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“Beautiful!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

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St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
Star Rte. 1, Box 200, Port Saint Joe, FL FL 32456   |  
Hotel amenities
Palm Harbor, Florida, United States
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Beautiful!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

We camped for 3 nights in our pop-up camper in the Gulf Breeze campground. I know why they named it that!....we had a constant breeze all 3 days. This was a good thing since 1) it was June in Florida (HOT!) and 2) we had a storm roll through on our last night and lightning hit the power pole and we were without electricity the entire night. The breeze was wonderful and we were very comfortable!! The newer bathhouse in the Gulf Breeze campground is air conditioned!! We have camped in A LOT of Florida State Parks and this is the first time we've ever had an air conditioned bathhouse! Again, wonderful in June! The site we were in didn't have much shade but we didn't care since we spent most of our time at the spectacular beach which was a very short walk from our site. The beach was quiet and relaxing. Being from the Clearwater, FL area, we are used to very crowded beaches so this was such a wonderful treat for us. It is turtle nesting time and my husband saw turtle tracks in the sand on one of his early morning runs on the beach! I was a little nervous having read another review that talked about the rats. Yes, there are rats....a lot of rats. I'm not a fan of rodents, but these little guys are actually quite cute. They are the Hispid Cotton Rat and look more like a small mouse. They were very plentiful in the brush areas of the campground, but never got too close or bothered us. There is one washer and one dryer which I used and seemed like it was constantly in use the entire time we were there. You can get ice at the marina which has a small store with ice cream, a few souvenirs and some tackle (all way overpriced). If you need other supplies, there is a small grocery store about 4 miles outside of the park. This is definitely on our list of parks that we want to return to! Absolutely loved this park!!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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48 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Tallahassee, Florida
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

Our family decided to stay for a weekend of camping at the beach. This is a very nice park with beautiful beaches. Our campsite was a bit small since our camper has the pop outs but its a very quite secluded campground. The bath house was very clean as compared to others I have been in. Make sure you have bug spray the mosquito's will swarm around you as the sun starts to set. I would definately go back for another camping trip just stay in a bigger campsite. Oh I almost forgot, do watch out for wild life, there were several cotton rats hiding around the shrubs and I almost stepped on a rat snake walking around the campsite loop! Also, saw a bunny rabit! My husband and two boys took a bike ride and spotted a family of deer out in the woods. Had a great weekend!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tallahassee, Florida, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013 via mobile

To start with; the park is a gem. A windswept Peninsula's last eight miles preserved in its primal form. The camp ground is very neatly tucked amid the last significant bit of pine forest (and regrettably brackish pond). Beyond this point there are other wilderness camp sites available without water or power and are nestled atop ancient dunes rife with sand pine, lavender smelling herbals and cacti (!!!).

The regular camp grounds are on sides opposite a brackish tidal pond both situated adjacent to the beach. The bathrooms are usually very clean and most recently par-excellence in March 2013. The volunteer hosts did a fantastic job especially amid a rain event which created a lot of mud! The majority of the flora and fauna are readily accessible to everyone. The gnarly scrub oaks and palmetto thickets of the sites give it an exotic feel and the roaming deer, roosting owls and endearing beach mice are a few animals I've continually encountered at or very near the camp. Unfortunately there is a problem with raccoons so put your food in your car! Another problem is no-see-ums (biting marsh gnats). You MUST bring a screen tent if you plan on hanging out at camp without a fire going. Luckily you have the beach nearby...


The beach is the best wild beach in north Florida. The dunes tower over the landscape. Twisted, tortured oaks cling to the tops of the higher dunes and random palm trees stick up like strange sentries. The water varies from a pale teal to an all out aqua marine. The sand is very pure. If you like beach walking and shell collecting do bring water! The collecting gets better the further you walk. (Seven miles of secluded beach!)

Besides the beach other water activities include a good although small ramp for boats at Eagle harbor and the shallow waters of the bay on the side opposite of the beach behind the camp ground. During the summer the snorkeling is very good. Sea urchins, puffer fish, schooling mullet, hermid crabs, scallops and other mollusks can be easily found. BRING a DIVE FLAG. The bay gets very deep rather quickly and older kids and anyone interested may find themselves amid boat traffic in the bay during busy summer months.

During cooler months the interior wilderness is the place to see. If you like rare plants or encounters with animals, then then hiking the backcountry is for you. The trail undulates from ancient dune to ancient dune. Rare desert like plants abound this area of the park. Native Florida Rosemary and strange lavender like plants are present along with flowering prickily pear cacti. Scrub oaks and the rare sand pine dominate. Yupon hollies, palms, wax myrtles are abundant. I've personally encountered cotton mouths, a dusky Pygmy rattlesnake, coachwhips, and other varied reptile species all along the trail but never the beach.

