I guess we are officially “snowbirds” now as we have chosen to park the rig on the sugar white sand of the Florida Panhandle beaches rather than where flaky white snow will fall on the roof and make us shiver. So as we watched the songbirds start to move from the north, we followed their lead and set our compass due south and migrated to a place we love, Grayton Beach. This is where we will settle in for a long (at least for us) extended stay of four months.
We fell in love with the strip of Florida called 30A nearly 15 years ago when we used to spend our vacations (and any other days we could sneak away from the office) on this beautiful stretch of Florida. 30A is actually the name of the road that bisects the stretch of gorgeousness between the whirling universes of Destin and Panama City.
Nope, there are no high rises advertising cheap rooms for spring break, 24-hour bars claiming to have 96-ounce beers, or miles of overpriced outlet malls, this area is a culture far removed from the typical Florida scene that flanks either side. The towns along 30A accurately describe the quaint beachy feel of this area that has drawn us back for fifteen years – they sound like “Seaside,” “Water Sound,” and “Water Color,” and “Grayton Beach.”
The area began to develop back in the early 1980’s when the town of Seaside slowly climbed into existence and forged a dot on the map. The fledgling idea of “New Urbanism” was the concept behind the town. Everything would be within walking distance. Houses would be tight together and streets would be suitable for walking with parks scattered throughout. A town center would be the hub with shopping, restaurants, and community activities. The concept took off and now a house in Seaside will set you back a few million $'s (literally).
But for us non-millionaires, we live in one of our favorite state parks of all times, Grayton Beach State Park. We will stay here for the maximum allotment of two weeks then move to another state park (which is also nice and only ten miles away). We will stay there for two days and then move back to Grayton Beach SP for another two weeks. The cycle will continue for four months but the slight inconvenience of moving is worth it to stay here.
Let’s see, the park amenities include . . . a gorgeous, uncrowded beach with sugar white sand; it sits right on a calm lake perfect for kayaking and fishing; there are miles of hiking trails in a quiet pine forest; we are within walking/biking distance of everything we need; and we have a wide, level campsite with a fire pit looking over the lake with stunning sunrises.
So this winter we have traded in the saguaros of Arizona for the dunes of Florida and I am sure we will be quite happy. I hope the pictures will encourage friends and family to come visit and anyone else that is just looking for a great getaway. If you are in the area, please stop by and enjoy a glass of wine around the fire with us.