Painting the Panhandle

Travelling along  the Florida Panhandle shoreline along the Gulf Coast you will see a stunning array of glistening white sand dunes, spacious beaches, waterways and pristine natural habitat protected by the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola.  If I turned away now, never venturing further, I would be satisfied.  The landscape here is gorgeous with cerulean blue skies and the whitest sand I have ever seen.  The sand almost looks like snow but the weather is warm and full of sunshine even in April. It feels very Tropical. 

Upon entering the town of Pensacola I was taken by surprise at so much commercialism.  Condos, hotels, shops, beautiful expensive homes and lots and lots of “stuff”.  I couldn’t wait to leave there and escape to our pristine campground.   The National Seashore is about seven miles long and there is no development.  The water views are stunning on this  two lane road  with the Gulf and the Sound on either side.  I have never seen so many  beautiful white sand dunes.  There are pull off areas but much of the seashore is protected for wildlife.  Many opportunities to enjoy lovely beaches nearby.  My only criticism is that dogs are not allowed on the beaches anywhere except two very small beach areas.  They can go on the many trails though.

We are camping at the Fort Pickens Campground.  Such a sweet campground surrounded by miles of beautiful beaches and lovely hiking trails that meander through lush forest. I especially loved seeing the live oak trees and palm trees. Fort Pickens is one of four military forts designed to protect Pensacola in the 1800s.  There are historic fortifications from the early 1800s through the mid-1900s.

Waiting for our camp spot to open. We hiked a 0.8 mile trail that was simply stunning

We ate at “Peg Leg Pete’s” on our last night and was very happy with our meals. Carl ordered the specialty blackened Cajun style Catfish and I ordered the seafood sampler with grouper, this fish was a first for me and very good!

Sorry to leave this beautiful place but the emerald coast is calling….

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