Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A look at Grayton Beach State Park

Monday April 29, 2013
Site 9 Grayton Beach State Park
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida



How totally fine. It rains all night long and stops just after I get up.


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Weather.com says the rain will start back up again at noon but they are wrong.  Hooray! 

I get out after breakfast and do the outside set up. When I finish we have the awning up, the chairs out, the table cloth on, the picnic table under the awning and the flag positioned.  It’s our home.



Now it’s time for taking  a walk around the park to get acquainted.



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Grayton Beach State Park has two campgrounds.  One is the original campground, now referred to as the Old Campground, which of course makes the newer one the New Campground. There are 59 sites split between the two. Sites 1-36 are in the old campground and 37-59 in the new





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I chose site 9 in the Old Campground since I like that cozy feeling of being in the bushes and under the trees.  The sites are gravel, as is the road, and vary in width and length.   All have water, electric, a fire ring and a picnic table.  Currently they cost $24 plus tax per night.  The first half dozen or so sites on the right as you come into the campground back up to Western Lake and are thus very popular.  You can kayak right off of your site in at least 4 of them.  Western Lake is a coastal dune lake, apparently a very unusual feature found in few other places in the world.  We’ll be out kayaking that later in the week weather permitting so I’ll talk about it then.


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And speaking of kayaking….

Right across from our site is a lake access so all we have to do is walk the boats down the path and put them in the water.  Sweet!


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I take a walk over there to see about launching the kayaks and look who I find down by the water at the end of the path.  Sure would like to have one of those waterfront sites next time.

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Oppps, back to the campgrounds…….

There is one bath house in the center of each campground.  The old loop’s bath house has been under “renovation” since September of 2012.  They expect to have it finished by July of this year.  Must be some renovation.  SO that means all the folks in the Old Campground and all the folks in the New Campground are using the same bath house.  A fair walk for those in the OC.  1 washer and 2 dryers at the bath house.  $2.00 each.


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The New Campground has a paved road and some cement pad sites but most of the sites are gravel. 





The sites are large and have Full Hook ups for which you pay an extra $6 a night.  The campground has very young trees and bushes so it is pretty wide open to the sun, the sky and the neighbors.

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After looking over both campgrounds, we head out down the road to see the beach. We pass by the lake and a bridge over its wetlands.  I’m surprised we see no wading or shore birds.  It looks like a great place for them.  It’s still very cloudy but I don’t see why that would matter to them.


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 It’s a good walk over to the beach from either campground. 

We estimate a mile.  Not a problem unless you are carrying a lot  of stuff which I always bring with me……my chair, my towel, my camera, my binoculars, water, books, some times my journal, sunscreen etc.   So we decide when we get back we’ll put our bike cart together to aid in getting over there.


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While we are walking, we notice all the wildflowers blooming along the road. Some are blooming, some not just yet.  But maybe they will before we leave. I’ll keep my eye out.   I recognize some of them from other parks but some are new to me.  There are wild rosemary bushes as well.




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Someone has done some really fine drawings of the wildflowers.

Luckily there is a really fine painting of them in the bath house building walk through.  If I were a local here, I’d love to have this hanging in my home.  There is no artists’ signature on the painting just what looks like PO3 2005.

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My picture of the live tread softly didn’t come out well so I’ll show you the painting up close.

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As we take the boardwalk over the dunes I notice this Gulf Coast Lupine shining out in its perfect setting.

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The beach is flying two caution flags. 

We talk with some folks from Alabama who are leaving today and coincidentally going up to the Blue ridge Mountains of Virginia just north of our farm.  They say those two flags have flown the entire week they have been here.

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We speculate on the “dangerous marine life”. 
Does make you think twice about going in the beautiful water.

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It’s never the same path twice.  I just love that!

On the way back we spot this very interesting looking creature that David says is a wasp and those in the know say is a dragonfly.  It was perched on top of what looked like a dead stick and would fly off and back and off and back giving me plenty of time to catch this picture.



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Grayson Day 1 Monday 049 The road runs behind the dunes.  I love seeing them  here in the Panhandle,  They are unique to this place and I am always sorry to see the areas along the beach where they have been leveled to build homes and businesses.  To their peril I fear in the next hurricane.  Mother Nature will have the last laugh.  And we’ll all be paying for the disaster relief.



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Our walk back is down the same road but we notice things we didn’t see before.  I actually do like to walk down and back the same road or the same path.  Loops are fine but then I want to do the loop both backwards and forwards.

This short path is a perfect example.  We didn’t see it coming but we now we do and look what we find.






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We get a small snack for sustenance on our journey.

And low bush blackberries.  YUM!  Some of them are ready for picking.  Where we come from the blackberries grow on canes which get so tall you can get mighty cut up trying to pick enough for a pie.  We just eat these right here and now.


