Looking to the Future

One of eight cabins that will be available in the future for overnight accommodations.

On Oct. 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle coast, leaving destruction in its path. The amenities at William J. “Billy Joe” Rish Recreation Area sustained significant impacts. Boardwalks were damaged, facilities were flooded with saltwater, and trees were uprooted or snapped in half like twigs. The staff at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities started assessing the damage and making repairs.

On Dec. 1, 2021, William J. “Billy Joe” Rish Recreation Area was transferred to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks. As a park built to provide recreational experiences for persons with disabilities, the experiences and amenities available at this park will receive the same attention given to experiences and amenities in other state parks.

From the park's opening day on Jan. 28, 2022, visitors have been invited to enjoy the 1-mile-long, white sand beach and explore the limited exhibits in the visitor center. A tunnel is available to help visitors reach St. Joseph Bay to launch their canoes and kayaks. 

We have recently opened an Olympic-size swimming pool with a wheelchair accessible ramp. We are looking forward to opening cabins that will provide overnight accommodations in the future.