2015 Trip 1, Feb. 10, Florida in Winter

Santa Rosa Beach, FL Tuesday Feb. 10

Clearwater Lake one of the freshwater dune lakes at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Clearwater Lake one of the freshwater dune lakes at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park with tall sand dunes in background

Walking through and over the dunes at Topsail

Walking through and over the dunes at Topsail

Today was a nature day. We checked out of the Courtyard in Sandestin and drove maybe 10 miles to our next lodging, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Topsail has 1600 acres of land and 3 miles of pristine white sand beach. It is one of the few remaining undisturbed sand beaches in Florida. Topsail is home to three rare, freshwater dune lakes. In the South Walton area of the Florida panhandle, there are 15 of these lakes and they can only be found here, Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Northwest. Dunes here top 25 feet, and the park is home to wetlands, pine forests, etc. The park land is close to the original beach ecosystem.

The beach at Topsail

The beach at Topsail

Dunes at Topsail

Dunes at Topsail

We went for a 2.5 hour walk through the forests, over the dunes (on approved paths), around dune lakes, and along the ocean. When we started out, it was sunny but 47 degrees with a 15 mph wind, so it was quite cool. By the time we ended the walk, it was closer to 60 degrees F. We continue to hear the roar of jets and helicopters but this time the birds were chirping away also. One deer was sighted, no alligators yet. There was only one close call when the path seemed to disappear but we soon re-connected with the official trail.

No name lake, one of the freshwater lakes

No name lake, one of the freshwater lakes

The park is mildly busy. We have met people from Georgia, Ohio, and Toronto. Most are retired like us but are traveling by RV. Many of the 35 cabins and bundalows are unoccupied; only a few of the 22 campsites seemed occupied but most of the almost 170 RV sites are taken.

One of many US military planes in the area

One of many US military planes in the area

Another view of Campbell Lake at Topsail

Another view of Campbell Lake at Topsail

We went down the road to Stinky’s Fish Camp for lunch; the fresh grouper was very tasty. We picked up groceries and had a short nap before it was time to watch our first official Emerald Coast sunset. We walked down to the ocean, there were not a lot of clouds to enhance the sunset but the colors were worth another hike.

Dunes at sunset

Dunes at sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

So this post is more pictures and less words, undoubtedly a winning combination.

Ed and Chris Feb. 10 8:30 PM

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Post navigation

One thought on “2015 Trip 1, Feb. 10, Florida in Winter

  1. Deb

    Beautiful beach and sunset! So nice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: