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Old 26-10-2014, 07:13   #1
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Beachcruising

I am looking for suggestions of a good destination to go beachcruising on the Gulf coast in april. Basically my son has made the suggestion that he and i pack up my old Pacific cat 19 beach cat and head south from Minnesota for a little cruising. The idea would be to try to find somewhere warm where we can explore the shoreline and camp on the beach at night but we don't want to be going from campground to campground. I don't mind paying for a permit for a national park but i don't want to pay to camp at commercial campgrounds every night. I don't think we are committed to any particular state but i have done a but of coastal cruising in Florida on an Egret sharpie and a Telstar Trimaran but we could anchor out and sleep on board with those but with the P cat we would need to tent camp like kayaking. Any suggestions appreciated.

Steve.
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Old 26-10-2014, 08:28   #2
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Re: Beachcruising

I'll be interested to know what you find out. Not this year for me, but sometime in the future I'd love to do what you're describing. My experience so far with coastal camping (in the Northeast) is that nearly every square foot of shoreline is staked out, posted, and well-guarded by property owners. Camping is getting harder and harder to do anywhere.

But in Maine, there is the blessed Maine Island Trail, with dozens of islands to camp on. So I thought to look for similar water trails in Florida. Not sure how well any of these would adapt to sailboat use -- they're mostly intended for paddlers -- but here are a couple of links to explore:

Paddling Trails - Florida Paddling Trails Association

Florida Circumnavigation Saltwater Paddling Trail

Good luck!
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Old 26-10-2014, 17:30   #3
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Re: Beachcruising

Just about anywhere long the Florida Panhandle and from Tarpon Springs to Ft. Myers Beach. hundreds of miles of barrier islands. Only a few are State Parks. Chuck
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Old 26-10-2014, 18:56   #4
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Re: Beachcruising

The Mississippi gulf coast has a long string of deserted barrier islands some 6 - 8 miles offshore. They belong to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, some allow overnight stays and some don't. Worth looking into. Ocean Springs is a good place to launch from.
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Old 26-10-2014, 19:22   #5
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Re: Beachcruising

I had read something about those islands in Mississippi and they sound promising, what i had read was that you could camp on most of them so i will look into them.
On the Florida coast are you allowed to camp on the beaches on islands such as Cayo Costa

Steve.
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Old 26-10-2014, 19:33   #6
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Re: Beachcruising

Steve, There are campsite at Cayo Costa. I don't think you can camp on the beach but the campsites are near the beach. Chuck
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Old 29-10-2014, 11:40   #7
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Re: Beachcruising

Definition of warm varies.The water will be cold anywhere on the gulf coast in April. You could try South Texas.Slightly warmer climate and water.

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Old 29-10-2014, 12:03   #8
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Re: Beachcruising

Yes, but in April you won't be sweating your arse off, and maybe the bugs will be a little sluggish too. April can go either way, be warm or still a little winter, but I can assure you July and August will be Africa hot, and you will likely be eaten alive
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Old 29-10-2014, 12:16   #9
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Re: Beachcruising

In April in Texas, the winds tend to be higher, and the air a little chilly, but Minnesotans will find it like a nice early June day.

As far as I know you can camp on the beach with out much hassle. But you'll need a permit to drive a vehicle out on the beach.

There are plenty of free or cheap ramps down here usually maintained by counties along the coast.

If I were you I'd get on I35, head south bear left at San Antonio and head to North Padre Island, lots of beach and plenty of facilities. If you like roughing it go north from South Padre island, more beach and fewer facilities.

Here are some marinas I found in preparation for my Labor Day cruise.

http://www.cactus.org/~tbodine/Sailing/CCPlan/
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Old 29-10-2014, 12:50   #10
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Re: Beachcruising

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Originally Posted by clockwork orange View Post
I had read something about those islands in Mississippi and they sound promising, what i had read was that you could camp on most of them so i will look into them.
On the Florida coast are you allowed to camp on the beaches on islands such as Cayo Costa

Steve.
Steve,

There is a catamaran race to Ship Island off the Mississippi Coast every Memorial Day. Every July 4th there is a race to Horn Island usually anywhere from 20-44 boats. The islands are uninhabited so I'm guessing you can camp there. I've done the races 6 or 8 times. The islands are maybe 12-15 miles off shore. The Ocean Springs Yacht Club sponsors the Races.

Welcome :: Ocean Springs Yacht Club :: Sailing and Social Yacht Club on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

You cannot camp between Destin Pass and Pensacola Pass though on the Gulf side I don't believe (much of it is national park type land) but you can on the inside or Sound Side. At least, I've never seen anyone camped out over there.

Many people camp out near Ft Pickens (for a fee since it's in the Park) or Ft McRee. These two Forts used to guard Pensacola Pass.

