Experiences & Amenities
Park Status After Hurricane Michael
The park suffered significant damage from Hurricane Michael, including a breach that connected the Gulf to the Bay severing the park just north of the boat ramp in the Eagle Harbor area. Roads, utilities and several facilities were destroyed and are not accessible. It will be some time before camping or cabins are available. Visitors wishing to camp or stay in a cabin should make arrangements at another park.
The southern end of the park opened on January 19, 2019 for day use beach access and the boat ramp is open as well. There is limited space for parking for visitors. The concession opened May 1, 2019.
For more information, contact the park office at 850-227-1327.
Bicycles are welcome at the park. The park has over two 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.
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.
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.
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. There are plenty of clear shallow water areas that make St. Joseph Bay idea for canoe or kayak.
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.
The picnic area at Eagle Harbor provides small picnic shelters, restrooms, boat ramp and access to the beach and bay.
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 park. There are dive trips offered locally and several captains ready to take you diving on that special spot.
Shelling is a popular activity at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. With both Gulf and St Joseph Bay beach access the shelling opportunities 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.
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.
Both the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Bay are excellent places to swim and 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.
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 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.
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.
T.H Stone Memorial - St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is committed to providing a variety of accessible amenities for visitors:
- Beach wheelchairs and an electric mobility device
- Outdoor shower / rinse stations
- Park Concession
- Marina Basin
- Picnic shelter and picnic facilities
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 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.
A paved ramp and deep water access can accommodate most vessels on a trailer. The park has a marina basin that has limited space. 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.
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.
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.
Pets are not allowed on beaches, along the natural shoreline, in picnic shelters, in the restrooms, 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.
Accessible cold water outdoor rinse stations are available at the beach access areas, and near the boat ramp area at Eagle Harbor.