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Journey through the Panhandle of Florida

We decided to leave Lake Swan Camp a day early after I had my dental work done so we drove to Panama City, Florida for the night. It was a long drive, but we broke it up with periodic breaks at rest stops along the way. The Florida Department of Transportation has some of the best rest stops I have seen as we travel across the country. They are spacious, clean and have many amenities. One Florida highway feature that is helpful is the digital signage on the interstate informing truckers of the number of available parking sites at the approaching rest stop. It's nice to know in advance if there is space to park a big rig!

We drove for about five hours and arrived at our destination for the night; good old Cracker Barrel Old Time Restaurant in Panama City, Florida. We parked in the back near two RAM Class B Vans from Quebec and Nova Scotia respectively. The restaurant was located next to a huge shopping complex. After leftovers for dinner we walked off our meal and stretched our legs before having dessert in the Cracker Barrel.

Our destination for the next four days was Post'l Point Campground on Eglin Air Base near Valparaiso, Florida on the Choctawhatchee Bay. Before we checked-in, we stopped for lunch and a brief day-use visit at Grayton Beach State Park. It consistently ranks among the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the United States. Western Lake offers camping, fishing and paddling, and those who want to explore on foot have 4 miles of trails to traverse through a coastal forest where scrub oaks and magnolias are bent and twisted by salt winds. We walked the sugar-white sandy beach and were amazed at the clarity of the water along the shore. We rode our bikes through the campground to see what kind of facilities they offer and the pad sizes. We would love to come back and stay for a week at this location in the future. The Park Ranger told us that they book up quickly and the trick to getting a reservation is being on the website with all your information ready to submit 11 months to the day you want to visit.

After our visit at Grayton Beach we continued our drive to Eglin Air Force Base and made our way to the Post'l Point campsite #102 near the water. We were here in April 2023 with our Granddaughter Morgan for two days and knew we wanted to return on a later trip. It doesn't get much better than this camping in Florida right on the water!. We met our neighbors on site 103, David and Terry Strand from Memphis, Tennessee and enjoyed getting to know them during our stay. We got together a couple of times to play games in our rig during the evenings after dinner. Nice folks that we hope we cross paths with again in the future.

On March 22 we celebrated Karen's birthday by going out to dinner with her cousin Gary who lives in the area. He had suggested the Magnolia Grill in Fort Walton Beach, which is a wonderful old home converted into a first class restaurant. The food and atmosphere were perfect and incredible! We all enjoyed our meals and the experience. We would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who might visit the area in the future; definitely a do-over experience for us.

The next day Karen and I rented a Robalo center console power boat for the afternoon at the base's Outdoor Services and we navigated the bay to meet Gary for lunch at the Fort Walton Yacht Club. The windy conditions were not ideal but we still had fun seeing the area from a different perspective on the water. I always love getting some "boat time".

The quiet and the picturesque setting of Post'l Point made it an easy choice to stay at as we head west along the panhandle back to Texas. Our next stop on Sunday, March 24 is Meaher State Campground in Spanish Fort, Alabama for three days just across the Florida border.


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