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Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park

Interrupting the high rise condominium continuam on the Alabama/Florida stretch of panhandle coastline is a jewel of a state park:  Gulf State Park.  With its wide sunny beaches, the soft powder white sand is kissed by a gentle surf, perfect for children – and adults not requiring getting knocked down by the Atlantic coast surf.  The gentle slope out to the Gulf means beach-goers of all ages can wade in the clear gentle waters beach combing and discovering seashells, sand dollars and the occasional starfish.

Wooden walkways to the Gulf allow the dunes to remain undisturbed to do their part guarding the coastline from hurricanes and high surf.

Wooden walkways to the Gulf allow the dunes to remain undisturbed to do their part guarding the coastline from hurricanes and high surf.

The beach may be the main attraction, but that doesn’t mean there’s not lots to love about Gulf State Park away from the beach…  like the Monarch Butterfly migration.

Monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico in the fall, by the dozens enjoying Gulf State Park's variety of flora.

Monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico in the fall, by the dozens enjoying Gulf State Park’s variety of flora.

Not just a few, but a gazillion, all on their way to Mexico because it’s too cold on the panhandle in the winter for them to survive.  Monarch’s are the only butterfly species to make such a dramatic migration.

Too bad they won't all cluster in one place for a photo opp!

Too bad they won’t all cluster in one place for a photo opp!

We rode 16 miles of bike trails inside the park … level smooth trails, easy to ride, no loose sand …

We rode 16 miles of bike trails in the park - nice that they're posted as no road training which means no crazies flying past at a gazillion miles an hour.

Also nice that the bike trails are posted as no road training which means no crazies flying past at a gazillion miles an hour.

A gopher tortoise meanders close to the bike path munching grass as he goes.

A gopher tortoise meanders close to the bike path munching grass as he goes.

More wildlife … but no alligators, despite the warning signs.  Not sure if I’m bummed or glad about no alligators ….

More wildlife along the bike path....

More wildlife along the bike path….

Oh wait, that’s not wildlife, it’s my brother, Jeff, and the Park’s Halloween decorations.

Beachcombing anyone? Pick up a shell or let the waves lap your feet as you relax.

Beachcombing anyone? Pick up a shell or let the waves lap your feet as you relax.

The beach is definitely the main attraction … wander for miles, relaxing …..  Build a sand castle or teach your youngsters to enjoy the surf.   Or try your hand at fishing on the Gulf’s longest fishing (or just enjoying) pier.

The longest fishing pier in the Gulf awaits anyone wanting to try their hand at surf fishing ...

The longest fishing pier in the Gulf awaits … right in the state park.

DeSotos Seafood LogoAnd if you’re hungry after all that relaxation…. be sure to try DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen – one of the few restaurants that understands that not everyone wants everything fried.  AND a 55 & older senior menu with  my favorite Yellow Fin Tuna, Blackened or Grilled with two side dishes (rice pilaf & steamed veggies for me, plz) for $11.99!!!  I love this place!  David gets the grouper, plus there’s mahi mahi, shrimp, oysters, and a dozen other choices on the senior menu.   I’ve never been so excited to be a senior in my life!   🙂

Enjoy!

 

 

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