This past week we relaxed for four nights in a great Florida State Park. We had booked 4 nights at Falling Waters State Park. This is a good place to stop if you are traveling on the I-10. The park is located in the town of Chipley and even though it is close to Interstate 10 it feels like you are out in nature. The park is home to Florida’s “tallest waterfall”. It is also home to a very nice campground. We had booked early online for site #2 and we definitely picked a great site.
The first 3 sites (1,2 and 3) have cement slabs with cement walkways to the centrally located bathroom. Site #1 and #3 are pull throughs, and site #1 is a walk up site.
We spent 2 of our days just enjoying the campground. You can hike from the campground down to a lake and then on to the waterfall. The lake has a small beach and is a great place for a picnic. There are picnic tables and bathroom facilities at the lake. The hike to the waterfall takes you across raised wooden walkways. The park has closed part of the walkways that take you past large sinkholes. We were told they need to be repaired before they can be reopened. The waterfall was flowing slowly while we were there, but it was still worth checking out. The water flows down from the top and into a large sinkhole.
We took one day to make a trip down to the coast. It takes about 1-hour (50 miles) to get from the park to Panama City. We took Gizmo to the Dog Beach at Pier Park. The beach was beautiful but it is only a small stretch of beach that dogs can walk along. This is a great place if you want to just relax on the beach with your dog, but there is not enough distance to get a good walk in. Dogs must remain on leash here. This was our first trip to this area and we enjoyed walking in the warm water of the Gulf and looking at the beautiful emerald green water. We decided to check out the shops once we were done on the beach. We found many of the stores to be dog friendly and we were able to grab lunch at one of the many restaurants with outdoor dining.
We decided to continue our drive along the coast since it was still early in the day. We continued south on 98. We had read online that dogs are allowed on Mexico beach, but are allowed south and north of the “city of Mexico Beach”. We drove south until we saw the sign for Gulf County on the right side of the road. There was plenty of free parking and accessing the beach was easy. We really liked this location as we could take as long of a walk as we wanted so long as we headed south on the beach. The other reason I really liked this area is that it is less crowded and there are no high rises.
We were ready to head back to the campground after a long walk. We took some “country roads” back to the campground and we were both amazed at how much open country there is in Florida once you get away from the cities.
We spent the last evening in the campground enjoying a campfire and the company of our camping neighbors. On our final walk of the evening John noticed “small glowing eyes” in the grass reflecting back from his headlamp. He shined his headlamp down on the grass to see where the reflections were coming from
and he discovered it was the eyes of many spiders reflecting back at us. We had never seen anything like it so of course we had to spend some time looking for them. You can only spot them if you have the headlamp on your head as the light has to be at just the right angle to reflect back at you.
Once we were back in the RV we had to Google “spiders with glowing eyes” and we found out that they are wolf spiders.
We had enjoyed the warm Florida weather for 4 days and we decided it was too early to start our journey home. We had looked at the weather forecast for the upcoming week and decided we would try to figure out a way to stay in Florida longer. We called Thousand Trails to see if we might be able to get a last minute 2-week stay in the Orlando campground. We were delighted to find out there was availability and we were headed south.