The Northwest Florida Panhandle is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world. Sand that’s like warm sugar under your flip-flops. Crystal clear, emerald-green water. Gentle sea breezes swaying through the sea oats. This is the place dreams are made of.
Dune Allen Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Seagrove Beach, Inlet Beach and Santa Rosa Beach are a few of the popular beach spots in South Walton to soak up the sun. But there are other gems you need to experience during your stay on this beautiful coast. And one of them is only a short bike ride away from some of our most popular home rentals. It’s called Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, and you need to add it to your can’t-miss list.
Here are ten reasons to plan a day trip (or two, or three…) to Florida’s amazing Topsail Hill Preserve State Park:
Everyone loves soft, white sand between their toes. But have you ever seen white quartz sand blown into natural, breathtaking dunes that rise like ship sails 25 feet into the sky?
Topsail Hill is named for that natural occurrence and is a majestic site to see. Weathered wood boardwalks take you past the dunes and deliver you to over three miles of pristine, sparkling shoreline.
Lapping at the shores of the sugary sand is the clear, turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico. What are you waiting for— jump in and enjoy! Rent a canoe or a kayak for two. Test your skills on a stand-up paddleboard. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park offers many different ways for you to enjoy the water.
Topsail Hill is also home to over ten miles of hiking and biking trails.
Turpentine Trail meanders through old growth pine forests and wetlands. In the late 1800s, workers from the Quarters Turpentine Village farmed turpentine from old-growth longleaf pines in Topsail’s forests.
Morris Lake Trail takes you through ancient dunes and scrubland and past a remnant from a World War II rocket development program. Along the Deer Track trail, you can see Campbell Lake— more on the lake in a minute— and some cool, carnivorous plants. The Old Growth trail will take you far into the western part of the park.
No matter the trail you choose, you’re sure to have an adventure to remember.
Topsail Hill is home to a 1600-acre wildlife preserve. Bring your binoculars to observe colorful bluebirds, bright red cardinals, red-shouldered hawks, osprey, snowy plovers, and endangered piping plovers.
And who doesn’t love sea turtles? In the summer, sea turtles make their nests along the shore, sending dozens of baby turtles scurrying across the sand to the open sea. The park rangers even host a “Sea Turtle Baby Shower” every August. Awwwww!
Sure, laying on the beach and playing in the surf is relaxing and fun. But if you’re craving some action, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has everything you need.
Bring your bike and peddle around miles of paved trails, through shady palmettos and old growth pines. Challenge someone to a friendly game of shuffleboard, or hang from the monkey bars in the play area.
Geocaching is a cool, high-tech treasure hunt that utilizes hand-held global positioning (GPS) devices. The park offers a thirteen point geocache program that you can pick up at the ranger station.
Every Sunday is Sunday Funday Ranger Day at the park. Park rangers walk with you while you learn about plants, animals, and park history. The topics vary each week depending on the ranger leading the program.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park also offers many events throughout the summer months. There’s a Guided Bird Walk on June 12, a fun Family Geocaching Challenge on June 22, a Topsail Under The Stars Astronomy event on July 5 and a Sea Turtle Baby Shower on August 17.
At Topsail Hill, boredom is not an option.
Wait… a lake— on the ocean? Yup!
Campbell Lake is one of the most pristine coastal dune lakes in Florida. At over 100 acres and surrounded by maritime forest, it’s home to hundreds of local plants and animals.
Kayaks and canoes are available for rent, but outside vessels aren’t allowed. In fact, rangers allow nothing invasive into this fragile freshwater ecosystem.
Campbell Lake is also full of freshwater fish like bass, freshwater catfish, and panfish. A fishing license is required for certain fishing areas.
The Crowds (or lack thereof)
Nothing spoils a relaxing beach day more than a huge crowd.
One of our favorite things about Topsail Hill is that— even at the height of the season— it never feels crowded. With over three miles of beach, 10 miles of trails, and 1,640 acres of parkland, it’s easy to find a quiet space to relax and enjoy the serene beauty of the coastline.
It’s all about the details. And Topsail Hill has every amenity you can think of to keep you comfortable during your day at the beach.
A general store, a snack bar, a shower station, a visitor information center, picnic areas, clean restrooms, and a convenient little trolley-tram all add to the quaint, pleasant and friendly vibe of Topsail Hill.
You know that screensaver your co-worker has on their computer that shows clear, turquoise water gently lapping onto a perfect, powdery-sand beach while gentle sea breezes blow through the trees? Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is that screensaver come to life.
Rent any one of our homes in Dune Allen and you’re not only close to art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, you’re also a hop, skip and a jump— or an enjoyable bike ride— to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.
Homes like A Shore Thing, Chablis By The Sea, and Los Roques offer plenty of space for your whole gang and easy access to Topsail Hill. Click here to view more homes in Dune Allen.
One more thing!
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is offering FREE admission from May 25 to September 2, 2019! Now is the time to book your trip and check out this extraordinary park for yourself.
Visit the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park website for more information.