Nov 8, 2016 Three State Park in the FL Panhandle

We have spent most of November visiting three lovely state beach parks in the Florida Panhandle.  The first state park was Henderson Beach State Park in Destin.  Destin is a popular beach resort with traffic, box stores and many restaurants.  Directly across the street from the state park entrance was a Walmart Supercenter as well as many restaurants and stores.   We did not hear any traffic noise but what we did hear early each morning was the sound of construction equipment from a new hotel being built at the end of the park.  20161107_110435We had a very nice large private campsite a short distance from the beach.  It is easy to see why the Panhandle beaches are so popular with the white sugary sand and miles and miles of beautiful beach.  The beach in the park was sparsely populated and there were rip current warning flags flying while we were there.20161107_16295920161113_14174320161113_14174920161113_14180420161113_144029
While at Henderson Beach State Park we met Bill’s cousin June and her husband Randy for dinner in Destin.  You may remember us visiting June and Randy at their home in Niceville and enjoying the wonderful meals June prepared.  June and Randy invited their friends Wilhelm and Margrit, who are visiting Destin from Germany, to join us for dinner.  We also stayed up until 3:00 AM watching the election results!trump win cnnTrump
Next we spent a week at Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach. What a difference from Henderson! This lovely state park is isolated with not a restaurant, hotel or store in sight. We had a nice campsite with full hookups but the campsite itself was not as private as the one at Henderson. The beach was close by and while it had the beautiful sugary white sand, we noticed quite a few sand flies. While at Grayton we once again met June, Randy, Wilhelm and Margrit for another great dinner with a gorgeous sunset.20161115_16332120161115_164042
Our last Panhandle state park was St George Island State Park on one of the Gulf Coast barrier islands. This part of Florida is known as the Forgotten Coast which is unfortunate because it’s a beautiful part of Florida. St George Island is located between Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and is accessed by crossing a four mile long bridge. 20161121_17162720161123_155327The park has nine miles of secluded beach and I am sure many who visit the park hope it remains forgotten so that it never loses its charm and pristine beaches. We enjoyed our week on the island, walking on the quiet beach and geocaching around the island. The state park is located at the end of St George Island and the island itself has a small market, a few local restaurants and stores, and does not even have a post office. 20161119_14093720161119_14103320161119_14135120161119_14140020161119_14153320161119_14091920161119_145055This area is known for fresh oysters and we drove back across the bridge to Apalachicola to celebrate Bill’s birthday with a dinner at a seafood restaurant where he had oysters on the half shell. He said they really tasted fresh. 90% of Florida’s oyster crop (and 10% of the country’s oyster crop) is cultivated in Apalachicola where there are 7,000 acres of oyster beds.
I don’t often rant about something, but here goes. On our third day in the park a family arrived directly across from us. They had five children of various ages and two dogs. One dog was a basset hound which barked a lot, beginning each morning around 8:00. A basset hound bark is hard to ignore. The children ran up and down the narrow road screaming and squealing. I don’t understand why people pay to visit a park with a beautiful beach and sit in their campsite with their bored children screaming and their dogs barking. They stayed three nights and we rejoiced when they left. The next day a family arrived with a little white dog. They left the dog alone with a window cranked open for ventilation. We arrived back home from the beach and heard the most pitiful wailing. The poor frightened traumatized dog had his head out the small window and was struggling to get out. He appeared too afraid to jump down or could not get his body free to get out. Bill went over to try to comfort him and calm him down but that only made him bark instead of wail. The family arrived back home to our relief. This state park has a rule of no dogs on the beach. The next day they left again, leaving the windows closed and the AC on, but we could still hear the dog wailing inside. This folks, is the reason we do not have pets!! We want to be a good shepherd of animals at all times.
We are currently at a city park in the tiny town of Sopchoppy, about 30 miles south of Tallahassee. We are waiting for an appointment to have our major slide repaired on Dec 5th. I could do another rant about how long the wait is at all RV shops to have work done, but I guess one rant per blog is enough.
The good news is we finally had significant rain last night and we have friends visiting tomorrow. We first met Bob and Sharon in Feb 2014 when we traveled to Mexico with them in an Escapees Mexican Connection RV caravan. We have stayed in touch but our travel paths have not crossed since Mexico. They have been RVing in Florida and are passing through this area headed back west. They are going to stop here and visit with us for four days. We are really looking forward to seeing them. They are also full time RVers and we have many adventures to share and hear about.

Leave a Reply