Thursday, June 19, 2014

T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park - 2014

We camped at St. Joe for 3 nights this year.   Loved it last year.   This time we scored a paved spot with a little more shade with a sidewalk to the bath house.   Yep, I talking spoiled big time... :)  

Stayed in the "Gulf Breeze" loop...  Spot # 57

It didn't take long before the hunter instinct kicked in....  as soon as it got dark, my daughter went on the prowl for unsuspecting victims near the bath houses....    She brought back this little guy. 
Since last year I was never able to make it far enough on the beach to the tip of the peninsula, this year I was determined, no matter what.... I was going to make it.   The ranger told me that it was 8 miles from the camp ground to the tip.... I started a little before Noon loaded with a backpack full of water, snacks and sun screen.  I made it there about 4:30, and back around 8.   "Never Do that Again"....  No sun burns, but man what 16 miles on sand does to the bottoms of your feet....  took 3 days to walk normally again...  (the picture above was at the tip... nothing to see here)

Photo of the search party who walked an hour and a half to meet me on the way back....
Yep... I'm dragging my poor but behind..... wasn't exactly as fast as I was when I started out.  
After being recued, needed a well deserved sit down, thought we'd just watch the sun go down
Never hurts to start Crabbing early....
Imagine catching this guy at the end of your line.... Whose gonna get this hook out.. LOL 
One of my Daughters new hobbies..... rubber band bracelets....    She even made me one with camo colors....
Crabs.... its whats for dinner.   "it was a slow night" 

Took a day trip over to St. George Island SP to scout it out for a possible trip for next year. 
The water was kind of calm .... so Hunting was the activity of the day. 
Daughter came back with a star fish..... Can't eat that!!!!  
Son found a hermit crab, must have been a Mom... had a ton of little hermit crabs attached to the shell

Evening beach walks and Crabbing is one of our favorite things to do...
Slow night.... Crabbing...     She caught more, but we don't keep the small ones or the females...

Hanging at the beach on the last night....

Cute little guy....  Bagged the last night at St. Joe. 
Had a Great Time, but to be honest.... I'm glad we only booked 3 nights, wasn't prepared for the sand flies, got bit last year.... but not as bad.   Those guys are a lot worse than a mosquito.   

Grayton Beach State Park (Florida) 2014

Grayton Beach State Park.   I understand its consistently rated as one of the top beaches in America.  It was beautiful.....  The campground has a new section and an old section.   the older section has a lot of privacy and shade.  The newer section has wider spots and full hook ups.   Nice not having to empty the gray water every night.    We booked 4 nights here and would recommend it to anyone camping in Florida. 

Spot # 48
After a couple of nights we took a guided canoe tour of the lake they have there, it actually runs into the ocean over at the beach.  The ranger said they had a big male gator living in the lake, but we never saw him.... took the rangers word for it.   Canoeing against the current, talk about a workout!!!

The beach is super clean and the water emerald green..... it doesn't get much better...

My daughter never goes to the beach without her net..... she snagged this Blue Crab "In the Daytime"
He was the only true blue crab we saw during out trip..... He was kept on ice and sacrificed the next night as a dinner guest. 

These little guys would rather lose their tails than to get captured.... this guy just wasn't quick enough.

Took a day trip over to Ponce De Leon SP to take a dip in the spring water... talk about refreshing on a hot day.... 68 degrees.    Doesn't sound like much till you first get in.... then it hits you just how cold that really is... your body does finally get used to it and its not so bad after all...   The water was crystal clear and a lot of fun to snorkel .... had some pretty good size bass, but fishing wasn't allowed.

You look like a midget sitting down in this stuff..... My daughter was making fun of me...
Wife and kids doing "The Fandango Dance"..... Can you tell we are big WWE fans... ??? 
Gators Here.....   Yep,  decided to skip "The Lazy River" attraction. 
Rode our bikes from Grayton over to a nearby town... Watercolor.  Had to bribe the family with a promise of Ice Cream at the destination.    Daughter got a new "Far Side" book while we were there to keep us entertained.  

