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“The tent sites are walk-in” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Topsail Beach State Preserve

Topsail Beach State Preserve
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: With three miles of beach, this state beach appeals to nature lovers.
pelham al
Level Contributor
34 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“The tent sites are walk-in”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 30, 2013 via mobile

I was not aware that the tent sites are walk-in, I have a hurt back and was in a bind. I was able to change to a a Site close to the parking lot (21) so didn't have to walk as far but wanted to warn others. The tent sites were semi private with shade but #10 and 11 were a few feet from a swamp. 1 mile walk bike or tram to beach. Very crowded Rv area but sites had shade. The trails were flooded but the 30a path is right outside gate. Donut hole and Walmart 2 miles away.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank piddlerexpert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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363 reviews from our community

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English first
LA
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Not the best Beach Vacation”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2013

Our extended family rented several cabins, bungalows and campsites this summer for a reunion. When my family arrived after a 8 hour trip we found none of the beds were made. We have stayed in many state parks, cabins, etc and have NEVER had to make our beds at initial arrival (and most at a much more reasonable price per nite). The sleeper sofa is only comfortable for children. The living area and porches were delightful. The staff was very friendly but were not at all helpful in helping us to find where other family member were staying siting privacy concerns (come on we know names, home addresses and the staff knew we were there for a reunion and they can't share where specific family are located). The beach was wonderful and thankfully they have a free shuttle to it..but it is not at ALL convenient for those with children, elderly or mobility impaired persons. The boardwalk is VERY LONG and if you have much to carry to the beach take along a wagon or cart. My individual family will not be returning to this park. We have made plans to return to the St Rosa Beaches but will find a rental in one of the neighboring communities of Grayton Beach or Blue Mountian Beach or even in Destin. when I go to the gulf I want to be able to see the beach; we were so far away you could not even hear the surf in the quiet of the nite hours might as well have been inland.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank orrgen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
209 reviews
95 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 352 helpful votes
“Fun for bike and the beach”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2013

I believe that the majority of visitors that enjoy Topsail are also staying there via camping. However, this park also has several trails, as well as a nice beach to enjoy for people coming for the day. I always suggest to anyone who visits Florida a lot, or you travel around FL, get a State Park pass. It costs around $60/year, but if you frequent state parks in Florida, you are already paid, and it will pay off in the end. So saying that, this park will cost a few dollars to park. It is located at the top of 30A, near hwy 98. If you want to walk, or bike the Timpoochee trail, this is a good place to park. It starts almost right outside the gates. There is a restroom in the parking lot, and water fountain. Again, talking about the money, there are some free parking areas (if you come early in the day) down the road if you don't want to pay. This isn't the 'cutest' part of the Tim. Trail, but it is still a nice wide paved biking/hiking trail.
They have 2 paved roads at the Topsail park. One goes to the beach. It is less than a mile ride there. When you get to the beach, there is a restroom, water fountain, benches, bike racks, and a long boardwalk to the actual beach. The other paved road goes to Lake Campbell. Again, another restroom, water, benches and they even have some kayaks and canoes for rent. The rest of the trails are unpaved. Being that you are near the beach, some of the trails are pretty sandy. Challenging to say the least. With some of the recent rains, some of the trails are also a bit muddy. Just check with the rangers at the entrance to see if there are any trails to avoid. I did part of Deer Track trail, but it was too sandy for me to maneuver, and so I did the Turpentine Trail. There were a few spots that had gravel laid out. I assume to cover areas that were too swampy. If you have skinny tires, or they are old, the gravel may test them. This trail was an easier trail, with more grass and packed ground. As I got closer to the camp ground, the trail did get a little more sandy.
If you are a biker or hiker I think these are nice trails. No cars to bother you. Also, the population in this park is low, so the crowds are kept to a minimum. As far as wanting a long bike ride, the paved rails are not long, and will not give you a good workout, if that is what you are wanting. You would do better to try a few of the unpaved trails for more mileage. For those of you hiking, there are benches in various places to stop and rest. If you want to see wildlife, you are in the middle of the Fl scrubs. As much as I go out biking on trails, I somehow see minimal nature, but was lucky to see a good sized Deer crossing the trail in front of me coming from the beach.
Any of you new to biking, or at least new to doing trails in FL, be aware that the breeze is minimum in the woods of Florida. It can get hot and sticky and some of the biting insects can start following you. Even if there are water fountains available, you would be smart to carry extra water and have bug spray handy if it is not on you before you go. Other reviewers can tell yo all about the camping experience, but I wanted to make sure those of us who are looking out for new hike/bike trails knew about this gem. I have lived here for years, and never checked this out and was sorry that I hadn't gone until now. I do plan to go again. Hope you have a great time as well.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank maxona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Panama City, Florida
Level Contributor
193 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Still not roughing it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2013

We have stayed here before, some time ago, in a different camper. This time, we were coming kind of last minute, and I only had a few spots to choose from. I apparently chose wisely, because our spot was great, and the short trip was excellent!

Since the last time we stayed here, they have added a new entrance and ranger station, making the entrance into the park a much nicer, less cramped, and less stressful experience.

Each of the campsites are concrete pads, and because we have a travel trailer, all of the ones that I was looking at had full hookups (water, sewer, electric, and cable tv). Everything worked as advertised, including the cable TV. The pad at our site (#50) was level, and there was plenty of space for our trailer and tow vehicle.

We were kind of in the middle of everything. The pool, camp store, fishing ponds, and two bath houses were a short walk away, and the laundromat was across the street. The shaded, well kept lawns were great, and there was lots of room for kids to play (and dogs to be walked).

I didn't go down to the beach, but I did visit the pool area with my son. It is a very nice pool, well maintained, and clean. The ponds have fish and turtles. One of our party, a 3 year old girl, caught two small fish and one large turtle on a cane pole from one of the ponds.

We really like this park - it's always clean and well kept, and the rangers and staff are very nice. Case in point: We'd arrived on a Friday for a two night stay, leaving on Sunday. On Saturday midday, the ranger came by and informed us we were scheduled to leave that day. I looked up my receipt confirmation in my email, and saw that, through some kind of snafu, the system set me up for coming in on Thursday, and leaving on Saturday. I'd surely paid for two days, but it had signed me up for the wrong two days! It was ultimately my fault, for not checking over the confirmation email more closely. I called ReserveAmerica to see what they could do for me, but since we'd already started our stay, they couldn't do anything. They suggested I talk to the rangers at the station, which is what I did. They were very accommodating and helped us out, making our trip excellent.

The only downside I would say for this park is the price. While almost all of Florida State Parks have a nightly camping rate of $20 or so per night, this one is $42 per night. I'm not saying it's not worth it (if it weren't, I wouldn't stay here), but it is a little steep. Full hookups, the pool, the concrete pads, and the tram to the beach all make it worth the price, but $42 per day adds up pretty quickly. As a result, we do not stay here often, but we do always enjoy it when we do.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank tfuder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Clean, friendly, relaxing park”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 6, 2013

This was our first trip in our new RV. The sites were easy to access and hookups were well located. The park was full but quiet and everyone was friendly. The only drawback was if your not up for a hike to the beach or you don't have a bicycle, you are tied to the tram schedule to get to and from the beach. It runs at the top of every hour. But over all a great park. We would definitely stay there again!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Turner453
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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