As I started my morning bike ride from from a parking lot near Portifino on Pensacola Beach, I realized the bike path ends after approximately three miles. This road from Pensacola Beach to Navarre Beach is on a very narrow stretch of land that has often been destroyed by hurricanes. While the path was not completely rebuilt after the multitude of hurricanes it went through, the road was rebuilt with bikers in mind. The road is marked for bikers and makes a smooth, safe ride.
Right about the time I was ready to head back, I discovered I was at the Opal Beach area of Gulf Islands National Seashore. It is well worth all the hard work people have put in to it’s rebuilding. Bathroom facilities are ready with showers and there are multitudes of covered picnic tables.
Opal Beach is another home to our white sands. And, while you won’t see many sand dunes here, there is a beauty here all it’s own. With parking close to the water and the beach now more level, it is a near effortless walk to the clear, blue water of the Gulf of Mexico-a great place to bring your kayak.
I finished my ride back to my car along the dunes and sea grasses and then returned to Opal Beach for a swim.
To my surprise, there were lots of fish all around. And, they were not the mullet I usually enjoy watching jump. I happened to get nibbled a few times by a school of what look like small Pompano.
The Opal Beach area of Gulf Islands National Seashore is the next place I would like to go with my family. A Sunday afternoon dinner under the covered picnic areas along with swimming, surfing or kayaking would make a great time. If you are looking for a place to relax away from the crowds or would just like to explore somewhere new, this is the place to be. An annual pass is only $25. The pass will also get you into Ft. Pickens and Johnson Beach State Park.
School of Pompano you may see while swimming