Scored big the next night Crabbing...  Sand Crabs for dinner.... Get enough of them and you can almost make a meal.   Funny these guys don't like each other very much... it was a Battle Royal in the bucket that night.  Kind of sick but fun entertainment, since we were missing Monday Night Raw.

The only bad thing I can find about Grayton Beach SP was that you had to drive or ride bikes to the beach.... we drove during the days for obvious reasons... but rode bikes for our nightly crabbing walks.   Still not a show stopper for this place.... its worth another visit!!!   Look they even put mats out on the beach to brush the sand off your feet with.... OUCH, OUCH.. don't try it... it hurts.  :) 

Probably wondering why this pic is in here.... just wanted to show off my new bike rack invention.  Last year the rear wheels took up the whole truck bed so there wasn't any room for anything else...  This year I took some old bunk bed frames and made a way for it to rest on the tail gate allowing easy access under the bikes.    (Patent Pending)

Henderson Beach State Park (Florida) 2014

What can I say..... Henderson Beach SP is our favorite place to camp.  Two years straight and got reservations for next year already...  Where else can you be right in the middle of one of Florida's most popular vacation towns, but not even know it when your in the campground.  Its the best of both worlds.  Not to mention what the people booking rooms are paying for one night, we can book a whole week for.    Bonus.... Walmart is directly across the street from the park entrance.   Beat that!!! 
We booked 5 nights at spot #47,  I don't think there is a bad spot in the whole campground. 
The nature trail path from the bath house to the board walk... 1/4 mile. 
The board walk to the beach... its 1/4 mile long but the walk way is made of composite (Plastic) wood so it doesn't splinter ... nice when if your going barefoot.   The campground has its own section of the beach where its far enough away from the public side and the hotels that it never gets crowded.

After lugging everything 1/2 mile to the beach on my shoulder last year... I broke down and bought a cheap cart....  30 dollars and worth every penny!!!!   I wouldn't complain even if it only lasted for this trip....   The kids rode their bikes to the board walk.....   See what I mean... "Every Penny"
Pretty much a red flag day the whole time we were there..... still "big waves are more fun than no waves"  No matter how tough you think you are,   They will knock you on your butt. 
One nuclear bomb and this little guy turns into Godzilla....   LOL   
They'll have to make a sequel.
The kids even tried to catch these gators.....  Fearless I tell you.
I told them, they can't bring it home....  didn't deter them one bit.

Went for dinner at the famous Fudpuckers.....  Food was awesome and what a beer can collection. Bringing a sharpie next time.. its graffiti central in there.

Kids doing the "YES CHANT" from WWE.... before the waves hit. 
You can have your boogie boards .... I'll take my 5 dollar floaty chair any day of the week... :)
3rd vacation to Florida and Canopy still holding up.... others can have those umbrellas, I'll take this over an umbrella any day....

Fire Power at Sunset....

Nightly Gun Shows at the beach

Henderson isn't much of a Crabbing beach that's for sure.... but there are plenty of Sand Fleas to catch. 

Hanging out waiting for the sunset.....
After the park closes.... Campers have the whole beach to yourself....  Its awesome...
Ok... looked like rain was coming in so we headed back to the camper for Movie Night...
Every Night is Red Box Movie Night at our camp site.... LOL 

Didn't get to explore the nature trail at the park last year so this year... "what the heck"...  You'd never know you were in the middle of a tourist central....
Photo Bomb.... Oh Yeah!!!   A dad's gotta do what a dad's gotta do...
trust me... she'll get even.. 
The only bad thing I can say about Henderson..... "Squirrels"   They aren't your Nut Eating Kind... but the Trash eating kind.... must be mixed with coons ??? 
The Pearl and The Dutchen off to calmer waters....
Bye Henderson.... Had a Blast.... See you next year...