Know Before You Go
Effective May 16, 2022: William J. “Billy Joe” Rish Recreation Area is pleased to expand its operating hours. Beginning Monday, May 16, the park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset, seven days a week.
The William J. "Billy Joe" Rish Recreation Area was named in honor of former Rep. Billy Joe Rish, who served the Eighth District of the the Florida House of Representatives from 1970-1971 and the ninth district from 1972-1978.
Elected to the House in 1970, Rish was an advocate for the development of a safe, outdoor recreational area for visitors with disabilities.
Go. Reubin Askew named the park the William J. "Billy Joe" Rish Recreation Area in June 1978 by signing Chapter 78-458, Laws of Florida.
The 100-acre park features a mile of white sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico, a quarter-mile of coastline on St. Joseph Bay, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and an event hall. In the future, cabins will provide overnight accommodations.
The park was operated by the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities until Nov. 30, 2021. On Dec. 1, 2021, management of the park was passed to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks to join Florida's network of state parks.