Rustic Sands Resort Campground, Mexico Beach, Florida
We arrived at Rustic Sands Resort Campground in Mexico Beach, Florida last Sunday afternoon. I made our reservations at this park last July and was told we would have a pull-through site. At the time I wasn’t sure how long we would stay so the lady suggested I reserve for a month and if we stayed two weeks and two days, that would equal the cost of a month. If we changed our minds and didn’t want to stay that long, we could change our reservation when we got here.
The office was closed on Sunday, but there was a map for us with a site number. Our site was a back in spot in the very back of the park. We are squeezed in with a few other campers like sardines. The wi-fi does not work in our area, and the cable was too fuzzy to watch.
To call this place a resort is a real stretch. The roads are not paved and full of potholes. The sites are grass and sand with a little gravel on some of the sites. It is quite run down. Their standard nightly rate is $44 and it appears none of the money they collect is used to make any improvements to the park. There is a decent looking pool, and a tiki bar behind the office with live entertainment a couple nights a week. Tonight we listened for a little while under a beautiful full moon to Randy and Art, a singer who plays guitar and a saxophone player. They were pretty good. Really, the only redeeming quality this park has is that it is 1/2 mile from the beach. The place is full with what seems to be snowbirds who stay for the season. I honestly can’t imagine spending an entire winter here. We’re not normally real fussy, but this place is not for us.
We really got a kick out of their “mini golf”. There are flags like shown below all along both sides of the main road with a cup in the ground below each flag. I’m assuming you just play along the road from cup to cup. Seriously???
After walking around the park on Sunday and seeing how dumpy it was, we decided to only stay a week, and I got busy finding us a place for next week. On Monday when we went to the office to pay, the lady tried to tell me we would lose our $100 deposit because we were changing our reservation. Remember, she suggested I reserve for a month and said we could change it when we got here. She had that written in her notes as did I. I refused to pay and she backed down quickly. Then she tried to charge me a $10 change fee. I wasn’t paying that either. This is a Passport America park and they don’t have a limit on how many days you can use it. So, we ended up paying $22 per night for 7 nights. This place definitely isn’t worth a penny more.
We have been riding our bikes almost every day to the Mexico Beach fishing pier which is a 5.5 mile round trip. I had read on another blog that they had seen dolphin jumping from the pier, but we never saw any dolphin from the pier. After our walk out onto the pier, we spend an hour walking the beach. One day we did see a fin out in the water. It looked black so I’m not sure if it was a dolphin or a shark.
This part of the Florida panhandle is referred to as the Forgotten Coast. The Destin area is called the Emerald Coast and the reason was obvious with the beautiful color of the water. The water here is not as pretty, but the sand is still very white.
Mexico Beach is a small town. There are not nearly as many tourists, and there is a very relaxed feel to the area. There is one small grocery; the prices were pretty high. Also, a few restaurants and shops. We’ve seen some college kids on the beach, but not too many. The news this week was full of stories of spring break in Panama City Beach, about 25 miles west of us. I’m glad we’re not there. Too many people!
So between the biking and walking, we’ve been averaging around 8 miles of exercise a day. The weather has been pretty nice, so I’ve really enjoyed the beach time here.
This is our first visit to the Florida Panhandle, and I’ve been really surprised by the amount of pine forests in this region. I even saw a couple of bear crossing signs on the highway. Who would have guessed there are bear in Florida. We have some pine trees behind our site, and I really liked how the needles were shimmering when the sun hit them.
On Thursday we drove about 30 miles east to Apalachicola to meet up with our friends Kim and Harland from Nova Scotia. We met up with them in January in Louisiana as they were headed to Arizona. They’re now heading back east so we had another chance to meet up. They tried to get in a campground near us, but everything is booked solid due to spring break.
We spent a few hours at St. George State Park exploring and walking on the beach. We were thrilled to find lots of starfish on the beach, as well as some sand dollars and lots of pretty shells.
I was so busy having a good time I forgot to take pictures with Kim and Harland. We had lunch at a restaurant recommended by some locals called Bayside Seafood Restaurant. I had been wanting to try a shrimp Po'boy, and was very happy with the choice. It was delicious. Kim ordered fried flounder. They brought the whole fish without the head. Her plate was covered. I wish I had taken a picture. It was huge. After lunch we said our goodbyes. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get together again next year.
Last night I walked to the beach to see the sunset. How lucky that the moon was almost full. Behind me was the awesome moon, and in front of me was the gorgeous sunset. Bonus!! Shrubs are beginning to bloom down here. I don’t know what kind of flowers these are, but they are blooming in many yards.
Tomorrow we’re heading about 30 miles north of Destin to Live Oak Landing. I hope it will be much nicer than this place.
Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!