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We have a few more things to check on with regard to the residency question so we make some more phone calls.  I think we’ve got all the papers and all the locations and all the ducks in a row.  Next day it rains we are headed for Crestview.  :-))

David gets out the beach cart puts it together.  I spend some time with my Florida shell book seeing if I can identify the conchs from the whelks and the various clams and arks.  The details are amazing and the variety seemingly infinite.  Nature is just so fabulous in all her designs and creations.  What a universe everywhere we take the time to look. 


I am having trouble remembering what time it is here.


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After a dinner of fresh green beans, tomatoes and corn on the cob, we bike over to the Gulf to see the sun set.   And of course it does but we don’t get there quite in time.  The folks who do though assure us that it was a GREAT one.  Well darn!  But there was nice color anyway.  I’m having trouble remembering I am in CDT and the sun sets at 7:20 not at 8:20. 


We turn on our bike lights and pedal home along the lake listening to a great frog chorus.

When I get back and as soon as we put the bikes away under cover,
I set my phone to let me know when it is 7:00 each night. 
No more late for the sunset for me.

I don’t think tomorrow is the Crestview day,
the weather sounds perfect.
So will I spend it at the beach?
In the kayak on the lake?
Walking the dunes nature trail?

Decisions, decisions, decisions…….

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  1. I like your cozy site. Isn't that a dragonfly? I love being able to graze along a trail. Sure looks like a glorious sunset. And tomorrow night, on time. ;)

  2. Thanks for the great tour!! We like the cozy sites most of the time. However, if it is cold, we prefer the sunny sites. Sounds like it has the Big Three...Beach Combing, Kayaking and Hiking:o))

    Haven't heard the verdict on the Citrus Donuts?!?!

  3. Such a great quandary to be in retirement, isn't it? Beach, bike, hike, read....what to do?

  4. I'm with Gaelyn. Looks like a dragonfly to me too.

  5. Yep, not a wasp but one of the many dragonflies that abound... we too are thinking of spending some time in Virginia and are even considering your college town, thoughts on RV parks in the area where we could stay?

  6. Another nice Florida park. Doesn't sound like you'll run out of places to do everything you love to do!

  7. I bow to collective wisdom and have changed the post to reflect. I took David's word for the wasp but now he says that's not what he said. HA! :-)

    Heyduke, Virginia has a lot of fine things to do and see especially history. 3 President's homes within 30 minutes of each other and 4 if you count the Woodrow Wilson Birth place in Staunton. If you are coming up 81 be sure to see the cute town of Abingdon and Hungry Mother State Park. The Carter Family Fold is also in the area.

    When we stay in the Charlottesville area we stay on a street in Charlottesville or in the farm barnyard so we aren't too familiar with the RV parks in the area but know there are only 2. I have never personally been to either one. Suppose I should do that.

    The first one is a KOA. I haven't had good experience personally with KOA but I've heard good things about the one in Charlottesville. I've never seen it and would call about directions to get there as it is not right off the interstate but rather off a county road.

    The other is Misty Mountain in Crozet about 12 miles away from Charlottesville and less than that to the Shenandoah National Park. It is close but not too close to I64. Not sure if it is passport america but people like its location and ease of access.

    About 30 miles to the east and toward Richmond and near James Madison's home is Small Country Campground in Louisa. I've heard good things about this one and it too is PPA. Hope this helps.

  8. Sounds to me like you and David will love it there. Don't you like having decisions like that?!


  9. Great dragonfly pic. Guess it's been a long time since we were at Grayton Beach SP. There was only one loop, and we were never able to get one of those prime sites on the lake. If by some chance you talk to the park superintendent, Dale, tell him hello for us. He is an old friend of Jim's from high school and a very nice guy.

  10. Those dunes are just marvelous. With those flowers, it's an added bonus to their beauty.

    Wondering what kind of dangerous marine life there is there? I know you're not scared, after wading around hip deep in swamps... ;c)

  11. Another great dragonfly picture that I think could win a picture award. I don't believe Dad would have called that a wasp...but what do I know?! ;) The flower painting was excellent - wonder who the person was who painted that. Lovely that you have a site that has at least easy water access; I think you picked the 'better' of the two campgrounds. Thanks for a great tour of the place!

  12. Your eye for detail always astounds me. I think you're really going to enjoy Grayton.

  13. The pier just a mile from where we are has the two flags, but the beach we access from the campground has only had the yellow flying all week ... Mui's been taking advantage and playing in the surf. Makes you wonder about what dangerous creatures are around that wouldn't swim a mile to our side.

  14. Love the red dragonfly! When we were just down the road at Topsail a couple weeks ago, there were jellyfish washing up on the beach. I went in the water anyway, but there weren't many others doing the same. Kind of makes you wonder. . . . The wildflower photos are just lovely Sherry.

  15. We love following your blog! Seems you teach us something new every day. I'd never heard of coastal dune lakes, but now Google tells me all about them. Fascinating!

  16. Some really beautiful pictures. Great time of year to be there.


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