We are at the Elks lodge in Navarre, Florida (map). Alas, our plans to spend a couple nights on the beach out on Santa Rosa Island were not to be, although that did not stop us from driving the length of the island. At least it was a pretty drive, and the island was very different from our first visit there back in 2005, not long after a pair of hurricanes wreaked havoc there.
After paying our $1 toll to get on to the island from Gulf Breeze, we noted a number of potential dinner spots before passing out of the developed zone around the causeway. We had entered the coordinates of the supposed overnight spot into the GPS, about five miles east of town, and I had also scoped it out on Google Earth, so we knew right where to turn. As promised, all the other lots were clearly marked "no campers or trailers" right out by the road.
As we turned in to the lot, though, we passed a giant "No RV Parking" sign, the same one I had seen in Google Street View. We did notice a number of spaces that previously had "RV" stenciled on the blacktop, but now painted out with black pavement paint. Apparently, between March and now, the Santa Rosa Island Authority had a change of policy about RV parking here, whereas they had previously allowed stays of up to 48 hours. We parked anyway -- the enormous lot was empty, save for perhaps a half dozen cars and, ironically, a giant fifth wheel -- making us scofflaws, at least for the half hour we spent having lunch, checking their web site, and regrouping.
We continued to the eastern terminus of the road, at the former Navarre Beach State Park, now operated by the county. The state park had a handful of RV sites, but the county did not resurrect those when they rescued the park from its hurricane-ravaged state. It and the two adjacent county park lots were all marked No Overnight Parking. At least we found a recycling bin there that would accept glass (ironically past the "No Glass Bottles" sign at the entrance) and we could get rid of the last of our recycling, now hauled through a half dozen states.
When we crossed north back to the mainland we then had to backtrack six miles to Camping World, where we knew there was a free dump station, the only one we'll see in the entire panhandle. That will give us the flexibility to spend a couple weeks here if we so choose. This Elks lodge was just a half mile or so east of the causeway, and while it is only another 16 miles to Fort Walton Beach, we decided to spend one more free night of dry camping before springing the $10 per night there. We'll head that way in a short while.