This park is great because of its remoteness. There are very very few stores within 20 miles. Eating local seafood is strongly encouraged (good price and freshness). Apart from beach, watersports, or nature activities there is nothing else for miles. Only one restaurant, no nightlife, nor shopping. Some may see this as a downside but it is one of the parks strengths.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ft m
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

I have just returned from spending 4 days and 3 nights at this state park. I cannot stress enough how beautiful I found it to be. I love the outdoors and having the bay, the swamp, and the ocean all located within this park was an amazing site. The wildlife was a treat. I counted 26 different bird species alone. I must say that this weekend was brutal with the cold and extreme wind, but I survived being in a tent and would do it all over again. Oh, and I must not forget the beauty of the LARGE sand dunes.....and the fact that the bathrooms were very clean

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chunchula, Mobile County, Alabama
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

My husband, toddler son and I visited St. Joseph State Park for a long weekend. We stayed in Cabin 6, which was simple but nice enough. The kitchen had everything I needed to prepare simple meals (including a dishwasher but no dishwasher detergent -- I'll bring that next time! They did include liquid dish soap, dish drainer and sponges). The living room was small, with two chairs and a futon, and the bathroom was downstairs (note to park staff, the bathtub needs a plug so that it can be used for baths). Everything was clean but pretty worn looking, but didn't bother us a bit. It was like going to an old family beach house.
Upstairs, there were two queen beds and plenty of room for our son's pack-and-play.
The cabin had a great screened porch with picnic table and two rocking chairs, and from the kitchen/dining area and screened porch, you could see the bay! Pretty view! There was a private boardwalk to the bay, with a bench and deck area with firepit. The bay was very calm and nice to walk along.
The cabin had lots of windows, great for catching the bay breeze!
Other cabin extras included an outdoor shower and shell/fish cleaning station.
The cabin was really close to the Gulfside wilderness area. The is a trail about a 1/4 mile long that leads to the most beautiful beach I have ever seen, with huge sand dunes. The beach was incredibly wide, with pretty water and NO development in sight! It is a true wilderness area, with no bathrooms, picnic tables, etc., just beach, water, dunes, plants and wildlife....it is absolutely perfect in my eyes, with plenty of room for people to spread out! We spent lots of time at the beach and enjoyed every minute. It's a great beach for shelling -- tons of beautiful shells all along the water and sand.
We also enjoyed riding bikes and canoeing. The pines and palms at the park are beautiful to check out as we rode around the park....there were bikes and canoes for rent several miles away, but we brought our own. We were able to launch our canoe right at our cabin, and check out the bay....it was shallow and crystal clear! So beautiful!
We especially loved all the wildlife at St. Joe! On three different occasions, we sawgroups of deer eating along the main road through the park! The deer were somewhat tame and just beautiful! We also watched an armadillo nosing around in the grass behind our cabin!
Some people may not like the remoteness of this park, but we loved it. I bought all our food in advance so we didn't have to make multiple trips to town, which is about a 30 minute drive. We did eat at Triple Tails one night and enjoyed their fresh oysters! Port St. Joe has every amenity you could need --- drugstore, two grocery stores, great restaurants, auto parts store, gift shops, etc. We planned ahead, though, and enjoyed staying close to the park for the most part.

Definitely this is a great place to visit, and we hope to come back again in the summertime and bring our extended family!

Room Tip: Cabins are grouped two-by-two --- so cabins 1&2 share a driveway and parking area, as do 3&4...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Homer, Alaska
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

The remoteness of the area was an unexpected and welcome surprise. This is Florida, we were expecting a lot more people but only saw a few walking the beach and no one on the trails. The beaches are covered with shells. Bugs were not bad at all in January and I didn't see any beach rats that were mentioned in an older review. Lots of deer and birds to watch. Our cabin was perfect for us and my parents-in-law. Plenty of room with the upstairs bedroom and downstairs pull out couch, a screened porch, BBQ, hot water. No TV, WIFI or good cell phone signal, if that bothers you. The walking trails are all white sand and go through the 'forest' for miles, it's literally at the end of the road and very remote. Stop for supplies and food either in "town" or at the convenience store before heading out to the state park. This the place I want to return to on our next trip to the gulf coast.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belington
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

First I should mention that the park itself is great and my complaints are only with the cabin we rented which was #3. There were very few biting insects, just no-see-ums at dawn and dusk.

Pros- you can't beat the location of the cabins, in fact it more than makes up for the cabin faults itself. There was a bench right on the bay to sit and watch the birds go about their lives. There were recycle binns right outside the cabin, very convenient. Cabins 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 are rather close to each other but tolerable.
Cons- First night, no hot water but it was fixed as soon as we notified the park the next day. Second night- the oven thermostat must have been broken as it never turned off once preheated and we ended up with a crispy dinner. I believe it will be fixed right away too since it is a fire hazard. Those things happen.
Other incidentals- The beds and pillows had plastic covers on them and were lumpy and very uncomfortable. One little move and the noise they made certainly would wake anyone else, especially since the beds were right next to each other. It might be fine for a family but there is no privacy. There were 4 pillows on the beds but only 2 pillow cases. There was only one little light between the beds, difficult to read by.
Although the kitchen wasn't too badly equiped, there was hardly enough silverware for more than 2 people if you didn't use the ones that were bent or crooked. There was a pan in the dishwasher when we arrived with baked on food. Hardly the fault the previous visitors as there was only a dish rag to clean the dishes, no scrubby. No pot holders so you had to use the one dish towel. Dangerous when taking hot things our of the oven. The drinking glasses were all plastic. The futon cover was stained. There was only one light in the small living area to read by and very dim lights in the bathroom. If more than one person wanted to read at a time in the evening, it would be a problem. The floor was sandy upstairs and down.
A few small things that would cost less than $5 would add to the cabin. Coffee filters, small bar of soap, pot holder, scrubby for the kitchen. Liquid dish soap and dish washer detergent was supplied. If this was a cheaper cabin, you would expect these things but it is not. If not for the setting, they wouldn't be worth more than half of the going rate.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

Address: Star Rte. 1, Box 200, Port Saint Joe, FL FL 32456
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Panhandle > Port Saint Joe
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Specialty lodging in Port Saint Joe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Also Known As:
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park Hotel Port Saint Joe
Peninsula Port Saint Joe
Port Saint Joe Peninsula

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