RV Adventure

First RV Trip [Don Carter State Park, Gainesville, GA]

Don Carter RV Site on hill

Seeing as how we’re about to leave on another mini RV trip tomorrow, I figure it’s time to recap our first RV outing last week. (In case you’re wondering why we aren’t on the road full time right now, read this post.) Because we had yet to tow our fifth wheel more than 20 feet (video), we opted to plan our first RV trip only 12 miles from our storage facility to make it an easy drive.

Kids Car seats First RV Trip

We’ve taken the kids to Don Carter State Park a couple times this year already due to its proximity and the great lake beach. It seems to have mixed reviews online, but seeing as how it was our first RV campground experience, we don’t really have anything to compare it to. The bathrooms were super clean, and I’m sure being fairly new plays into that. There were some amazing shaded sites right along the lake, but those are in high demand and I’m sure occupied for weeks at a time since it’s a first-come, first-served campground.

Don Carter boys hike 2

We found a site on a small crest that we liked, though it would have been nice for the boys to have a little more play area by the RV without worrying about traffic. But having a pull-through site for our 41-foot rig was a great way to calm our nerves. We took our time setting up the RV, trying to go through the correct protocol. In the future, our plan is to switch off with the kids. I’ll take them to explore while James sets up the outside of the RV, then he’ll take over kid duty while I get the inside ready. It sounds like a great plan, but it means that we have to embrace slow living and will be a good lesson for us.


Our main requirement for any campground we visit this summer is that it have some sort of water–either lake/ocean access (especially a beach) or a pool. And because of the lake beach and nearby proximity, Don Carter fit the bill for our first RV trip.

Don Carter Beau Scarlett Rocks

I failed to pack any toys or books, but the small rocks at our site proved to provide hours of entertainment, especially when you use them to fill empty water bottles. The kids were dirty 24/7, but then again, so were we. That’s just something we’ll have to embrace during life on the road, especially in the summer when sweating is unavoidable. It hasn’t seemed to bother James and the kids much, and I’m beginning to adapt and simply throw on a ball cap and be ready to go.

Don Carter Scarlett Guac

This trip was the first time the kids have all slept in the same room. We’ve been anticipating RV living, and so we adapted their sleeping arrangements in our last home and in this one as well. Originally, the boys shared a room, but now that Beau is on medication that makes him a bit hyped up at night, we have moved James Michael into sleeping in Scarlett’s room.

Don carter kids rock wall

In the RV, we had a tough time getting Beau to sleep the first night, but wised up the second night and gave him his medicine before dinner instead of after and James strolled him around the RV park to help him unwind while I put the other two to bed. For naps, we separated them just like we do at home. Scarlett slept in the pack and play in the bunk house, Beau slept in our bed and James Michael slept in the living area.

Don Carter Collage

Because my parents live closeby, they came up one morning along with my sister and her kids to get a glimpse of the RV for the first time. After giving a quick tour, we spent the morning at the lake beach and picnicked afterward.

Don Carter Salad JM

We ate fairly well despite our outdoor kitchen not including a gas grill. We used the campsite’s charcoal grill for hotdogs and burgers and salad one night, then since we ran out of charcoal, used our electric griddle for more burgers and asparagus the next night. We used the griddle for sausage and eggs both mornings and it was perfect.

Don Carter Boys hike 1

Our kids were up at daybreak, as expected. We didn’t think about all the sky lights in the RV before this trip. They are great for natural light during the day, but make the bedrooms bright during naps and bedtime (since sun doesn’t set until close to 9 p.m.). We’ve remedied that for our next trip by buying special RV sunshield vent pillows. They should also help keep out the summer heat.

Don Carter campsite JM Scarlett

We had hoped to have time to do the Ranger Rick booklet with James Michael, but we only read through a few pages before we used some of it’s pages to cover up the sky lights using bandaids from the first aid kit. My husband is ingenious!

Don Carter blackberries nap

Once we knew that the majority of campers were awake, we ventured out for a morning hike before it got too hot. The boys found wild blackberries on our hike along the lake. Scarlett didn’t get enough sleep between going to bed too late and getting up too early, so a she enjoyed a snooze.

Don Carter Beau Haley Scarlett

This first trip was a great practice run with our fifth wheel. We’ve got lots (and lots and lots) still to learn, but the good news is we didn’t break anything this first go round. And at this point, that’s about all we can ask for. Rest was not something we enjoyed much of, but with three little kids there is rarely time for resting anyways. We head out for two nights at Bolding Mill Campground tomorrow for a couple nights. It’s another local campground on Lake Lanier that will help us to continue to figure out our rig before traveling on the interstate to farther destinations.



I'm a full-time wife and semi-stay-at-home mom to four young kids. Day to day, I help my husband with his small business, but when I have any extra time, you can find me cooking or being active outdoors with my family. We live at the foothills of the North Georgia mountains and are embracing modern homesteading month by month.

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