Sunrise at Keaton Beach. Perry, Florida
By A. J. Burch
I recently had the opportunity
of spending a weekend at Captains Quarters in Keaton Beach,
owned by old friends Sandra and Joe Hatcher. I was invited for
some desperately needed r&r and was only too happy to be
their guest. My friendship with Sandra goes back about 10 years
when we were into the tourism business Sandra at Keaton
Beach and I in Citrus County.
As I stopped at the two stores to pick up food items for the
weekend, memories began coming back. When I was a kid Keaton
Beach was a special treat for us. The trip out to Keaton was
special too. We loaded up in a Chevy or Ford and played games
on the way. Our favorite was who would see the water first and
shout it out. There was a certain spot back then that we knew
would be the first view. It was just about where Johnny Knights
seafood restaurant once stood. I cant get used to how
Keaton Beach has hanged through the years. The old pavilion being
destroyed pretty much finished the old and brought more of the
new into the area.
I arrived at the Hatchers
and unloaded my truck. You would think I was
going to stay longer than a few days but I did try to keep it
as light as
possible. I loved that place. The Hatchers are no longer at
and I know that they will be missed a lot. The efficiency they
gave me was wonderful. The pictures on the walls depicting scenes of sea
activities were fun and added to the atmosphere of being at
the beach. I
especially liked the motto hanging on the wall, Near the
sea we forget to
count the days. I put on my G. W. flip flops and I went
for a long walk
down at the beach area later that afternoon and watched boats
come in and
go out from the canal.
There were a few people
on the beach and a few out swimming. An older couple were wading
and holding hands. I remember thinking how cute they were. I
looked down and saw the murky mess of seaweed that made a complete
line along the shoreline and just couldnt get myself in
gear to wade through it. When we were kids nothing bothered
us or kept us from going in whether to wade or to swim.
The seaweed mess didnt phase us one bit. As I watched
a boat come out of the canal, I recalled seeing the blasting
when they made that canal. I also love the sound of boats going
out and coming in. When I was a kid I loved those sounds and
still do. There is something soothing about that to me.
Sunday morning I made
it down to the beach area in time to see the sunrise. There
were only a few people down there. I didnt want to disturb
the birds on the waters edge. They were busy with their
morning routine and the tiny ones raced back and forth from
the sand to the water as the bigger birds seemed to be watching
over them. I noticed that it seemed as if when they had finished
their routine they all lined up in a perfect line and just stood
there for awhile, like they were taking a break. Maybe also
enjoying the sunrise. A maintenance man was out there and we
spoke. He told me that he had been working there for quite a
while and he still was just as struck by the
beauty of the place, as he was the first time he saw it. I understood
exactly what he was saying. I worshiped Gods creations
on the beach as
well that Sunday morning.
Later that day back at the apartment, I ate a whole pint of
cream and enjoyed my fast food diet for the weekend very much.
I love the
Hot Dog Stand
the food there is wonderful and the service
is great. The
stores the one at the gas station and the Marina
were well stocked and
employees were very nice. Later that afternoon Sandra knocked
on the door
to let me know that the storm had brought in a waterspout. They
come back from the beach and took photos of it. I remember seeing
things from time to time growing up there in the summertime.
The time slipped away
much too soon and it was time to leave. A most memorable weekend
for me and one to reminiscence about a lot of cool memories
and make some for now. Near the sea we forget to count
Keaton Beach is a year-round destination for visitors. It is
recognized as offering one of the best coastal experiences on
Florida's Gulf Coast. People come from all over to enjoy the
peacefulness of this quaint community and it's friendly laid
Keaton Beach offers opportunities to participate in amateur
sporting events, fishing, hunting, scalloping, bird watching,
boating and rest and relaxation. It also has a beautiful natural
beach, with shaded picnic pavilions, rest rooms, a 700 ft fishing
pier and public boat ramp. We're known for our quiet laid back
atmosphere and beautiful sunsets. Please keep in mind that pets
are not permitted on the beach.
If you've never scalloped, Keaton Beach is the place to do it!
Taylor County is one of only five counties in Florida where
scalloping is still allowed. Scalloping, which begins in July
and ends September 10th, is something the whole family will
love to do. If you plan on visiting during scallop season, please
be aware that because it is such a popular sport, people have
begun to make their reservations in March, due to the limited
number of accommodations at Keaton Beach.
Kayaking is becoming a popular sport in this area because of
all of the small creeks that can't be accessed by larger boats.
Not only are they excellent for fishing, but they allow nature
lovers to enjoy viewing wildlife both in the water and the marsh
areas. Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
has a newly completed Paddling Trail totaling 105 miles, which
takes a total of nine (9) days and eight (8) nights. The FWC
recommends that only sea kayaks be used in the Gulf due to safety
concerns. And always, file a float plan even when kayaking.
For more information on the go to FWC Site click on Paddling
Keaton Beach is located in "The Big Bend" on the Gulf
Coast of Florida, which is part of Taylor County's "Nature
Coast". Keaton Beach is 17 miles south of Perry and 17
miles north of Steinhatchee on CR 361, the "Scenic Coastal
Loop". Taylor County's coastline consists of over 150 miles,
with 90% of it unspoiled and owned by the State of Florida.
The waters of Taylor County have been designated as "Pristine"
by the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. There are 22,000
acres of State Wildlife Management Areas that are available
for hunting, fishing, or wildlife watching in the Keaton Beach
Just down the road (approx. 5 miles) from Keaton Beach you'll
find Hagen's Cove which is also located on the Gulf, which is
State owned and maintained. Here you'll find picnic pavilions,
hiking trails, and an observation tower. Because of the shallow
waters and grass flats, you'll find several species of fish
and birds, horseshoe crabs, and even the occasional eagle. Former
President Jimmy Carter and his wife came to Hagen's Cove to
do some bird watching from the observation tower when they were
in this area a few years ago.
Taylor County Chamber of Commerce