It has been a number of years since Joan and I have traveled to the panhandle of Florida and even longer for the area known as “The Hidden Coast”. The areas near the Apalachicola Bay and Ochlockonee Bay is a unique part of Florida that is away from the typical tourist stops found on the east coast or further west along the panhandle. For a couple of weeks, we rediscovered this area and the Holiday Campground, a family owned campground allowing us to experience this very unique part of Florida.
Holiday Campground is located on Highway 98 south of Tallahassee. One of the unique features of the campground is its location on the banks of the Ochlockonee Bay as it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. It has all the necessary amenities to support both big rig to the small pop-up camper including full hook ups, cable and Wi-Fi. A newly remodel bathhouse is available along with a large pool. Cell service was reasonable and we had no issues with calls on Verizon and workable Internet using our AT&T hotspot and Verizon equipped MoFi 4500 cell router.
As often found in most Florida coastal campgrounds, the sites are narrow, but provided space for picnic tables, opened slides for both sides of the 5th wheel and full extension of an awning. But, these spaces shouldn’t be considered a negative for Holiday Campground. The benefit is the sitting area provided at each water front spot behind the RV. Here we had an unobstructed view of Ochlockonee Bay, a fire ring and access to a playground, wide grassy area and a large dock for fishing.
But, one more benefit about this campground’s location on the bay – the sunsets. They are amazing. Every night we have a spectacular show on the west end of the bay. The stunning sunsets paint the clouds, water and edges along the bay every night in an amazing show.
Beaches, shopping, and area restaurants
One thing about The Hidden Coast is the laid back atmosphere. The area has no resemblance to the touristy areas as found in Panama City, Destin, St. Augustine, Dayton and others. The beaches are smaller, located in small residential areas, yet open to the public.
Most of the restaurants we found were full of locals – friendly, offering large portions and reasonable prices. With a few acceptations, the restaurants are located in a simple building and a basic surrounding. We went at Posey’s Up the Steam Room and Porter Island Seafood – simple surroundings, welcoming staff and fresh, delicious seafood.
We splurged one night dining at Angelo’s Seafood. Angelo’s is located within walking distance of the campground and is one of the upper scale restaurants in the area. Menu items vary from simple dishes to the elaborate. We sat with beautiful views of the bay, received very attentive service and a great meal.
Nearby shopping is limited. There is a small bait and tackle shop across the street with the basic essentials. A Dollar General is located 10 minutes north in Panacea. And 20 miles north in Crawfordville, there are major grocery and drug stores along with a Super Walmart.
This was a unique and different experience as compared to previous Florida coastal campgrounds we’ve visited. We found the Hidden Cost of Florida to be friendly, very laid back, offering wonderful seafood, and Holiday Campground is a place we look forward to returning too.
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