Permanent Vanlife is still about one year away, so I decided to get a feel for it, by planning multiple one-week trips in the van, throughout the US Southeast.
Part of a 7-day trip to the Florida Panhandle in my Ford Transit Van Build. Day 1
Besides enjoyment, the goal of these multi-day journeys is also to get a sense of Vanlife and to add or change part of the setup in the van, if necessary.
For now, I have trips planned in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North & South Carolina, with visits to quaint little towns, cultural and historical locations; a few hikes will be thrown into the mix to keep Joey busy.
Inglis Lock Recreation Area
I leave Central Florida and head northwest to the Inglis lock, near the Gulf coast.
This lock is part of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, formerly known as the Cross Florida Barge Canal. The canal was never finished and the lock was finally closed for good in 1999, but it is open to the public and has several trails, that extend to Lake Rousseau.
Not too far away is Felburn Park with similar trails and a former open pit mine.
From here, you can drive about five miles to the coast on an unpaved road. At the end of the road and after a short hike, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the coastal wetlands.
On a lonely road through coastal forests, I stop at a historical marker at what used to be the town of Rosewood. In 1923, after a lynching, the other Black inhabitants were chased away and the town was burned to the ground. Only 70 years later, this massacre was acknowledged by the government.
After a short stop and remembrance, I continue to the local cemetery.
Cedar Key Railroad hiking trail
I head further towards the coast, until I arrive in Cedar Key, where I hike the short Railroad and Cemetery trail.
With the day coming to an end, I visit a nearby Shell mound. This is a 1500 year old midden of shells and bones a local native tribe left behind. Joey and I have a great view of the Gulf coast and surely hiked the two trails to the midden and a perfect birding area.
Without much time left to reach my planned campsite for the night, I decided to find the nearest Walmart and to spent a quiet night in their parking area.