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Old 07-16-2013, 11:19 AM   #15
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Perry: Just to second my good friend Russ, Topsail is first class all the way. We have stayed there several times during Canopener and on our own. We usually reserve 135, so kinda partial to that area. Nice sites all around you. We usually walk to the beach, it is probably a mile but you are on a smooth paved path. Tram is great if you are carrying a bunch of beach stuff. Bikes would be a plus. You will enjoy your stay.
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:15 PM   #16
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Since your conference is in Destin, how about Henderson Beach SP? Or is it thoroughly booked.

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Old 07-16-2013, 02:20 PM   #17
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Henderson is full.

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Old 07-16-2013, 04:11 PM   #18
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Topsail is a great place. We've stayed there a number of times, unusally in the winter, but have been there twice during the summer, the last being June of this year. In the summer the tram runs on the hour with the last run from the beach a few minutes after dark. Not sure what time the first run is in the morning. The summer tram will hold some 50-60 people (has two units behind the truck). In the winter, the run frequency is less, and only has one trailer, best I remember. If there in the summer, consider a visit to the beach after dark, lots of crabs, etc to see.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:21 PM   #19
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There is a short cut from the 103 loop that leads to the beach. Very nice walk or bike ride thru the woods.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:22 PM   #20
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We love Top Sail too! Our first time was a couple of years ago in May.

I am going to pass along some information which you can do with as you please:

First, when we were there, one of the Rangers warned us not to pick "sticks" while outside, they could very easily be pigmy rattlers as they do have them there. He also said that often the first bite from the pigmy rattler is a "warning" bite and does not contain poison, but the next bite would have it. He also said that sometimes the first does contain poison. In addition, he said to be watchful when going outside first thing in the morning as the snakes like to lay around the asphalt pads at night/early morning because they retain warmth from the sun the previous day.

Secondly, one time we were going/coming back from the beach; we walked to the beach and had a great time. On our way back we were a little tired and decided to ride the tram. The ride started out fine, then all of a sudden the driver sped up and then abruptly stopped and was looking to the right. We looked, along with most others on the tram, and spotted a medium sized Bobcat running -- it had run across the path of the tram just a little ahead of us! We talked with the driver afterward and he said that the park has one person who traps them when they wander over to the park from the nature preserve, or whatever he called the other area. A ranger later told us that the Bobcats sometimes climb the trees and await prey and jump down on it.

I am only mentioning this as we would have liked to have known these two things when we were there so we could be aware and be watchful. Knowing about these does not stop us from going; we are going down this Fall too.

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Old 07-17-2013, 07:17 AM   #21
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I am from Florida so snakes and roaches big enough to saddle don't bother me too much. The pythons in south FL might get my attention though. Don't forget the gators. Some of the pythons are big enough to eat a big gator. Cotton mouths are the snakes I hate. They are aggressive and prefer to fight and bite rather than retreat like most snakes.

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Old 07-17-2013, 07:51 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
I am from Florida so snakes and roaches big enough to saddle don't bother me too much. The pythons in south FL might get my attention though. Don't forget the gators. Some of the pythons are big enough to eat a big gator. Cotton mouths are the snakes I hate. They are aggressive and prefer to fight and bite rather than retreat like most snakes.

Perry
When we were there back when it was Emerald Coast, a gator was in one of the small lakes. Staff told us that they occasionally get one if a hurricane came through. They said they typically hire someone to trap the wanderers and get them back to the areas they belong in.

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Old 07-17-2013, 08:39 AM   #23
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Topsail does regular "burns" and had one during the last Canopener. They seem to be very conscious of the winds direction and strength when they do so. The staff give plenty of heads up when one is planned to make sure the least inconvenience to all the happy campers.
They also frown on using pointy metal stakes for tying down canopies near the cement pads. Reason, the park is equipped with a built in sprinkler system. Larger sand type stakes are ok with the Ranger as long as they are placed some distance from the cement.
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