St. Andrews State Park in Florida offers white sandy beaches, fascinating wildlife, crystal-clear blue waters, and plenty of outdoor activities to keep the whole family busy. The park is located on a beautiful peninsula and is made up of 1,260 protected acres. It’s an ideal location to get away from the rat race of the city, but is still close enough to local attractions and city amenities.
(Image credit: Bob Therina)
The park provides visitors with more than 2.5 miles of beaches along with numerous sand dunes, salt marshes, and pine woods, to explore and enjoy. You will find several shallow jetties along the beaches that are ideal as wading areas for youngsters. They are also perfect for fishing and snorkelling. If you head a little further down the beach you’ll hit a pavilion which is a perfect spot for watching the amazing sunsets and checking out the passing boats.
Shell Island is located close to St. Andrews. In fact, it’s just over the channel. The island is named after the many fabulous sea shells that are found along its shoreline. You can get to the island from the park by a local shuttle boat. It’s a superb barrier island to explore and is about 700 acres in size and is more or less still unspoiled and undeveloped.
If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you’ll be glad to know there are two separate fishing piers in St. Andrews State Park. One of them is on the bay on the Grand Lagoon, with the other one hanging over and into the splendid Gulf of Mexico. If you’ve got a boat you’d like to launch you’ll be able to use the park’s two-sided concrete launch, which is ideal for boats of just about any size.
Hikers can get a good workout and enjoy the local scenery by checking out the park’s two nature trails. One of the hiking trails takes you alongside Gator Lake. The lake is named after the alligators that live there and you’ll also be able to see several types of nesting birds. Over on the Heron Pond Trail you’ll be able to check out a turpentine mill as well as the beautiful pine flatwoods.
You can also explore this magnificent park by taking along a bicycle. This is because there are a couple miles of paved roads for cyclists. This mode of transportation will enable you to get some good exercise as you explore everything it has to offer. If you’d like to engage in some bird watching you should head over to the Button Marsh Overlook. This is where you’ll be able to get a close up view of several different species. You’ll also be able to see deer and a host of smaller animals. There are a few protected and endangered species living in the park too, such as beach mice, loggerhead sea turtles, and manatees.
If camping is your thing, there is a campground in the park which consists of 176 sites. All of them feature electric hook-ups, water, and cooking grills. A lot of them are just a hop, skip and a jump away from the water. The park is also home to four bathhouses, eight pavilions, three picnic areas, two playgrounds and three stores. If you’d like to learn about the wildlife and history of St. Andrews State Park you’ll find that the visitor’s center has quite a bit of information on hand.
The park is located in the region of Panama City, and it’s easy to see why it attracts more than a million visitors each year.