Day 172: Grayton Beach State Park and the Happy Hour Crawl.
Last night when we arrived at the Cracker Barrel, we were hesitant about parking for the night. After all, we had just been kicked out of a Wal-Mart that we felt was safe and accommodating when we arrived. There were no dedicated RV parking spaces like they usually do and there were also no other RVs here. We circled for a couple of times before deciding to settle into a corner of the lot.
Just to be on the safe side, Marlene decided to call to see if they had any kind of phone recording that talks about overnight parking. To our surprise, someone inside actually picked up the phone and answered at around midnight. They had no problems with us parking here at all and we appreciate them for that.
We gladly paid them a visit for breakfast before we left. As usual, it was delicious.
We had decided to stay a couple of nights at Grayton Beach State Park. It is really close to Seaside and we have gotten really positive recommendations from a lot of people about it. Before we headed back, we decided to make a quick stop at the Bass Pro Shops.
There was actually no particular reason to come here except that Ava really wanted to come. She remembers that each time we go to Las Vegas, we always stay at the Silverton Hotel and Casino which has a Bass Pro Shops attached. She loved being at the hotel because of the restaurants and swimming pools. As this Bass Pro Shops was right across the street from Cracker Barrel, we decided to burn some time here as we are still pretty early to try to check in to the campground.
This stretch of the gulf shore is lovingly referred to as the ‘redneck riviera’. I think this boat with comically large outboard motor busting through a brick wall is a humorous homage paid to that nickname.
Grayton Beach State Park is one of a handful of Florida State Parks along the panhandle. Starting with Apalachicola and all the way down to Pensacola, there are beautiful beaches and lots of activities to do year round. We have stayed at St Andrews in Panama Beach City and just 2 days ago at St Joseph Peninsula, we are starting to get a real good feel of the area.
When we arrived at Grayton Beach, the site we wanted was still occupied by the camper. Even though checkout time is a 1pm, our check in isn’t technically until 3pm. As usual, we just parked by the beach to enjoy the park while all of that gets sorted out.
Just like the beaches at Seaside yesterday, the sugar sand beach here is beautiful.
It still bewilders me that this is considered the off season right now. It is 70 degrees out and hardly anyone is at the beach.
I suppose people like to be here when the water is much warmer for swimming. It is probably in the high 60s to low 70s which is a bit chilly for warm blooded Floridians.
We finally got into our site in the new campground loop that was just completed about 3 years ago. As compared to the old loop, it is $6 more per night at $34 but it includes sewer connections which the other one lacks. The sites are also much larger and more open.
We could have gotten into another site without having to wait but we opted for one that is right by the lake. This is one of the few fresh water lakes in the world that is literally a stones throw from a large body of salt water like the Gulf of Mexico.
After getting settled in, we decided to head out for a late lunch around town. Sean and Kristy had given us some great suggestions of places to eat as well as our friend Doug from Troutstream who vacations here annually with his family. Since our time here is limited, we decided to attempt a happy hour crawl to hit as many places as we can this afternoon.
First spot we came to is just over a mile up the road from Grayton Beach State Park called Hurricane Oyster Bar. They are known for a great 3pm-6pm happy hour with $1 domestic draft beers and $5 per dozen of raw oysters in a half shell.
Unfortunately, they had run out of oysters because of the 30A Songwriters Festival and won’t be getting another delivery until tomorrow. I guess $1 drafts and other happy hour munchies will have to do.
After Hurricane Oyster Bar, we drove into Seaside and got another round of happy hour food and drinks at Crush. Crush is a sushi restaurant with half off draft beers and select sushi between 3-6pm. For $2.50, we got pints of local craft beer which I thought was a much better deal than the smaller $1 drafts at Hurricane Oyster bar. My Grayton IPA was delicious as was my unagi roll.
To round off the happy hour trifecta, we hit the restaurant highly recommended by Sean and Kristy. I asked them if they had any oysters left from the weekend and they also had run out but were getting a fresh delivery within the hour.
If you thought $5 per dozen is cheap from Hurricane Oyster Bar, I got this bakers dozen for only $3. Yeah, you read that right. That is 13 raw oysters on the half shell for three dollars. God bless the Florida panhandle.
over and out,
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