The beach is typical for the area (awesome). Fine snow-white sand and emerald waters inspire beach lovers. There are three methods of getting to the beach from the campground. You can ride a bike, walk, or take a shuttle that runs periodically. We like the bike option. You can coast most of the way down to the beach, and the ride back isn't terribly bad either. Just be aware, it's about a half mile bike ride down to the boardwalk that leads to the beach. If you plan to walk or bike to the beach, make sure you can carry your beach supplies!
Wildlife abounds at Topsail Hill Preserve. The park features over 1,600 acres of fish-filled fresh water lakes and sand dunes, some as as much as 25' high. Deer, raccoon, coyote, and snake are just a few of the land creatures in the park. It's unlikely you'll encounter any of these, but you might very well see their tracks in the dunes (no humans allowed). You might be more likely to see a sea turtle than anything else. They seem to know it's a safe haven for them.
The campground is nice. It's set-up like an RV park, but most sites are a respectable size. They have full hookups and a decent laundry facility, so it's painless to stay as long as you like. The pool and recreation area is exceptionally nice. It even features a shuffle board court.
There is no limit to local dining, entertainment, and activities near Topsail Hill Preserve. The park is just minutes from San Destin and Destin, and a relatively short drive to Panama City Beach. These resort areas offer numerous water parks, miniature golf courses, parasailing, personal water craft rentals, kayak rentals, bike rentals, deep sea fishing, golf, and much more. There is never a dull moment in this part of Florida. It's one of our all-time favorite destinations.
The Richardson Tribe
We enjoyed the pool
and shuffleboard this year, but didn't fish in the lakes at all.
We did go out to eat a couple of times. At one of the
restaurants, John Micah ordered frog legs. He said they were
good, but I had no interest in trying them. I suggest you pay
close attention to the cost of specialty items like that if your
kids want to experiment. Those legs were very pricey!!!
We have been coming to this part of Florida for many years (50 in my case). My parents own a small beach house just a few miles from Topsail Hill Preserve, so we typically spend a week there before striking-out on a camping adventure (in an attempt to stretch our vacation).
This year, we decided to revisit Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. We came here last year and loved it, so we wanted to return. We were very concerned about the condition of the beach considering the BP oil spill was due to hit the area at any time. The oil did show-up, but in very small quantities. Not enough to spoil the beach. What was distracting, however, was the cleanup crew in hazmat suits picking-up dime-size clumps of tar with a spoon. Very tedious. It seemed to me the process could easily be automated.
On this stay, we got a campsite in front of a deck overlooking a small pond. Just across the pond was the pool. It turned-out to be a very convenient site because its proximity to the pool, and because the pond was a great place for the kids to fish. I didn't want to spend the money to get adult fishing licenses for Rebecca and me.
We spent two days at
Topsail this time around, and we all wished we could stay longer.
We'll miss Topsail next year because we plan to try something
new next year.