Heck, who doesn’t like a good sequel, right? Well this is the rest of the story of our camping adventure along the Emerald Coast of Florida.
It continued to be great weather for us: hot, sunny and bright with water temps reaching the mid 80’s. While most folks probably think that is a great temperature for swimming and bobbing in the waves, it turns out that summer water temperatures have a dark side. What the travel brochures don’t tell you is that warm water usually means more marine life.
I recall spending summers at the Jersey Shore and late August usually meant warmer water and jellyfish. And if you stayed at the beach during the hot summer, you probably know this. Just the same here in the Gulf of Mexico – the purple warning flags went up and we spotted more and more moon jellies and felt bits and pieces of them zapping us once in a while. That tapered off after a few days, but what also appeared in the beautiful, clear water was Junegrass (that is the local name for a green algae bloom).
This band of green hugged the shoreline most days and we found ourselves moving along the beach to find a relatively clear spot of water to splash around in. It was really more a nuisance really, and maybe it would not bother you if you didn’t mind swimming in a soupy broth, but it did put a damper on the experience. Chatting with locals we learned that it is something that stays all summer once the water gets warmer. Sun + nutrients + warm water = algae bloom. Just something to keep in mind.
Our last day in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park was not a good beach day, so we drove to Destin Commons and had lunch at World of Beer. While it looks like we sample a lot of beer these days, the important word here is sample. Then of course I have to do it for my readers, you understand. Love their flatbreads paired with some beer from Apalaciacola’s Oyster City Brewing (loved First Light of Day blonde summer ale) and Atlanta’s SweetWater (Jackie likes their Bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout – Cork N’ Cage series).
While the beaches we visited were great, getting there can be a good bit of exercise. We are almost thinking of them in terms of beer calories now. “That was at least a two-beer trek.” This campground is said to be a half-mile to the beach access, but by our estimates it must be twice that. You can take the tram, but that means waiting for the twice-hourly pickup and that’s not always what you want at the end of the day.
Option 2 is walking the paved road with chairs, towels, umbrella, cooler and beach toys (not recommended for families) or Option 3 is riding your bike. We managed to hitch up the trusty Tommy Bahama beach cart to Doug’s bike and rode our way to the beach access — which worked out fine. Oh, but you aren’t toes-in-the-water yet. You still have the long boardwalk to traverse and then the soft sandy dunes to drag your cart across. Set up umbrella and chairs, relax, swim and then repeat the trip back across the sand and back to camp. So yeah, probably worked off at least a beer or two there…
Last night in camp we were prepared for thunderstorms and were not disappointed. We had packed up everything, so it didn’t cause us any problems, but I couldn’t help but think about those folks in tents and tent-campers who would be watching the canvas all night for drips and leaks. Our only leak came on the road, as a crack in the upper part of the windshield appeared and started leaking when we hit some intense rain in Alabama. Another call to GEICO for windshield repair when we get home. I think this might have been from one of the stone pings we got while on the fall trip out West that eluded the crack repair in the fall.
So off we go, back home for now to enjoy the 4th of July and hopefully some time with the grandchildren. Not sure about the next summer camping adventure just yet, so stay tuned.
Be sure to check the updates in the Mews, Places and Foodie pages.