It was our last morning and we were looking at a day of driving to get back home. Alabama had proved a fun weekend and we were hesitant to have it end. We were following our route from the last few day on a map of the Mobile Bay and Brad points to a spot just east of where we are on the map and says “You know, we’re pretty close to the Gulf Islands.” And just like that we changed our route for home to include a detour into the Florida panhandle.
The Gulf Islands are barrier islands in-between the mainland and the Gulf of Mexico. There is one in Mississippi and one in Florida and these islands are parts of the Gulf Island National Seashore. The country has a few seashores such as Gulf Islands that are preserved and maintained by the national park service.
We walked down to the beach through the palm trees and across the sugar soft sand. When we lived in Florida we lived right on the beach of the Atlantic Ocean, but beaches on the Gulf Coast are a completely different experience. The sand seems softer and the water seems more clear and blue.
We walked down along the beach with our feet in the water. The different colors of blue in that Caribbean water were just stunning against the white sand.
Because it is considered part of the national park system, you’re really not suppose to take anything from it. But we couldn’t resist collecting just a few shells from the sand and putting them in a pocket to take home.
We came across a huge tide pool near the beach. The tide had come in this far but when it receded again it left some of the water where it created a small pool. Brad walked next to the tide pool and happened to step on the small strip coming off the pool. All the sudden he was knee deep in sand and struggling to free his leg. These sand traps look like the rest of the beach but are much more fluid. We were glad that it was not Tessa who had found the sand trap because she would have sunk to her shoulders.
We were also glad that it was me and not Tessa that almost stepped on a giant jellyfish in the sand. I was walking along and had turned my head to say something and Brad yells to stop. I looked down and there is a jellyfish the size of a watermelon only a few inches from my foot. Of all the jellyfish we saw this weekend, this one was definitely the largest. This one was more clouded and marbled looking than others we had seen. Between Brad and his sand trap and me with my jellyfish, it made for a pretty eventful walk along an otherwise peaceful beach.
We walked along the beach for awhile, delaying the inevitable long car ride home. The blue sky and the gentle lap of the waves was so beautiful and we probably could have spent the entire day there.
With one final look towards the Gulf we turned back and headed to the car. We had a long drive ahead of us and we would be getting home much later than we thought. But it was all worth it to be able to tell people the next day that we had touched the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida shores of Gulf Islands.
Gulf Islands is a new favorite beach for us to visit, but here are some other favorite beaches.
I’m so glad we took a detour to check out the Florida part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The Gulf of Mexico is just beautiful and offers the best places to enjoy the beach.