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Pensacola, Fla - Gator Mate Country


Well-known member
Guys, we're planning a getaway this coming weekend, Fri-Sun May 8th-10th to Florida. Mamma got a bad case if the "I wants" for some sun and sand and Florida just might be the only answer. I know, I know, it's Mother's Day and all, but that's just it. You see, Julie's mom just passed Monday last week and she doesn't need to be around town here next weekend. The beach is her favorite place to be and so I'm going to take her and try my best to keep her mind occupied with Mojitos under an umbrella.

Anyway, we're heading down to stay on the back bay side of Santa Rosa Island. We'd like to take the boat with us, but are completey unfamiliar with the waterways on the "soundside" of the island and have no idea what it has to offer to boaters.

Alternatley, and I do mean "alternately", she'd like to ride the bike down there so we could cruise the beach front.

Now.. That Checkate is her first choice, but like I metioned. I'm unfamiliar and am a bit concerned with navigating unfamiliar waterways. Does anyone from the area have any ideas, info, or suggestions for us if we pull the Exciter down with us for the weekend? The place we are going to be staying has a beach and dock facitlities for boats. Not sure about a luanch, but I know one is close by at least. We'll be picking the boat up at night for a freashwater bath, of course.

Additionally, if anyone wants to meet up with us and show us around the waters, beer we'll be on us....:cheers:
I'm just down the road in Panama City... are you staying in Pensacola or on Santa Rosa island? Just lemme know the resort and I'll be able to find it. Anyway, I have yet to navigate the waters west of Destin, but find the waterways to be well marked. A wise man would grab a local waterway map for $20 to be on the safe side, but IF I'm not working that weekend I'd love to come over saturday and hang out. There's an extremely popular place called CRAB ISLAND ( www.crabislandonline.com ) just in the chocatahachee? bay. Great place to toss an anchor and drink some beer. Man, if you're not set on Santa Rosa island come stay in Panama City Beach and we can cruise over there... it's about 60 miles one way either taking the ditch (intercoastal wwy) or the big water depending on the wind. Anything 10MPH or better out of the south and the big water sucks, the bay gets pretty damn choppy too. Beer gets all shook up n stuff. Lemme know what your plans are, I should know tomorrow if work this wknd at all.
BK, we've got a hookup at a place on the water on Santa Rosa. The dock/beach for the boat and it's proximity to the pool/bar are renoun within our familys so that is our first choice of accomodations. Plus it's a little closer than the Destin, Pananma City area since we're just coming over for the weekend.

Googd advice about a waterways map. I'll have to locate one Saturday morning before launching.

I would like to make that crab island run sometime, though. I heard and read a little about it through the years. There's got to be something in the Pensacola area where lots of boaters get together on the weekends, too, I would think.
And watch out for alligators!

They don't worry me too much except when marsh fishing in my kayak. I've scared up 3 off the bank so far this year paddling through skinny little trenasses chasing redfish. One that was 10'-12' that dove off the bank not 15' in front of me and dissappeared into the murky water just a few weeks ago. Now THAT one kind of bothered me.
ttt. Still looking for good ideas on what to do, where to go, etc. as far as boating on the sound side of Pensacola Beach. Any good places to eat on the water? Good bayous to ride? Party spots, sandbars full of party people???? :devil:

We're trying to pack alot into a couple of days. We're contemplating bringing our kayaks to fish the flats and docks under the lights on the sound side Friday night, Saturday a.m., Saturday night and maybe even Sunday morning before checkout. Looks like Saturday late morning afternoon will be boating time. We'd like to take a lunch crusie somewhere Saturday.

Oh, we're planning on visiting the Naval Aviation Museum on the way out. It's in Pensacola, home of the Blue Angels and an incredible bevy of aviation history. I've been before, but Julie has not. That will cap our weekend off.

Hopefully we'l come home with alot of new memories, a good tan, some fish, and maybe even a good hangover...:thumb:
We had a blast in Pensacola thanks to alot of good advice. Thought I'd share some pics from the weekend here. Sure wished we could have met some Gator Mates while down there, but we will be back again this summer, for sure.

The only downside is that we only had the weekend to hing out. The place we stayed was right on the backside (soundside) of Santa Rosa Island, which is a barrier island off the florida coast. The beach was mere steps away form our door where we conveniently kept our kayaks. They had a 150' dock to tie the boat up to, as well. Also, the bar and grill was right out in front of our room and actually had really good food. They also had live music both Friday and Saturday nights right there on the beach. It was the kind of place that alot of people come to via boat at night to listen to the bands.

We took a boat ride about 12 miles to the west and found a cove where alot of locals gather. Accessible by boat only, of course. It was at a beach where the remains of Fort McRea are loctaed. We beached up and took a walk around the fort. This was very cool. Great veiws of the surrounding area, too. Guess that's why it was chosen as a gun emplacement. Fort Pickens, a Civil War era fort was across the sound from Fort Mcrea. We did not stop and check it out even though we passed it up on the way to Fort McRea. We'll definately have to catch it next time as it is alot more in tact than was Fort McRea.

We visited the National Museum of Naval Aviation on the way home. That was my 3rd visit there and I still have not seen everything. I will admit that the Imax theatre presentation we watched this trip took up most of our touring time at the museum this trip. If you are ever in this area, do not miss out on this experience.
We took alot of pictures. Most of which I don't think I should post here... My best friend and his wife of 22 years were supposed to go with us for their anniversary, but their kids put a stop to their weekend plans. Imagine that. 22 years of marriage and still dealing with youngins'. Lol. Weekend.. Jees, I could have stayed for a month and I'm not the "beach Bum" in the family. I had to drag Julie away from there.

Anyway, we'd have had alot more pics to show had we had more photographers along. It's just wasn't a priority. Taking pic, that is. I think we got some good ones to remember the journey though. I think our favorite was finding a secluded beach with no sign of life for miles :sssh:

LOOKS GREAT!Thats the way I use to do it.Never leave home with out the mate.And its nice to see that those hinges went to such a nice resto job! jeff:surf:
LOOKS GREAT!Thats the way I use to do it.Never leave home with out the mate.And its nice to see that those hinges went to such a nice resto job! jeff:surf:

Haha! Of all things and all people, I would have never expected YOU to comment on the hinges of all things!! I was thinking about Sue..er I mean you as I was selceting pics to post..lol!
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Haha! Of all things and all people, I would have never expected YOU to comment on the hinges of all things!! I was thinking about Sue..er I mean you as I was selceting pics to post..lol!
Its the new me!With all the hostilities going around this place anymore. I'm just tring to keep it PC.(lol yea right)But if you insist,Sure is nice to find a secluded beach at least once while on vaca!:bounce::banana::p