicest town in America” and we certainly were not disappointed! Everyone was SO NICE!! We joked that it was Tyler’s Mimi’s motherland, because everyone had such sweet southern hospitality. And have I mentioned how darling Charleston is? Oh my goodness, we just couldn’t get enough of it. The 18th century houses, the palmetto trees, all of it!
For the route home we decided to change things up and go through Florida and try our hand at beach camping. Now, if you follow us on Instagram, you know the rest of this story…but if you don’t, scroll down to find the photo of me on the beach and I’ll explain.
Our first stop was in Vicksburg, Mississippi where you can drive through the entire Battle of Vicksburg site. It was so much bigger than we were expecting and so well preserved. We dorked out just a tad admiring all the history!
Overlooking the bluff where the Confederate soldiers would’ve controlled the Mississippi from.
This was our humble abode for the week! Confession: We’re slightly obsessed with our tent. It can set up in under a minute. Most nights we’d arrive at our site after dark, but we had a system of unloading and always were in bed within 10 minutes of arriving! We spent the first night camping in Alabama and woke up to this amazing sunrise on the water!
The second day we made it to Charleston and quickly fell in love with all the Spanish Moss and Palmetto trees everywhere, even at our KOA campsite!
Confession time again: In case you didn’t know, Tyler’s literally grown up camping since he was a baby. From once a month Boy Scout camping trips to family trips that used to happen once a quarter, he’s spent countless nights outdoors making things work in the least desirable conditions. So the Kampsites of America might have been a little luxurious for him – firewood delivered to your campsite, trash picked up at your site, a check in system that felt more like a hotel than a camp ground – let’s just say they treat you well at KOA’s.
I personally tried grits here at Hominy Grill for the first time while we were in Charleston and my life will never be the same. This was our first place to visit when we rolled in off a 8 hour drive from Alabama, and oh my, our Southern hearts were just at home right away!
I mean how charming are these houses!
Visiting Fort Sumter and the site where the Civil War began was definitely one of the highlights of our trip! It was fascinating to see all the progress of history, and we definitely recommend it!
This was Fort Moultrie, another one of the many forts that used to line Charleston harbor.
After 3 nights in Charleston, it was time to say goodbye and head down to Florida. We stopped by Destin on the way to our beach site near Pensacola. And that’s where it got fun and created a defining moment in our marriage…
We made it to our beach! After a LONG 11 hour drive, we pulled into Perdido Key Beach and checked in with the park ranger. When we told him we were camping on the beach, he was skeptical. Tyler came back to the car after checking in and said the park ranger seemed very concerned for us.
Let me break it down for you. This looks like a peaceful campsite along a gorgeous Florida beach. And you would be correct to think that. But let me backtrack a moment and tell you how we got there. We made plans to do primitive camping along the beach, and when Tyler did his homework, he knew that we would have to carry our gear a 1/2 mile, with our car an additional 1/2 mile away from that point. But he didn’t seem too concerned about it, so I tried to let my nerves go. When we arrived, Tyler decided to take the first “haul” of stuff and find where we were allowed to primitive camp. I sat with the rest of our stuff, anxiously waiting, figuring he’d be back in about 15 minutes. No. 30 minutes later he came back, and he looked exhausted.
Tyler here: halfway into my trek to the camping site, when I’d been walking for a solid 10 minutes and as far as I could see down the beach, I still couldn’t make out where the site was, this was the moment when I realized I’d made a mistake. It was too late to turn back though. Lindsey was was waiting at the beach head a quarter mile back, all our gear, which included a few bins and a cooler, at her feet. I had our tent, chairs, and a few other things with me. The further I walked, the more I knew Lindsey wasn’t going to like this. But if I could just get the stuff in my arms to our site and leave it, I could reason that we might as well haul the rest of the gear there too, because either way, someone would have to make trek again to either get the gear I’d left or haul the rest in. So 30 minutes later when I returned to the beach head where Lindsey was, I was fully prepared for her to be ready to call it and get out of here. You know when you were young, and you wanted something from your parents, so you’d say hey to them to see how they responded back as an indicator of what kind of mood they were in. Same thing here. Lindsey responded with a chipper, “hey boo!” Ok good, she doesn’t know the difficulty that lies ahead. We can do this after all.
And so we began the 1/2 mile trek in the sand with entirely too much gear. We were car camping, with car camping gear, and this was definitely a backpacking type of trip. But I knew Tyler really really wanted to do this, so I pushed through and kept hiking in the sand. To put it plainly, it was flat out miserable. The sun was starting to set, and we so desperately wanted to set camp and pass out. We finally arrived – TWO HOURS after Tyler took the initial load – and quickly setup camp. If it weren’t for the beautiful sunset in the background of all of this, I don’t think we would’ve been in such light spirits. Camp was set, but now we needed to make dinner. Why did we chose baked potatoes for this meal?? Hour-long baked potatoes. By the time an hour had passed, the sun had well set, the only light was from our lantern, and the baked potatoes hadn’t even cooked thoroughly. We called it a night. But that’s only half of the story…after all, we still had to get out of there…
The next morning we woke up to an incredible sunrise. It made everything worth it! I’m slightly convinced now that any time you wake up on a beach, the sunrise is going to be feel that much more amazing.
This was Charles. Tyler named him. He kept us company, and Tyler fed him some of our extra pancakes. He also didn’t laugh at us when we decided to lug all our gear across half a mile of sand. Thanks, Charles.
It happened somewhere in the hour span of waiting for our baked potatoes to cook. The realization hit me. We got all this stuff here. Oh no. We’re going to have to do it again when we leave. There has to be an easier way. Thinking back to when we loaded in, pulled one of the bins was the easiest of the hauls because it slid. What if we took our emergency tarp that we had, laid it out, tied our spare rope to it, put everything on top of it, and pulled it like a sled. Well that’s exactly what we did.
Until we realized of course that it was entirely too heavy to pull. Unfortunately it still required two trips, and yes, still took two hours, but it was certainly easier than lugging a cooler across half a mile of sand and stopping every 10 minutes because the gear you bungee corded on top fell off.
I’m telling you, if you’re ever stuck in the wilderness, or on a beach with way too much gear, Tyler Burns is your guy! He’s so creative. We were obsessed with his plan. So excited to get going and make it easier this time. Like he said, it ended up being two trips, but they were an easier two trips and thankfully we were able to laugh through it. People were passing us on the beach looking at us like “why are they pulling that thing??”. It seriously felt like we were on an episode of the Biggest Loser and this was some ridiculous workout they had planned for us. We were able to laugh this one off, and as ridiculous as it was, I love this memory that we have together.
Y’all seriously. My wife is a beast! She’s sweet as ever, but tough as nails!
So after a night in Mississippi, as recommended by one of our sweet brides, we stopped in Natchez, MS on the way home and saw another darling town with the utmost southern charm.
Oh we may look so polished and put together, but not 24 hours earlier we probably looked like we had just ran a marathon.
This was me impersonating Tyler when he models at bridal sessions, and then it turned out to be a semi-cute picture.
And that’s it – all in all it was about 2600 miles, 7 states, 6 nights, and so much fun.