When we first scheduled our Mayo appointments in Jacksonville I knew that on the way I wanted to spend some time along the coastal panhandle region of Florida. Many years ago we took a vacation to Destin, Florida with the kids and my memories lingered of the sugar white sands and emerald green waters of the area.
Once we got nearer to Florida I started watching the weather to make sure no tropical issues were developing over the time period we would be visiting this part of the USA. I also pinpointed St.Andrews State Park as the park I wanted to stay at if possible. As I monitored the state park reservations it became apparent we may not be able to stay more than a couple of days. However, the day before we were heading to Panama City a whole week opened up on the reservation system and I booked it as fast as I could.
As we pulled into the state park it was apparent they had lots of rain in the past as many of the sites were flooded to the point they were unusable. A bit worried as we passed the flooded lowlands of palmettos and pine trees we were very pleased once we we pulled into our pull through site. Most sites in the state park are hard packed sand and grass whereas we scored one of the rare few that had concrete pads. We are on site 19 just across the street from the bay.
There are two campground loops Pine Loop nearer the entrance and Grand Lagoon nearer the beach. The lagoon loop is better suited for larger rigs as the vegetation in the pine loop will likely scape larger rigs while navigating through the loop. The sites are small for state parks but still much larger than most private parks. We can see the bay across the street but don’t have a clear view of the bay. We do enjoy slices of waterfront where we watch the boats zipping back and forth out to the ocean, frolicking dolphins and brown pelicans dive bombing unsuspecting schools of small fish.
We have only water and 50 amp hookups with no sewer however, we are just across the street from one of the four bathroom/shower facilities.The camp hosts keep the restrooms and showers spotlessly clean so all our showers are taken across the street making it very easy for us to last 7 days without having to dump the tanks.
With a nice biking loop within the park and walking and bike access to the beach, the jetties and a fishing pier we feel we would be hard pressed to find a better place for a panhandle coastal stay than here. With the flooding most of the trails were closed but we prefer taking our hikes along the beach anyhow. We were even able to get in some pretty decent snorkeling along the rocky jetties where we saw lots and lots of varied fish. We never got the inflatable kayak out but this is a great spot to do that as well especially along the shipping channel.
Happily we found a great and close coastal bar called Patches with extremely welcoming staff and clientele. We received an invitation for a fish/shrimp/gator fry on Saturday and we are really looking forward to that event!
We will leave this great little spot tomorrow and drive a whopping 39 miles over to the Mexico Beach area where we will spend another week along the coast…