Beach Boulevard Waterfront
Beach Boulevard Waterfront
After leaving NOLA yesterday, I still had my passport in hand searching for more national parks on our route when I discovered the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Natchez Trace Parkway extends 444 miles through three states, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, and is one of the most scenic drives in the country. We are all about scenic drives so we decided to skip Baton Rouge, which was our next planned stop, and explore the parkway instead.
We didn’t know it, but the NTP was about a half mile from the Walmart that we stayed at last night. We began the day by visiting the Natchez National Historical Park, also pretty close, then backtracked and jumped on the parkway. After just a few minutes of driving, we were happy we changed our plans!
The two-lane parkway is maintained by the National Parks Service and offers spectacular views with several historical sites along the way. We drove most of the Natchez to Jackson leg, stopping at Mount Locust, Sunken Trace and Rocky Springs. The parkway is motorhome friendly with a few exceptions and the speed limit is 55, so you can actually enjoy the scenery.
Vicksburg National Historical Park was our next and final stop for the day. We arrived at the park later in the afternoon so we didn’t drive the 16 miles around the battlefield but we did explore several other monuments. We then drove about four hours to Texarkana, Arkansas to crash at yet another Walmart. At this point, we should be calling this trip the Walmart Tour 2015 🙂
Stay tuned tomorrow to see if we can continue our road trip permanently after finding a few diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park!
We reluctantly bid farewell to Pensacola Beach this morning and headed for the Gulf Islands National Seashore Visitor’s Center. There are a few different visitor’s centers in the area and we stopped at the Naval Live Oaks in Gulf Breeze first. We got our passports canceled and then checked out the live oaks and Opal Beach, which is just behind the building. Next, we drove to the Fort Pickens Visitor’s Center but decided to skip it because we didn’t want to pay the $15-day use fee for the short time we would be there.
It was a short drive to Orange Beach, Alabama and we took our time, taking in the sights of Perdido Key in Florida along the way. We had a delicious lunch at a Mexican restaurant named Mexico Lindo and then drove around until we found a place to park. It was now late afternoon but the beach was still very active.
After a short walk, we stopped at a few souvenir shops and then pointed Lady T toward Biloxi, Mississippi. We weren’t really sure where we wanted to spend the night so I did a quick search online and the first thing that popped were several casinos. We have always enjoyed the exciting atmosphere inside casinos so we set the GPS for Harrah’s Gulf Coast in Biloxi. We visited several last year in Lady T and most of them allowed overnight parking for RV’s.
When we entered the city, we didn’t see anything but highway and wondered if we had entered the correct address. A few minutes later, the first twinkle of Beach Boulevard appeared in the distance. We reached Harrah’s around 9 PM but we didn’t immediately see any place to park so we kept driving.
Across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe & Casino, we found a lot where several buses and motor homes were parked. We quickly pulled in there and an older gentleman in a golf cart directed us to a spot that was OK for overnight parking. The lot was very rough and uneven so we leveled out Lady T and then walked across the street to check out the Hard Rock and another casino called Beau Rivage. Both casinos were busy for a Sunday night but if you’ve ever been to any casino, you know that they exist on their own time.
Tomorrow, we will probably hit the casinos we passed on the way in and then we are off to the Big Easy. Stay tuned for some Cajun fun on the Bayou!