Quiet Pleasures in the Alabama River Lakes Region

For their 25th anniversary, Bob and Debra Smith planned a getaway to one of their favorite camping spots – Millers Ferry Campground, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground located in the Alabama River Lakes region of the state’s Black Prairie Belt. With wooden waterfront sites along the Alabama River, paved pull-through RV pads, and sprawling redwood decks, the Smiths consider the campground to be one of Alabama’s best-kept secrets – and for a bargain price. Best of all, they appreciate the uncrowded, unhurried atmosphere and lack of big city noise. With the river at their doorsteps, the Smiths have never been disappointed in the relaxing settling of this retreat – the perfect place, they say, to shake off urban stress.

BOB SMITH: “We chose Millers Ferry Campground because we’d been up there before, and my wife liked it so much. It’s an Army Corps of Engineers park, right on the Alabama River.

“They offer waterfront sites – the site we were in was a pull-through with a concrete slab and a huge, huge redwood deck with a banister, steps that go down to a large pad, picnic table, fire ring and even a post to hang your lantern. As soon as you walk out of the steps of your motorhome, you’re right on the deck, which is big enough to entertain 8 to 10 people.

“We live in the northern panhandle of Florida and camp throughout the area. We go to a lot of state parks, a lot of Army Corps of Engineer parks, and this is definitely one of the nicest we’ve seen.

“For us, one of the attractions is that it’s really quiet, out in the middle of nowhere, an hour and 10 minutes west of Montgomery, AL., which is the closest big city. Its super quiet – you could hear a pin drop for miles. If you want peace and quiet, it’s the place to go. But it’s also close enough to Montgomery that we can go in for shopping or a nice dinner.

“It’s a huge park. We have bicycles and ride a lot, and there’s good flat ground in a semi-wooded setting. Most of the sites are not packed in too tight, the way they are in a lot of the state parks in Florida, where you barely have room to extend your slide-outs. In fact, most of the Army Corps of Engineer parks we’ve visited have roomier sites.

“Miller Ferry has water and electricity, bath houses and laundry facilities, and two dump stations that are paved and well lit, which makes it very handy. We also like the fact that you can make online reservations 240 days in advance through www.reserveamerica.com.

“There’s also a great big dam just down from the campsites and a nice beach down toward the dam. You can fish up and down the river, and people do well. The first time we were there was early one spring, when the crappie were running. These gentlemen next to us knew where to go, and had a pickup with an electric freezer in the back of it that they’d plugged into the 110 outlet. They’d been there about five days and that freezer was almost full.

“My wife and I have really gotten involved in RVing in the last four or five years. My son got us into it; he’s in the Air Force in Alaska. We went up to see him, and he took us salmon fishing south of Anchorage. He had a Class C motorhome and a pop-up tent camper that he pulled behind it. We liked it, came back and have been camping ever since.

“We especially like Millers Ferry. The place is great even in the summer; they have a beach and a cool breeze and the trees help. But the time of the year we like the best is October – a great time.

“The thing of it is, it’s clean and quiet and out of the way. Where we live in Florida, my wife works 40 hours a week and I do too. It’s just nice to get away. If you want to get away from the rat race and the traffic, Miller’s Ferry is the place to be.”

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