Activities

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St Joseph - Accessible Amenities

T.H Stone Memorial - St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is committed to providing a variety of accessible amenities for visitors. 

Those amenities include:

 

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St Joseph - Amphitheater

A campfire circle is located in the Shady Pines camping area and is available for campers to gather. Nature programs are scheduled during the winter months or may be scheduled upon request.

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St Joseph - Beaches

In 2002, St. Joseph Peninsula State Park was named #1 beach in the nation by Dr. Beach. Once rated number one, it will not be rated again but remains on the list of top-rated beaches. The park offers 10 miles of white sandy beaches and some of the tallest sand dunes in the state. Swimming, fishing, shelling, snorkeling and just relaxing on the beach are the most popular activities. Sea turtle and shorebirds nest on the beach in summer months. Please stay off the dunes and do not disturb sea turtle nests or enter shore bird nesting areas. Pets are not permitted on the beach at the state park but are permitted on public beaches outside of the park. Review our pet policy for more information.

Visitors to coastal parks are reminded to pay close attention to the Warning Flag Signs posted at welcome stations and on the beaches. These flags indicate the swimming conditions at the beach. Double red flags mean absolutely no swimming because of high winds and undertow currents; yellow means swim with caution and stay close to shore; green means that the waters are safe; purple means that marine pests are present.

The park has an accessible route to the beach and also offers a beach wheelchair and an electric mobility device to access the beach. These amenities are offered first-come, first-served.  Arrangements for use of these devices can be made at the Ranger Station or by calling (850) 227-1327.

Please use caution! Lifeguards are not provided.

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St Joseph - Bicycling

Bicycles are welcome at the park. The park has nearly four miles of paved road that can be shared with other motorists. Just outside the park, there is a 10-mile bike trail that borders County Road 30E. Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.

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St Joseph - Birding

St. Joseph Peninsula is an excellent location to bird watch. Numerous species of wading birds, shorebirds, migratory birds and birds of prey live or spend time at the park during their migration north and south. The park is documented as the most productive shorebird nesting beach in the panhandle of Florida.

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St Joseph - Boat Ramp

A paved ramp and deep water access can accommodate most trailered vessels. The park has a marina basin that has limited space. Only vessels of registered campers and cabin guests are permitted to leave boats in the marina basin overnight. Accessible picnic area, route to the beach, cold water outdoor rinse station, fish cleaning station and restrooms can also be found near the boat ramp. Parking is limited, and a $5 fee (in addition to the general park admission fee) is required to launch your boat at the park.

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St Joseph - Boating

Boating is a popular activity at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. The clear water of St. Joseph Bay, the deep water access from the park, great fishing, snorkeling and easy access to off shore reefs and fishing attracts a large boating crowd. Knowledge of local waters is required. Please be cautious of changing tides and water depth and do not damage seagrass or other sensitive marine habitat. The park provides an accessible route around the marina basin, to the restrooms, concession, fish cleaning station, rinse / shower station and beach.

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St Joseph - Cabins

The park offers seven cabins that overlook St. Joseph Bay. Each cabin can accommodate up to six people. The cabins are furnished with two queen-sized beds, a futon and a day bed. Cabins are equipped with an electric fireplace insert, central heating and cooling, kitchen with basic cooking and dining utensils, screened in porch and outdoor grill. Linens, pillows, blankets and towels are provided. Linens are not refreshed daily. Television and telephones are not provided in the cabins and keep in mind that cell phone reception is extremely limited.

Cabin #4 is a designated accessible cabin, but is available to all.

Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287. Pets are not permitted in cabins.

There is a minimum two-night stay in cabins on weekends and holidays, either Friday and Saturday night, or Saturday and Sunday nights. A single Friday or Saturday night may be reserved only if the following Saturday or Sunday night is already reserved.

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St Joseph - Camping Full Facility

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park offers two separate camping areas with a total of 119 sites. Gulf Breeze and Shady Pines camp areas are both located just a short walk from the beach. Shady Pines is appropriately named and most sites offer more shade than those at Gulf Breeze. Pets are welcome in the campground, but they must be on a leash at all times and other pet rules apply. Limited 30 amp electric, water, a picnic table, and fire ring is provided at each site. A central dump station is provided for RV waste. Restrooms and showers are located at each camping area.

