Sometimes you just know immediately upon arriving somewhere that you will really enjoy the place. And when that happens you start wishing that you had made plans to stay longer. Well that’s how it was from the moment we arrived at Topsail. What a beautiful place, heavily wooded, big sites with lots of privacy and so close and yet so far from all the hubbub of the Destin area (more on that later) for shopping! Like several other places we have been to, we didn’t just stumble across this park, it was recommended to us by the couple across from us (Boyd and Paula from Indiana) at Fort Wilderness. After checking it out online, we decided we would give it a try – so glad we did!
Accommodating rigs up to 45′, each site has 30/50A service, water, sewer, and cable hookups. Other amenities include a small store, laundry facilities, a non-heated swimming pool (if you don’t want to swim in the ocean), shuffleboard, and heated/cooled bathrooms with showers. It is extremely clean – each day we have seen staff members out blowing the pine needles and leaves from the wide paved streets and from the sites. Also there appears to be a continuous improvement program – we noticed a few sites where new concrete pads are going down.
In addition to the RV sites, there are also 1 bedroom bungalows ($100/night), cabins ($130/night for up to 6 people) and tent sites ($24/night). With a daily rate of $42/night for an RV site during peak season, it isn’t the cheapest place that we have stayed at but in this instance, it is all about location, location, location – you really can’t beat it! We’ve stayed at and looked at places that are just as (and sometimes more) expensive and not even half as nice. Being a state park, they apparently don’t have weekly or monthly rates.
There are several small ponds interspersed throughout the resort – it would be nice to stay on one of the sites that border one of the ponds, but we did a quick assessment and further below listed the sites we thought would be the most to our liking for a future visit (we like some privacy and a nice setting yet still close to things – your preferences may be different).
Once we were settled into our new home away from home, we decided to check out the beach which is only a 10 minute walk or 3 minute bike ride. Until March 1st, there is a tram which runs every two hours that will take you to the beach but after March 1st, it runs every hour. That’s a pretty nice amenity!
It was a nice walk along the paved tram road (no cars allowed – just pedestrians and bicycles) bordered by saw palmettos, huge southern magnolia trees, sand pine scrub and old growth long leafed pine trees. In one area there was a sign titled “Answers to Burning Questions”. They apparently do controlled burns and they must have done one fairly recently. It was interesting to see that the saw palmettos are already sprouting new growth.
After our short walk, we were rewarded with a view of a magnificent beach and sand dunes. Next to the tram stop were very clean restrooms, several picnic tables and a boardwalk that led down to the beach. Even though it was a gloomy, overcast day, it was absolutely beautiful! Luckily it wasn’t that cold so we sat on one of the benches on the beach for a bit before heading back.
On the way back, we took the “Nature Trail” which was an unpaved trail. But when we came back to the paved road, we ended up going the wrong way. Luckily we met up with a man walking his two dogs so we were able to confirm that we needed to turn around. The road we were on led to Campbell Lake which was a couple of miles away. We wanted to go there, but it was a 3 mile run so wanted to use our bikes – more about that later. So our short walk turned into a long walk but that was okay after sitting in the coach all morning, we needed the exercise.
Power here is excellent at 123v on both legs of the 50A – there have been no power errors recorded by our energy monitor. OTA TV reception is practically nil – you might get one or two stations but luckily cable is provided for no additional charge. We had some issues with our Tivo improperly labeling the stations but that’s not an issue if you don’t use a Tivo. WiFi here is also free but only available if your site happens to be near the store. Sprint 3G signal is strong, but for whatever reason (probably high congestion) network performance is somewhat sluggish. Verizon 3G is good but also has the same congestion issue. As mentioned, fires are allowed, but only in an above ground firepit that is placed on the concrete.
Preferred site list:
In general the “Palm Circle” area of the campground is the newest and in our opinion has the nicest sites. Weeping Willow also has several excellent sites (this is where our site #86 is). The other sites are all perfectly fine but perhaps somewhat less private and the areas mentioned above would be our preference. Rob biked around and made a note of some specific sites that we would prefer for a future visit (the more +’s the better):
|Palm Circle area:||Weeping Willow Area:|