Florida Camping – Topsail Hill Preserve

“Yuppie camping” is a phrase that perfectly describes Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.

Don’t get me wrong – every time we decide to camp at a campground versus camp out in the backcountry, we know we’re in for a pretty easy ride. However, we usually don’t expect to be entertained by live music and free cable television, and we certainly don’t expect a tram to take us down to the beach!

I had a mission for this trip: I wanted to test some of our new gear that we’ll be using to backpack up in Alaska. This included packing up our bearproof canister and our new tent into our brand new backpacks.


Still need to work on finding foods that will pack easily into this thing. It’s hard to find good foods that will fit. It’s even more difficult with the lack of bulk foods sections in grocery stores down here.

Everything fit, and it made setting up camp a breeze. Our first camping experience as a couple included a lot of unnecessary gear and food, and it was nice to walk to our campsite with one bag apiece. Each of the tent campsites were set back from where we parked our car. We were pretty secluded from the other campsites, although we were right on the path which led down to the main road. There was a field about a hundred yards down the path where we played fetch with Ellie.

Finally getting used to this whole camping thing. We were also able to let her off the leash and she was SUCH A GOOD GIRL! and stayed in the campsite the whole time.

Finally getting used to this whole camping thing. We were also able to let her off the leash and she was SUCH A GOOD GIRL! and stayed in the campsite the whole time.

The first night we were there really put our gear to the test. There were sustained winds of about 20mph, with gusts up to 30. To make matters worse, we had one heck of a tropical rain storm. Our new Marmot Limelight 4P tent passed this weather test with flying colors. It was no surprise, as our previous Marmot tent (the Limelight 3P, which was sent back to REI for being too small for our needs) held up similarly in strong Texas winds. The only unfortunate thing about the tent was that the design caused some water to pool on the top, which then dripped down my back while I was leaving the tent to take the dog out in the morning. There’s no going back to bed after ice cold water pulls you from the fog of sleepiness.

Wonderful tent! I'd fully recommend it.

Wonderful tent! I’d fully recommend it.

While we were limited to our adventures due too our lovely dog, the few places we could go with Ellie were still fantastic. There are at least 10 miles worth of trails around the park leading to various lakes. The last morning we  were there we woke up around 6:30 and spent about an hour out on the trails before we came across a rather muddy patch. We went back to the main road and walked down to the beach area. Since dogs aren’t allowed on the beach we took a quick bathroom break and went back to camp so we could pack up and head out.

Picture of Campbell Lake, a freshwater coastal dune lake. Photo credit: naturalflorida.blogspot.com

We’d like to try camping here without Ellie so we can visit the beach and maybe play some shuffleboard. Or horseshoes. Or rent a kayak. Or go bicycling. Or swim in their pool. Seriously, folks – yuppie camping. Though what do you expect when it’s right off of 30a?

2 thoughts on “Florida Camping – Topsail Hill Preserve

    • Unfortunately it was all rock for the tent pad in our area, but the rocks were small enough that you wouldn’t feel them when you were sleeping. My husband had a really thin sleeping pad, and you couldn’t feel a thing. I had a 2.5 inch thick air mattress, and it was comfortable. I also wasn’t worried about the air mattress popping or the bottom of the tent getting punctured. It was a great place to camp!

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