Lots of the Monohull crowd (I sailed/raced catamarans the 12 years I was there) anchor in a small cove near/behind where Ft McRee used to stand and get hammered during the warmer months.

And like the guy said above, it seems that the wind is up a bit in April. If it's out of the East and strong, you will have your hands full on a 19' beachcat. The Cobia fishing boats running along the coast are many times dealing with larger waves out of the East. The guys in the towers are having quite the ride.

Also, if it's windy and out of the south at all and you are camped out in the open on the Gulf side, the sand will get into every nook and cranny.

Tom
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Old 29-10-2014, 13:36   #11
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Re: Beachcruising

Like spraygun suggests, start with South Texas.

The Texas Gulf Coast has hundreds of miles of both Gulf and bayside shoreline, most of it accessible and fairly uncrowded (avoid SPI, etc., during Spring Break in March, unless you like that kind of show). I've spent most of a lifetime trying to see it, and nowhere near done.
There are lots of public access points for your logistics support land vehicle and trailer, lots of pay ones too (pay attention to security a little though).
From Boca Chica to Bolivar, lots to see and do.

I'm partial to South Padre Island and the Laguna Madre, had a Hobie Cat in those waters for years; good, all weather and season sailing, and you rarely lack for wind. The prevailing winds are from the SE, onshore, except for the occasional fronts, when it shifts to the N'erly directions.
As far as "warm", we sailed around SPI year-round, the water got a little chilly in Jan-Mar (just needed a fairly dry jacket, still shorts/suit/bareleg sailing most days). But by April it was A-OK, by September you could poach an egg in it.

The Coastal Bend centered on Corpus Christi/Port Aransas might suit y'all too. Numerous bays, the Gulf, and ICW to travel around, and not quite as far to drive all the way down to the Rio Grande Valley.

There once was a long distance two day catamaran regatta (mostly Hobies, The Ruff Rider Regatta) held every Labor Day weekend from (first ones) Port Isabel (then from SPI bayside) that went up the ICW to end at Snoopy's dock on North Padre Island at the JFK Causeway, about 120 miles.

Sort of related, starting in late 2015 or 2016 we'll be able to watch rocket launches from near Boca Chica/SPI.
SpaceX has recently gone ahead and started construction on a new launch complex a couple miles back from Boca Chica Beach. They are planning all kinds of vehicle launches, including 'heavies' and manned launches eventually.
This is a BFD indeed!
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Old 29-10-2014, 16:39   #12
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Re: Beachcruising

Head due south directly down through Mobile to Pensacola, then find I-110 to cross the bay bridge into Gulf Breeze then Hwy 98 to Navarre Beach, final destination is Juana's Pagoda on Navarre Beach. Heaven on earth is what you'll experience as the Santa Rosa Sound is huge and protected with miles of un developed white sand dunes out on the barrier island surrounded by an emerald green sea.
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Old 29-10-2014, 17:01   #13
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Re: Beachcruising

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Originally Posted by RKsailsolo View Post
Head due south directly down through Mobile to Pensacola, then find I-110 to cross the bay bridge into Gulf Breeze then Hwy 98 to Navarre Beach, final destination is Juana's Pagoda on Navarre Beach. Heaven on earth is what you'll experience as the Santa Rosa Sound is huge and protected with miles of un developed white sand dunes out on the barrier island surrounded by an emerald green sea.

This could be a good idea for April. If it's really windy you will be fine in the sound and can sail over to Pensacola or Ft Walton Beach depending on the wind. I don't think you can camp at Juana's though.

Ft Pickens is really nice and protected. From there you can sail to Juana's or toward Alabama and maybe end up on the Redneck Riviera near Flor-Bama. It's on the line between the states. They have bathtubs in the head for urination. Major redneck happenings going on.

http://www.florabama.com/

Juana's also has a catamaran race, but it's in September. It can draw as many as 50-70 boats. I think I did it first in 1997 on a Hobie 16 , Nacra 6.0 in 2000, and Nacra F-17 singlehanded with spinnaker in 2002-4. It's called the Juana's Good Time Regatta which means avoid the drunken sailors at the start line. It's a distance race maybe 30 miles to Pensacola and back. You can usually finish in 3-4 hours or less.

http://www.juanaspagodas.com/

http://www.thebeachcats.com/pictures?g2_itemId=110500
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Old 29-10-2014, 18:12   #14
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Re: Beachcruising

Can't offer any more advice, but I'm envious of your boat!

Always had a soft spot for the P Cat.
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Old 30-10-2014, 11:31   #15
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Re: Beachcruising

Poster wants warm and coast exploration. From Corpus Christi to Brownsville. That could keep you busy and remote if wanted, for at least a month.Also some of the finest shelling beaches in the world.Great weather that time of year.

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