Our children sing and play gospel bluegrass music, so they were invited to a church near St. Marks. We decided to come a few days early and leave a few days late in order to enjoy an early Thanksgiving getaway. This being our first experience at Shell Island revealed that it was the perfect place for our large family.
Of the four nights we stayed, two were spent in one cabin and (due to a prior reservation by other guests) two were spent in a second cabin. The staff let me know about the arrangement before our drive down there, and although I would have preferred the same cabin during our entire stay, moving did not make our stay any less pleasant.
We do not own a boat, but my boys wanted to fish while there. While the docks were busy, they were not permitted to fish from a camp dock. To avoid any disappointment, the staff told them of a park near enough for them to walk to and fish. That was good advice, and one of my boys caught and brought back a good-sized trout. The next morning when things had slowed down, the boys fished from the dock … with one of them even catching a 4-pound weight! :-)
As for the cabin itself, there were eight of us, so it proved to be just the right size. The cabin consists of two bedrooms (each containing two double beds, a dresser, end table and a closet area), but only one bedroom has a television and alarm clock. In the kitchen, there is a coffee maker, microwave, table with chairs, sink, gas stove/oven and a full-size refrigerator/freezer. There is a small shelf for food storage, but no cabinets. The bathroom has the standard sink, toilet and shower and although there is no “living area”, the front porch is screened in and well-stocked with chairs, rockers and even a porch swing … which incidentally, was the perfect place for playing some gentle bluegrass music the night before our booking.
Bear in mind, the cabins are rustic with signs of age throughout, so if you desire something newer or more modern, you might want to consider a park model at the camp or the nearby Best Western hotel. Nevertheless, both of the cabins we stayed in were clean, well kept, smelled nice and were very comfortable and affordable. Housekeeping came by every morning and, although we declined their services, they still left more than enough coffee packets, soaps and fresh towels to see us through the day.
The friendliness of the park is not limited to the staff. It has is a quaint, small-town, neighborhood feel where the children play together at the swings/tetherball area, ride bikes, or pull wagons with little ones. There were a few of the older fishermen who could have watched their language a bit closer around the kids, but all in all, everyone we came in contact with were helpful and very nice folks.
Since the website is in the process of updating, I took a few photos around the camp so that others could get an idea of what to expect. True, it is a fishing camp, but for folks like me who do their fishing at Winn-Dixie, it is still a great place to get some rest and relaxation. We look forward to returning soon.
- Also Known As:
- Shell Island Fish Camp Hotel Saint Marks