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Bicycle touring feed from Val Flo - 04 Dec 2021

Traveller: Val Flo
Original post: Bicycle Travellers / 867256117316509

Hello Just sharing our experience going through Florida state on the Gulf coast up to the forgotten coast, after Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama (then heading to Orlando via the countryside and Ocala national forest). This is part of our 2-year bike trip with our two girls (9 and 10).

With its stunning beaches, and its series of magnificent bays and islands, Florida is a beautiful discovery for us. Yes, Florida is a very developed state, especially on the coasts, so traffic can be heavy sometimes. But on the Gulf coast, it is easy to get away from the traffic, and Florida has also a magnificent nature and numerous and state-of-the-art state parks. We had a wonderful experience.

From Alabama to Pensacola, there is traffic but descent shoulder. Then you should leave the hw 98 and go on the Santa Rosa island on the 399. Go to Fort Pickens state park, it is a beautiful band of sand.

The challenge is to get to the island through the Pensacola bay bridge, which is under construction when we went there (first week of November). The bike path is closed and the road is not allowed to the bikes. But we met locals who cross it anyway using the central emergency lane. From Pensacola there is a side walk on the left of entrance that take you safely there. On the other end you need to cross the road. Just be careful there (we did with kids, so it’s doable). Police tolerates this, we saw several cars on the bridge. If you don’t take the bridge, you have to take a huge detour north (40+ miles).

Santa Rosa island is beautiful. Then you take the hw 98 again on the contient until Fort Walton. The road is loud, not very pleasant, but has a shoulder. Once you are on Okaloosa Island, it is beautiful again and calm. There is a side road after Destin to escape the hw 98.

Topsail hill preserve is amazing and after this park you completely get away from hw 98 for a long time. And hw 98 or not, the road is no longer busy until the end of this part (Ochlokonee bay).

Before Grayton Beach State Park, there is a bridge closed on W county hw 30A. The detour takes you back to the hw 98 for a while. We preferred to take the Longleaf greenway trail. It is swampy (muddy sometimes and even a bit of water…), but we made it, with our girls, their bikes and our load. So It is not too bad.

Panama City is cute, then you have to cross the Tyndal Air Force base… this is very long straight road until Mexico Beach. Time to meditate!! Mexico beach is lovely and it gets even better after.

St Joseph Peninsula State park is closed for camping since the hurricane in 2018. But there is a nice RV park with tent site next to it. We loved St George Island, don’t miss it! You can see the roads on the pics. If you want a more immersive experience, watch our video:

https://youtu.be/Jmy-YhKy2ys

Consider to support us by liking the video and suscribing to our channel. We don’t make any money on them, we use copyrighted music, which disqualifies monetizing them. We like these music and they help transmitting the emotions we felt. Our motivation is to show that these strips are possible for ordinary families. Enjoy!

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