Looking for a fantastic beachside RV getaway? If so, look no further than St. Andrews State Park. Located in between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay, St. Andrews State Park is an awesome spot to soak up the summer rays and join in the fun. The park is made up of 1,200-acres and is located in Bay County, Florida, around three miles east of Panama City Beach. The history of the park started when Norwegian sailor Theodore “Teddy” Tollofson shipwrecked on what is now known as St. Andrews State Park during a 1929 hurricane. Instead of trying to find a way out of the area, he liked what he saw and decided to stay and live in his damaged boat for the next 25 years.
The crown jewel in St. Andrews State Park is the pristine two and a half miles of coastline that is located within the park. Here you will find people swimming, snorkeling or surfing the summer days away in the emerald green waters. The park is also a very popular spot for migratory birds and butterflies to stop off for a break with the pines, dunes, and coastal plant communities providing temporary homes.
Along with having a beautiful location, St. Andrews State Park also has an impressive camping ground. Consisting of two loops and featuring easy access to Grand Lagoon, the campground has 123 RV-friendly sites that feature a mixture of 30- and 50-amp electrical connections and water hookups. Reservations for the campground are available up to a year in advance and the peak season at St. Andrews State Park is during the summertime.
St. Andrews State Park is located in western Florida within Bay County. There is one entrance and exit to the park that can be accessed via three smaller roads that are all connected to Front Beach Road. This road is very easy to find as it is one of the main roads in Panama City Beach, which is the closest town to the park. Other towns that are located nearby include Panama City (around 11 miles away), Laguna Beach (around 14 and a half miles away) and Seaside (around 35 miles away). The closest major city to St. Andrews State Park is Tallahassee, which can be found 107 miles to the east.
You should have no difficulty navigating the terrain on your journey to the park as all the roads are flat and paved, including the roads inside the park. There are also no overhanging trees that could damage larger RVs. St. Andrews State Park however is prone to hurricanes and the park was damaged by Hurricane Michael. Before you begin your journey to the park make sure that you check the weather conditions as storms can develop quickly. If you have any doubts you can always call the park office and they will inform you of the conditions.
There is plenty of parking available at St. Andrews State Park.
Public transport is available from the nearby town of Panama City Beach. You can catch the seven bus to and from the park.
The campground at St. Andrews State Park features some great facilities within two loops. Located in the pinewoods near Grand Lagoon, there are 123 RV-friendly sites that feature a mixture of 30- and 50-amp electrical connections and water hookups. Along with electrical connections, each site also has water, picnic tables and grills available for you to use. Other amenities in the park include laundry facilities, dump station, five bathrooms with showers, a playground and the concession store is also a short walk from the campground.
Pets are welcome at all campsites but they must be on a leash at all times. You should be able to get cell reception on all major networks in the campground as the location is close to Panama City Beach. During the summer you can also join a ranger at the campfire circle for an informative program on park history or wildlife. If you are interested, check the park for times and availability. Reservations are available up to 11 months in advance and camping is available all year round.
The Environmental Interpretive Center at St. Andrews State Park houses many exhibits that will inform you about the park. These include a park orientation video, topographical map and aerial photograph and an ecosystem diorama. The center also has butterfly, bird egg and sea shell collections, as well as an exhibit on sea turtle nesting. Don't forget to check out the water safety exhibit and information on the beach warning flag system so that you are prepared for swimming in the open waters that are throughout the park.
Although the water does dominate a lot of the recreational opportunities in St. Andrews State Park there is still some fun on offer for those who love to hike. There are two trails in the park to choose from that offer different terrain and views. The Heron Pond Trail will take you on a hike through the flatwood pine forest and past the Turpentine Still while the Gator Lake trail provides a scenic lakeside view. We recommend the Heron Pond Trail if you are wanting to see more of the parks diverse flora.
If you love to fish you will love St. Andrew State Park. There are multiple fishing opportunities that vary, including deep-sea jetty and surf fishing. There are two fishing piers and jetties that provide visitors the option to fish all year-round. Some of the popular species caught at the park include red fish, flounder, Spanish mackerel, sea trout, bonito, cobia and bluefish. You can buy fishing bait from the concession store and fishing pole rentals may be available. A fishing license may be required so make sure you check with the park office one you arrive at the park.
Feel like going for a paddle? Kayaks are available during the summer season for you to rent via the parks camp store, located just north from the boat ramp. Opportunities for kayaking are unlimited, from just paddling around Grand Lagoon or all away across the boat channel to Shell Island. The parks boat ramp is also available for you to use and consists of a double-sided concrete launch that will accommodate water craft of all shapes and sizes.
Along with swimming, snorkeling is an activity that many people who visit St. Andrew State Park love to enjoy when the water is warm. You can snorkel in either of the main swimming areas and you have so many different areas to explore, including the extensive shoreline and rock jetties. If you don't have your own snorkeling gear it is available for rent at any of the concession stores that are located in St. Andrew State Park.
As you could imagine, swimming is one of the most popular things to do while at St. Andrews due to having over a mile and a half of gorgeous white sandy beaches to swim from. There are multiple swimming spots to choose from, with an area known as the "kiddie pool" being the most popular with those who are looking for a relaxing swim in waters that aren't too deep. If you want to check out even more swimming opportunities the park offers daily trips to Shell Island where visitors can enjoy the beach as well. These trips to Shell Island are limited to seasonal dates from March till Labor Day weekend.