The last time we were in Florida we camped on St. George Island just across from the town of Apalachicola. We liked the area and people kept telling us that the beaches of Cape San Blas just a bit further west on the gulf were even nicer. So this time we reserved a spot at J.H Stone State Park on St. Joe’s Peninsula.Here it’s all about the sand. The campground is tucked into the sand dunes and is about a three minute walk to the Gulf beach.
A nature trail wanders from the campground through a pine forest in the dunes to the bay side of the peninsula. There are lots of birds- we saw an eagle hunting by the bay and jays and cardinals made a daily visit to our site.
For us the most fun was on the gulf beach. We never made it to the tip of the peninsula because beachcombing for shells and the soft sugar sand kept us slowly following the 7 mile beach.
Watching the shore life is really fun…but sometimes it’s fun to get your feet wet and enjoy the view.
While it’s always difficult to secure a camping spot in a state campground on the Keys, Hurricane Irma has made it down right impossible. The hurricane eliminated many camp spots. We opted for a private RV Park on Fiesta Key at mile marker 70. Again we find our selves set up in a parking lot. This Park was hit hard by Irma and they couldn’t be sure they could honor our reservation until a few weeks before our arrival.
Much of the beachfront has been lost throughout the Keys and storm debris was visible wherever we went. In spite of all this we did enjoy the sun and crystal clear waters of the Keys. We came to Fiesta Key to spend some time with Pat’s sister Mary and her husband Jeff.
To be honest the weather was not always ideal. We got some rain and wind. I’m sure our friends in the northeast really feel bad about this.
We camped about 70 miles from Key West. It’s as close as we were going to get for some time- so we couldn’t resist a visit to the Conch Republic.
We went to all the hot spots, including a tour of the Audubon House and a walk through the Truman Annex(lovely homes and gardens).
We strolled through Mallory Square and saw this monster Disney Cruiseliner. Fiesta Key is only 2 1/2 miles from Long Key State Park. We had tried to reserve a spot at this park pre-Irma and got closed out. That was a bit of good fortune as the campground no longer exists. We did bike down for a look around.
Bits of stag horn coral littered the beaches.
Always on the look out for some local flavor we stumbled on the Florida Keys Brewing Co. Good beer with a laid back island vibe in their beer garden. Recommended.
That’s it for the Keys. We head up the Atlantic coast toward Jupiter and a get together with Pat’s high school friend Lynne.