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NW Florida Loop; Emerald Coast, Forgotten Coast; Big Bend

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 523 miles / 841.7 km
  • Ride Time: A Weekend (2 days)
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $39.75
  • State: Florida
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This is a nice, easy trip to see the northwest part of Florida. Follow the Emerald Coast along hwy 98 east out of Destin (Get out quick before being run over by a tourist!) and then on to Panama City. I cut inland to avoid the crowds at the beach. Then turn south to Port St Joe. (I've definitely got to go back there to look around some more; great looking beach and nice little town.) Ride along the 'forgotten coast' (left out of FL tour brochures for the longest time) to Apalachicola. I spent the night here at the Rancho Motel. I wouldn't recommend the Rancho but it was the last vacancy on a busy Independence Day. The Gibson Inn looked like a nice place to stay in town. Papa Joe's oyster bar had some good food but I certainly felt like an outsider. (FYI, they're dedicating a new Veteran's memorial park on the north side of town and will host a Ride on 12 July to celebrate the dedication. They're expecting 700 bikes and riders.)Cross the Apalachicola bay and witness the results of Florida's forestry industry on both sides of the road. Get through Perry and turn southwest on 361 back toward the coastline. I opted to spend the night in Keaton Beach which was making a killing on the start of the Scallop season. The Keaton Marina had clean rooms with functional plumbing. Watch out for monster trucks sporting Georgia plates, pulling big boats overflowing with rods, nets and beer-filled coolers. Also, beware of 4x4 golf carts, whose drivers seem to have no regard for rules of the road, yards, beaches or the safety of children. The 'Hot Dog Stand' at the beach serves full meals on Styrofoam and has no bar. A few miles north of Keaton, I passed the 'Beach Bar' which advertised in the local paper that they have live music and entertainment on the weekends.About 17 miles down the road, you'll come to Steinhatchee. When I rode through early in the morning, I realized I had stopped too early the day before. (I just couldn't pass up the Scallop Swing Fest at Keaton Beach.) Steinhatchee is a bit bigger town with a number of restaurants, taverns and resorts. I'll plan for a stop there on my next trip.After passing the Steinhatchee river, the road brings you back to Hwy 98/19. A turn to the right takes you to St Pete; a left back to Perry. While I wanted to keep heading south, I was forced to turn back toward the panhandle. At Newport, I bore northwest to pick up Hwy 20 through Freeport and back into Niceville.I had three days to kill, so I used all three of them for this ride. The loop could easily be done in two days with plenty of time to stop and see the various sites/towns along the way. If you just wanted to rack up miles, an early start could have you home in one day.It's flat, the roads are straight and, for the most part, were all in good condition. The traffic in Destin and Panama City was miserable but that's nothing new. Once I was past PC, the traffic was light. I was able to run at least 65mph between towns. I only saw one state trooper on the road and a couple county sheriff deputies at Keaton beach.

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Florida. This motorcycle route has 5 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by M20KFlyer in July. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by M20KFlyer

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Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadFlatLight TrafficAverageAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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