RV Life at the Beach
The Brunswick County beaches are a prime location in the RV travel craze.
Recreational vehicles are hot in 2021. In the form of travel-trailers, motor homes and fifth-wheels, Americans are rolling their way to campgrounds in the comfort of their personal roaming motels as never before. Motorized camping has become one of the most fun, flexible and affordable ways for families to vacation all over the United States, especially at our beautiful South Brunswick beaches.
At Brunswick Beaches Camping Resort in Sunset Beach and Holden Beach RV Campground, tourists return like migrating geese — looking forward to their downtime year after year. And while summer is still the favorite season to visit, smart campers have caught on that autumn is also mega prime time. That’s when rates go down, the ocean temperatures remain balmy, the beaches aren’t crowded and the waits at local restaurants are no longer an issue. I caught up with two families that have returned to these same campgrounds over the years, to find out just why they can’t get enough of them.
The Sellers family of Whiteville hauls a 30-foot Sunnybrook fifth-wheel, which provides plenty of room for their family of five and Bizzy, their tiny Pomeranian. Barry, Brittany, Colin, Aubrey and Mason enjoyed Holden Beach RV Campground so much after camping there twice in 2020, they returned in 2021 for a six-week stay.
The family comes to Holden for the beach and to fish. They can keep their boat at the RV park while they are there, lending easy access to the ocean. They had just caught a king mackerel and some grouper the day before I met with them. When the kids have their fill of sea and surf, the park has pretty much everything else on their bucket list: a stocked pond for catch and release, outdoor movie night, plenty of TV channels, WiFi streaming, corn hole, horseshoes, kettle popcorn and humongous ice cones, twice as big as your fist. At night they can opt for a family campfire and s’mores. Mason’s even had a chance to learn how to make pancakes.
Holden Beach RV Campground is on Liberty Lane, a tranquil, wooded dirt road off Highway 130. It is well camouflaged, and you would not know it exists if you weren’t looking for it. Liberty is a good name for it, as it opens to a quiet, treed expanse that mom and dad say also meets the needs on their list. It isn’t too commercial, the RVs aren’t parked too close together, it’s shaded under mature trees and private. They call it their “little hidden gem.” Brittany also loves the “neat little thrift store” just down the road, but mostly “we’re beach people,” she says. For the Sellers family, nothing is better than getting out on the boat to fish or enjoying the beach.
How does a young couple with kids get a six-week vacation? Because they are smart. Barry works in Southport, just down the road from the RV Park, so when he gets off work he is back on “vacation.” And when they need to mow the yard back in Whiteville or wash their clothes, they just go home about an hour away. They watch the weather, and if it looks like rain, that’s a good day to travel back to Whiteville and do the chores. Talk about flexibility. A day of work. A bit of play. And the Sellers have even hauled their wood smoker and a small freezer to their campground. Whatever they catch offshore, they can grill or save for another day.
The Sellers rave about the staff at the Holden Beach RV Campground.
Mom and the kids carry walkie-talkies so she can keep tabs on them when they are bicycling in the park. One day Brittany couldn’t reach them, and one of the staff members happened to be on his walkie, on the same channel. He spotted the kids right then, and they were safe, and he relayed that to Mom. Another day, when Colin was a bit bored, he asked if he could help the staff pick up trash, and his parents allowed him. The staff was so grateful they gave him a tip.
How much does all this cost? Barry says six summer weeks cost $1,660, compared with his cousin, who spent six days in a local hotel for his vacation at $1,500. And he reminded that fall and winter rates are substantially less.
The park offers several other amenities, including a camp store, a free DVD library, a Tiki-Bar cruise at the oceanfront, a cool-looking trolley to take patrons to and from the public beach accesses and a new “Glamping” area. Glamping is the term coined for “Glamorous Camping.” A glampsite is a huge theme tent about the size of a master bedroom, which includes a queen-size bed, solar-powered air conditioning, a porch, chairs and much more. There are three of them, with the newest sporting a thatch-roofed island hut.
Over at Brunswick Beaches Camping Resort, Adam, Elaine, Landon, Oliver and Brady Beisner had just gotten back from a morning at Sunset Beach. They live in Indian Land, South Carolina, near Charlotte, and stay in their 29-foot travel-trailer in Sunset.
The Beisners have stored their trailer at the resort for eight years, and drive three-and-a-half hours for long weekend camping trips as often as they can. They take vacation days a day at a time to make it happen.
“Sunset’s the best beach on the East Coast,” Adam says, “and we also love the proximity to North Myrtle and Southport.”
The Beisners typically enjoy the beach in the morning until just after noon, and then come back to the great things to do in the RV park.
“We like to go swimming in the pool at the park, and just love to walk our dogs, Woody and Stella, around the camp-sites. Campfires are nice at night,” Adam says.
Brunswick Beaches has a stellar swimming pool, volleyball court and catch-and-release fishing pond and is close to mini-golf, which the Beisner children love. And food shopping is a straight shot down the road. Campers also can shop from a selection of food, camping supplies and treats in the camp store. The family loves to stock the refrigerator for the weekend, sleep in their own beds and wake up in the morning to fresh-made coffee and breakfast they prepare in their portable kitchen.
“We enjoy the atmosphere the most,” Adam says. Brunswick Beaches resort is also a good distance from the main road, Highway 904.
The entry road wends its way into a huge, tree-covered park abounded by a farm field often brimming with wild turkeys. It’s far enough away to deaden traffic noise, and the extensive pond and camp roads offer relaxing walks, which the Beisners cherish with their dogs.
The family compliments the staff, saying they have never had a single problem with a campsite or with staff moving their stored RV to a site or not having it ready for them when they arrive. The resort boasts other amenities, including several log cabins with bunkbeds for folks who like to camp in style but who don’t own an RV.
“This is an escape from our everyday hectic life,” Adam says. “The kids leave all the electronic devices at home, and we have a good family bonding time. The campground is quiet and relaxing. There’s nothing like this beach, and the park is great. There is nothing like taking your kids camping.”
The Beisners are looking forward to coming back again this autumn, with the lower rates and the changing colors of the leaves of the hardwoods in the resort. They love coming back year after year. For the Beisners, fun, flexible and affordable just doesn’t get any better than this.