Some of the sites can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet, but most sites are smaller and limit the size of camping unit. The park offers 12 paved sites that have accessible routes to restroom facilities. Call the park for information about specific campsites.

Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.

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St Joseph - Camping Primitive

Primitive camping is allowed in the Wilderness Preserve for a maximum of 14 nights at $5/person, per night. No facilities are available, so campers must bring their own supplies. Campers are required to carry in and carry out all items, including trash. Pets, alcohol and collection of wood is prohibited. Fires are permitted in provided fire rings only and fire wood is sold at the park office.

There are seven designated sites and each site is limited to five people. Due to the sensitive ecosystem in the Wilderness Preserve, camping is restricted to designated sites only. Reservations may be made up to 60 days in advance by contacting the park at (850) 227-1327. Campers must arrive at least two hours prior to sunset to register for primitive camping and must check out upon departure. Camping permit or permit for day access to the wilderness preserve must be obtained at the ranger station prior to entering the area.

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St Joseph - Camping Youth

The youth camping area is available to organized youth groups of up to 30. Adult supervisors must remain with the youth at all times. Check in and checkout time is at 1 pm, EST. Restrooms, cold water showers, picnic tables and a fire ring are provided. Reservations for the youth camp may be made up to  60 days in advance by calling the park at (850) 227-1327.

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St Joseph - Canoe Kayak Launch

There are several locations to launch a canoe or kayak at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. You can put your canoe or kayak into the bay along the shore at Eagle harbor or utilize the boat ramp area. Across from the Harbor is a ramped access to the beach making it easy to launch into the Gulf of Mexico. The Bay View picnic area is also a very popular canoe and kayak launch area.

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St Joseph - Canoeing and Kayaking

Canoeing and Kayaking are popular activities at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. You may carry your vessel and launch from the beach, conditions permitting; or you can launch into the bay at the ramp area, Bay View picnic area or any other designated Bayshore access area. There are plenty of clear shallow water areas that make St. Joseph Bay idea for canoe or kayak.

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St Joseph - Concession and Restaurant

The Scallop Cove II concession is accessible to all and offers food, snacks, drinks, groceries, beach supplies, boating and fishing supplies, camping supplies and beach rentals. They also rent kayaks, canoes and bicycles. Contact park office for hours of operation or other information.

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St Joseph - Fishing

Fish caught in the waters around the park include speckled trout, red drum, flounder, mullet, bluefish, whiting and shark. Spear fishing is not permitted in the park. Scalloping is an extremely popular activity during the summer months.

All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season.  A fishing license may be required.  More information is available at the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.

 

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St Joseph - Hiking Nature Trail

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park offers three different trail experiences: The Maritime Hammock Trail winds through a coastal hammock environment to the shores of St. Joseph Bay. The mile long Bay View Nature Trail passes through maritime oak community, salt marsh, scrub and runs alongside the bay. The Wilderness Preserve Trail is a linear trail that runs seven miles through 1,750 acres of an unspoiled coastal ecosystem and sand pine scrub, permit required. Coastal scrub habitat is rare due to habitat being lost to the development of coastal communities. Obtain a permit at the Ranger Station prior to access. There are no facilities or drinking water available on the seven-mile wilderness trail and there is a carry-in, carry-out policy.  The park offers a beach wheelchair or an electric mobility device for access to the trails within the park on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrangements for the use of these devices are made a the Ranger Station or by calling (850) 227-1327. Plan your hike accordingly.

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St Joseph - Pets

Pets are not allowed on beaches, along the natural shoreline, in picnic shelters, in the restrooms, cabins, primitive group camp or Wilderness area. In the areas where pets are allowed, they must be on a six-foot hand held leash and be well behaved at all times. For more information, see the Official Pet Policy.

