Sept. 23, 2016 St. Andrews SP Day 3

It’s the first day into Fall, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.  There is no breeze to speak of and the highs today should reach into the low 90’s.  We packed up our beach gear and headed out around 10:30 this morning.  Our goal was to check out the town of Panama City Beach.  We drove along Front Beach Road–a coastal highway that travels the length of the peninsula from one end at St. Andrew State Park to Powell Lake at the western end. It runs along the Gulf of Mexico for about 10 miles through Panama City Beach.  There was a lot to see.  You had your typical tourist-type shops, resorts, and restaurants with interesting names.  We did make a stop at the County Pier to get a good look at the beach we’ve heard so much about.

They charge a few bucks to fish or walk on the pier, so we passed on that.  It’s not like we haven’t seen beautiful beaches and walked on piers that stretch into the Gulf before, but I did want to get a picture of it.

It hasn’t been crowded anywhere we’ve been on this trip (which is awesome), but we did notice a slight increase in activity and people on the weekends.  I can imagine that in the winter (in “season”) the place is bursting at the seams.  We drove the entire length of the peninsula and then went back on Highway 98 which parallels the Front Beach Road.  We decided not to spend time at the beach in town, but head back to the park and sit/swim at the beach there.  The park beach was a little busier today, but we found a great spot to spend a few hours.

In this protected area, the jetties keep out the current so families feel secure about letting their children swim here.  It’s also shallow for a long way out.  However, today the yellow and purple flags were flying. 

A yellow flag means that there is moderate surf and currents.  Purple means that there are marine pests present like jellyfish, stingrays, or dangerous fish.  In today’s case, we had jellyfish. 

I didn’t notice them at first, but the people next to us pointed them out.  Unfortunately, the little girl near us learned that too late.  She cried out in pain as one stung her.  Ouch!  Vinegar, I was told, takes the sting away.  Dad was going to see what he could find.  We enjoyed our afternoon watching the boat traffic pass through the cut to the Gulf. 

The charter fishing boats were all returning from their 1/2 day fishing trips. 

There were a lot of pleasure boats out and about as well enjoying the day.  There was also an Army helicopter flying up and down the coast multiple times.  I wonder what was going on there.

 We saw some divers exploring the area near the jetties.   A nice sea breeze kicked up and made our stay on the beach pleasant.

After a few hours, we packed up our gear and headed back to the campsite. That was enough sun for one day.  Back at the campsite, Auggie got to enjoy some outdoor time and we relaxed a little before dinner.  Bob grilled pork chops and we had a nice dinner.  We prepped the trailer for our departure tomorrow.  We are moving on to the Ft. Walton Beach/Destin area for a few days.

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