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  1. #1

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    Florida Pan Handle Riders, advice or tips?

    Hello all, I'm new here. Picking up my 2015 VXR on May 8th and heading down to Ft Walton\Destin the 10th-17th. I have never owned a PWC, or operated a boat offshore. I have ridden a couple of skis and owned a Skeeter Bass Boat. Anyways, any state specific safety equipment, rules, or recommendations I need to be aware of? Do I need anything extra to operate offshore that wouldn't be required inland? Locals, I'd love some ride advice, cool places to check out, etc? Thanks


  2. #2
    Choctawhatchee (sp?) bay rules. Watch out for Dolphins. Lot's of harmless sharks as well. To be honest the dolphins were scarier than the sharks, cause the sharks are calm, and the dolphins were hyper. I wouldn't swim at night though, and avoid murky water. Blue water is safe as can be. Definately pack a very good anchor, goggles, snorkle, and flipper. It's nice to get off the ski or in my case, it was a little boat.

    When i had to work there on weekday, they'd get me a hotel near Destin beach for the whole week, but rather than drive back to my hotel every night I'd primitive camp for free on the north side of the bay. Plenty of little sandy parks to pull into for the night. I want to say it was the Fort Rucker rec area, but I don't remember for sure. There's a few of them over there. Nothing more than a sand dirt road in the woods, with 4x4 I could pull up and camp right next to the bay with the entire park (forest) to myself. Get an early start the next day, still salty from swimming in the ocean. Then get back to my hotel every other day for a shower. Stunk that the company paid for a hotel that I was hardly ever at, but what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them.

    Mcguires (sp?) is the only restaurant worth eating at within 500 miles of that place. Every other place was food poisening and a butt rash. lucky for us, McG's is one of the best, simpple relaxing dinners in Florida. You have to go all the way to Key West to beat it. Get the filet if they don't have any smoked Prime rib available. I'd pass Mc'G's and park at/on Destin Beach at night. Then just walk a half mile back. Don't pull a trailer or truck into Mc'G's parking lot. Restaurant is huge, no waiting ever. But the lot is tiny. And Florida people can't drive for $%^&, Let alone tourists in ding happy rental cars.

    I'll let someone still local chime in on the laws of the water, as I don't know them. I was snorkling and kayaking out. The time I spent on a Seadoo jet boat, I was just a guest, not a pilot, and wasn't paying attention to such things. And stay off the Fort Walton beach peoples radars. They're grade A jerkoffs of the highest order. DOT, police, ALL of them. Make sure you look responsible with all the licenseing and everything. Don't look like a kid or squid about on the ski within sight of anyone.

    I'd pony up some cash and take as many jetski tours as you can to get the lay of the land on a rental first. And they'll take you to the best snorkling spots. The tours take you to the safe spots, on the tour just ask the guides for any tips of the more risky spots. And return on you own ski your next trip out. The rentals are hardly any more expensive the maintenance and wear and tear on your ski. So don't waste time going incircles to find the good spots. Cheat, and hit a few tours. Don't let on that your a good experienced rider. It's fun to pretend were newbs. People in that area are notoriously cheap bastards, so you should be able to find that being a tourist for a while is cheaper than you think. I never asked the guide where the public ramps were though. Sorry.

    I think we stuck to the bays. The open water was a desert of boring. Even the southernmost beaches were lifeless. Unless there a reef or dive spot out there I missed out on?

    Some of the hotels in the area were cool about me backing into one parking spot, bumping my trailer over the curb and into the grass. Just pick a spot where you can pull straight out to leave. Theft wasn't a worry while I was there, which seemed odd.

    If you also hike. A week backpacking through the Egland Air Force basesection of the Florida trail is priceless. Don't miss that. And it's easy soft terrain. Stop every hour to rotate socks. And take advantage of every clear fresh water river. I went ultra light. 15 pounds.

    http://www.beachhunter.net/florida-s...east-jetty.htm

    http://www.floridaadventuring.com/destin-jetties.html

    Oh, and high tide. Getting to the good spots during low tide, is no fun.
    Last edited by Buliwyf; 05-01-2015 at 03:49 AM.

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  4. #3

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    The north east side of the bay was totally deserted last summer when we went. No boats or skis within sight. The FUZZ loves my brothers boat. Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #4
    83Gator's Avatar
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    Plenty of trails to ride in the Pan Handle: http://pwctrailfinder.com/ Click "Find a Trail", "I Agree", then "Florida"...

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