Posts Tagged ‘Beaches’

Nature girl’s weekend picks

nicksredfishNature girl’s weekend picks

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A look at Topsail Hill State Preserve

Mother Nature has sculpted the beautiful sand dunes at Topsail Hill State Preserve.

Mother Nature has sculpted the beautiful sand dunes at Topsail Hill State Preserve.

A look at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Topsail features wet prairies, scrub, pine flatwoods, marshes and cypress domes. It has more than three miles of pristine beaches and five dune lakes, which encompass more than 170 acres on more than 1,637 acres.  It is one of the most diverse natural eco-systems in the state.

Now known as the “Crown jewel of the Panhandle,” the park has more than 3 miles of pristine beach.
The RV park hosts 156 sites and 16 rental cabins, and continues to be one of the most popular in the state. Booking is often solid for 11 months ahead.  “We’re booked through May (2009) right now,” said Mebane Cory-Ogden, assistant park manager.
A tram shuttle to the beach is offered to visitors from the day-use parking area. Visitors can also hike or bike on the shared use trail.

Park service specialists host interpretive programs featuring sea turtles, beach mice, snakes and spiders.
The park has a small amphitheater that hosts many of the programs. The amphitheater was built with the help of a citizen’s support group “The Friends of Topsail.”
Imprints from the past
Evidence from midden mounds (discarded debris from Native American communities) and a large mound adjacent to the park, indicate that Native Americans used the area for fishing, hunting and camping.
From the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, workers from the Quarters Turpentine Village turpentined old-growth longleaf pines in forests now part of Topsail Hill. Scars can still be seen on many living trees in the park.
During World War II, the western portion of the preserve was used as a munitions testing range for developing the first missiles in the United States. Iron and rebar tracks were laid down to allow trucks to travel across the soft sand. Visitors can still see these tracks, especially along the hiking trail south of Morris Lake.

For Information about Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, please call 850-267-0299.

Hours of Operation
8:00 AM to sunset
Driving Directions

Located in Santa Rosa Beach 10 miles east of Destin, FL. Take Interstate 10 to Exit 85 (Defuniak Springs) and follow U.S. Highway 331 south. Travel 27 miles to U.S. Highway 98. Turn right and travel approximately 5 miles west to scenic Highway 30A. Turn left and go 1⁄4 mile to the entrance on the right.
Park Fees
Admission Fees – Honor $2.00 per vehicle (HWY 98 and HWY 30-A)
Pedestrians, Bicyclists, extra Passengers, Passengers in vehicles with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Permit – Admission Fee $1.00
Bungalow – All Year, minimum one week rental
Weekly Fee: $690.00
Monthly Fee: $1,320.00
RV Fee: $38.00 plus tax per night

Bungalows are located within Gregory E. Moore RV campgrounds near the tram stop and are available for weekly or monthly rental. Each bungalow is fully furnished and equipped with all appliances, cable TV, and linens. One-bedroom bungalows have additional sleeping of a fold out couch. Each bungalow has a carport, full kitchen, bathroom, living room and utility room.

The emerald green waters of the Florida panhandle at Topsail Hill.

The emerald green waters of Topsail Hill.