St. Andrews State Park has over 1.5 miles of beautiful white sand beaches. It’s a wonderful place for walking on the beach, or to put down a towel and soak in the sun. St. Andrews State Park was recognized as one of America’s best beaches by Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman. The sand and water come together to form a stunning panorama, and the dunes here are some of the best-preserved in the world.
Visitors can enjoy easy access to the mainland beach from two different parking areas. Take the ferry or paddle to Shell Island during spring and summer to experience a completely secluded and undeveloped slice of TheReal Florida. Boardwalks provide easy access to the mainland beaches while keeping the delicate dune ecosystem intact. For visitors with children, the “kiddie pool” lagoon offers a great saltwater swimming area with clear, shallow water.
This park protects one of the largest areas of untouched barrier island in the Florida Panhandle. Barrier islands are formed by waves and tides, and they play an important role in protecting the coastline during storms.
There are many opportunities for photographers and birdwatchers to catch sight of some of Florida’s rarer birds and wildlife. Several rare and imperiled species live on and around the park’s beaches. Visitors may see some beautiful shorebirds, such as snowy plovers and least terns. The elusive and imperiled Choctawhatchee beach mouse makes its home in the park’s dunes. The beach here is also a great place for mother sea turtles to make their nests.