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St Joseph - Picnic Pavilion

There is one large picnic pavilion (10 tables) located at Bay View picnic area and two small pavilions. The large pavilion can be reserved for a group of up to 70 people, $35.00 plus tax. Contact the park office for reservations (850-227-1327). In addition to the pavilions located at the Bay View picnic area, there are three small pavilions located in the Eagle Harbor area.

The park provides accessible routes to picnic pavilions and facilities at Bay View picnic area and Eagle Harbor.

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St Joseph - Picnicking

Two accessible picnic areas are provided at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. The Bay View picnic area provides access to the mile-long Bay View Trail, has a large picnic shelter for family gatherings, a large playground, canoe/kayak launch and restrooms. The picnic area at Eagle Harbor provides small picnic shelters, restrooms, boat ramp and access to the beach and bay.

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St Joseph - Playground

There is a large accessible playground located at the Bay View picnic area. A picnic shelter is located nearby where mom or dad can relax and keep an eye on the children.

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St Joseph - Recycling

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park recycles plastic, aluminum, glass and disposable propane canisters.  Recycle bins can be found in all day use areas, campgrounds, and cabins.

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St Joseph - Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving is limited at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park; however there is excellent scuba diving off shore.  The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association has placed several artificial reefs and wrecks off shore just north of the State Park.  There are dive trips offered locally and several captians ready to take you diving on that special spot.

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St Joseph - Shelling

Shelling is a popular activity at St. joseph Peninsula State Park.  With 10 miles of beach and 10 miles of bay shore the shelling oppurtunities are abundant.  Try shelling different times of the year to see different varieties of shells.  Shelling is best at low tide and after storm activity.  Do not take live shells and collect only a few.

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St Joseph - Shower Station

Accessible cold water outdoor rinse stations are available at the beach access areas, Bay View picnic area and near the boat ramp area at Eagle Harbor. Hot showers in the campground are restricted to overnight guests. Use of the shower in the campground may be available for an additional fee. Check at the Ranger Station for special hot shower permit.

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St Joseph - Snorkeling

Snorkelers are drawn to the clear shallow waters of St. Joseph Bay. A visible dive flag is required while snorkeling and you must stay within 25’ of your flag. Collecting live shells or marine life is prohibited. You should be familiar with the regulations of your activity.

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St Joseph - Star Gazing

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is an ideal place to stargaze. The Park is located far away from the bright lights of towns or other development. There are several open areas within the park where stargazers could set up a telescope and share knowledge of the stars with others. You will find the quiet, soft white sands of the beach a wonderful place to lay and gaze into the stars with a companion.

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St Joseph - Swimming

Both the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Bay are excellent places to swim.  The waters are clear and relatively shallow.  There are no lifeguards on duty and you should be familiar with the risk associated with swimming in open water.  Rip tides and marine hazards can cause harm and at times be deadly.   Be sure to take a friend and let others know your plans and it is always best to wear a lifejacket or carry flotation when swimming in open waters.  Be safe and enjoy your swim at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.

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St Joseph - Walking

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is a great place to walk. There are two short nature trails, a seven-mile linear trail to the tip of the peninsula and 10 miles of sugar white sandy beach to walk on. At the park entrance is the start of a 10-mile bicycle/walking trail maintained by Gulf County.

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St Joseph - Weddings

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is a lovely place to have your wedding. The most popular location is beach side at sunset. Planning your wedding in the morning Eagle Harbor and Bay View picnic area would be a great place with the sun rising over the bay. The park is ideally positioned facing the sunset on the beach side and the sunrise on the bay side. For information and fees for weddings at the park, contact the park office at (850) 227-1327.

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St Joseph - Wildlife Viewing

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park offers an excellent opportunity to observe wildlife. Deer are commonly viewed along the park drive. Bobcat, fox, otter, raccoon, squirrels, opossum, coyote and armadillo are just a few animals you may get a chance to see. Shore birds and wading birds rest, nest and feed at the park. Sea turtles come onto the beach during the summer to lay their eggs. In the fall and spring the park is a much needed stop for migrating birds and butterflies. The park is one of the many stops listed on the Florida Birding Trail.