On Monday, since the weather continued to be quite gloomy with overcast skies and the threat of more showers, we decided it would be a good day to explore Destin and take care of a few errands. We figured being a very populated, touristy area that there would be breakfast places galore – WRONG! We ended up going to the Donut Hole which was just a short distance from the campground on Route 98.
Most of the reviews we read were pretty favorable especially for their donuts which are home made. Apparently on weekends, there can be a wait of over an hour (must be because it is the only breakfast joint in town)! Like most restaurants in the tourist hot spots, there was no $1.99 breakfast here! We both had bacon and cheese omelets ($8) with hash browns. Service was good but the food was only mediocre – won’t be back at these prices!
Driving along Route 98 towards Destin, there was mile upon mile of retail populated with every store and restaurant chain known to mankind! Views of the beach were limited because of all the high rise condos, apartments and hotels although there was frequent “public access” to the beach (usually with very limited parking but there were some large state lots as well). It must have been very pretty before we humanoids invaded the area.
We stopped at Target to purchase a portable folding fire bowl so we could have a campfire at night. We had been talking about it for several months especially after our visit with Rob’s aunt and uncle at Linger Lodge where we spent a lot of time around their fire pit but we hadn’t had the opportunity to pick one up. Target was the only nearby vendor we found (via online searching) that seemed to stock them in the store.
Many of the campgrounds, including Topsail, do not provide fire rings but they will let you have a fire if you use your own above ground fire bowl with certain safety precautions. This one folds up to 26″x 26″x11″, comes in a fitted cloth carry bag and retails at Target for $60 – we think its the same or very similar to the one Camping World sells for $80. Ours is round but Target also carries a square version with the same dimensions and most Target stores seem to have both of them in stock. We were pleasantly surprised at how compact this unit is when packed in the bag. It is reasonably well put together and does the job. On our Discovery it fits vertically inside one of the luggage compartments so takes up minimal space.
Anyway, Destin, located on a peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico from Choctawhatchee Bay is on Florida’s Emerald Coast named so because the water is an emerald green color. Several years ago, we had driven through this area and had stopped at Harbor Walk Village on a bright, sunny day and the water was a beautiful emerald green color. It didn’t look quite so spectacular due to the very overcast skies but it was still pretty. We stopped at Norriego Point across Destin Harbor which had a lot of nice condos and marinas that were heavy on the sport fishing power boats. We took a walk out to the point which is public access where we could see Harbor Walk Village across the way.
From there, we drove back across the causeway and stopped at Harbor Walk Village where we spent an hour or so walking around. Lots of restaurants and shops to explore. It seems that spring break more or less officially begins in early March and many of the shop owners, restaurant owners and charter boat owners were busy sprucing up their establishments or their boats in prep for the upcoming season.
Once we were done exploring and had made another stop at Home Depot, we headed back to Topsail. We took a very enjoyable bike ride (not to worry, I managed to stay vertical this time) to Campbell Lake (about 3 miles round trip) which was very pretty.
On our way back, we took a ride around Palm Circle which is a newer area of the resort. The sites here seem even more private than where we are on Weeping Willow Way so I think next time we might try booking a site in that loop.
When we returned, Rob set up our new fire pit where we hung out for a few hours – very enjoyable (except for meowing kitties who thought they should sit around the campfire as well). We did get to meet our next door neighbors, Dave and Barb from Minnesota, who own a 5th wheeler and have traveled all over the country. We’re supposed to have cocktails with them on Tuesday night.