We left Gulf Shores, AL and made our way east to our next stop, a short 80 miles down the coast to Fort Walton Beach and Destin, FL. We decided to make it a weeklong stay, as the rates at the West Destin RV Park were very favorable for 7-nights. The park was set up very well, four rows of pads, all very level brick pavers, with nice picnic tables and good spacing and landscaping between each site with gorgeous water views. This place was situated on the bay side; in this area of Florida, there is a long outer shoreline that has a few breaks in it to allow for the water to flow in and out to the huge bay behind. The park had access to the ocean side/Gulf of Mexico across the street, as they are part of the Ramada Hotel and allow the RV park guests to use all the hotel facilities, nice relationship.
When we arrived, the weather was perfect, a nice couple of days in the mid-70’s. As the week progressed though, Mother Nature brought down some cool air form the middle of the country, with highs in the mid 40’s/lows in the 20’s for several days, along with a strong north wind, and it was downright cold! Many of our neighbors, who stay here for several months during the winter, were thinking about heading even further south to avoid the unusual cold. Fortunately for us, we were already planning on that. But in the meantime, we had some things to do around the area.
First priority was to visit friends, Pat and Allison Bunker, and their new baby boy, Hudson. We spent last Christmas Eve and Day with them on our way through, and Allison was about 7-8 months pregnant at the time, so it was a treat to meet the little man after being here last winter and not getting a chance then. We made our way to their home in Panama City Beach one evening for Pat’s famous homemade pizza and it was an awesome treat to once again be around friends and in their wonderful home. Thanks you guys, hope to see you in the spring on our way back to the NW!
Another item on our list here was another repair, this time to our large shade awning. The motor had quit a week or so back, and although we do not use it a lot, we needed to get it fixed. We called a local repair guy, Charlie from Gulf Coast Mobile Services, who came out right away, ordered the part, and was back a few days later to install it. He was perfect to work with, wish all of our needed repairs went so smoothly.
Several days we spent walking on the beach. As I mentioned earlier, we were able to access the beach across the street at the Ramada, and we went over whenever we wanted, and took in the peacefulness of the off-season. We basically had the beach to ourselves every time we went over. The sand here is the purest white you will ever find; almost like powder it is so soft. The water is very clear, with porpoises off the beach, a long fishing pier, and sunsets that are amazing. The town and beach were super quiet, being the off-season before turkey day, lucky for us.
Near the end of our week stay, the weather at our next planned stop of Tallahassee was looking really cold, lows in the low 20’s were forecast. We decided to extend our stay in West Destin for 3 nights; not a lot pulling us to Tallahassee, and we really liked our park. The weather was still cold, but at least we had the beach and bay to look at, and it was only going to get down into the low 30’s, not as bad. We even had a chance on a cold afternoon to go see the movie “Dumb and Dumber To.” If you remember one of our earlier posts when we visited the Today Show in NY, they did a big promotion for the sequel to one of our all time favorite movies, and it was finally time for its release. Great to see Harry and Lloyd on the big screen together again!
We also had time to take in some of the local restaurants here. I think our favorite was a tiny little Airstream trailer, The Other End, turned bar/restaurant overlooking the bay in Destin. Great location, with cold beers complete with free coozies, wish we had found it earlier in our stay. We also ate at McGuire’s Irish Pub, and as luck would have it, we showed up right at the beginning of happy hour, ½ price double Martini night! The most interesting thing about this place is the money – an estimated $1.6 million in $1 bills stapled to the walls and ceiling – everywhere you look were $1 bills, signed by people from all over the world, hard to describe this without seeing and way too dark to take a quality picture. We hit up Miller’s Ale House for the very disappointing Seahawks game, but a very fun place to watch NFL on a Sunday. We also ate at Jimmy Buffets place, a nice little Mexican place, both on the Harbor Walk in Destin Bay, as well as drinks one night at AJ’s. Fort Walton Beach and Destin both had a ton of options, and we were glad to have made a stop here on our way back into Florida. Next stop Gainesville, then on to Orlando for a few days, and Tampa for Thanksgiving with the Lee family!