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“beach and palm trees”

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of the top beaches in 1995.
Reviewed July 16, 2013

Very quite area and not a lot of people around on the beaches. But not really sure how this is rated as one of the best national parks in the Country. $6 fee per car load. Our purpose of visit was only to go to the beach at Cape San Blas for a cleaner beach and better water than the Indian Pass beaches.
The bay side is very clean and great for finding hermit crabs, snorkeling and kayaking. There is a little store to pick up snacks if needed.

4  Thank Lisa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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480 - 484 of 639 reviews

Reviewed July 1, 2013

Just returned from camping at St Joseph's Peninsula state park and had a wonderful week. We tent camped and stayed at the Shady Pines campground in the park. Well maintained sites, very clean bathrooms/showers, outdoor beach showers and nice shade. The sites all have electricity and water. Lovely to have a fan at night in the tent. Enjoyed the bayside for kayaking, snorkeling, and checking out the abundance of marine life (horseshoe crab, urchin, conch, sand dollars, hermit crab, star fish, fish, sting ray and more). Enjoyed the gulf beach for swimming, body surfing, and relaxing. Glad we brought our sun shade for the beach because there is no shade. Saw lots of deer, raccoons, and rats (cute more like chipmunks). We hope to return.

5  Thank Bec K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2013

We camped in this state park in Florida from June 15-22. We had a pull-behind and a tent. The campsite was clean and very close to the beach (think we were #36 or #39), just a short walk to the boardwalk. Campground was pretty full when we were there but it was easy to feel like we were secluded.
The park beaches were wonderful! Clean, very little seaweed, and super fine sugary sand...we enjoyed watching the sun come up and go down each day. There were many beautiful shells on the beach every day and more to be found just beyond the sandbar. My kids, 16,11 and 5 all enjoyed snorkling and just playing in the waves. You can walk for miles on the beach (toward the wildlife preserve) and never meet or see a soul. The bay was a unique experience as well, full of sea urchins, crabs, scallops, clams, and all sorts of other creatures that I am not familiar with! The kids really enjoyed walking around over there and discovering living things. Bath houses were clean and easily accessible. You can bring pets to the campground but they were not allowed on the beach. The water was only rough with rip tides a couple of the days that we were there. My 5yr old did not have any trouble out on the sandbar with his floaties on.
We ate at Indian Pass Raw Bar....amazing food here...have been many times and can't praise it enough. Just a hole in the wall, but worth it!

7  Thank talmk3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2013

My husband and I have lived in Florida our entire lives, and had never ventured up into the panhandle area. After getting hooked on camping and doing lots of research online about the best places to camp this park kept coming up as a great place to go...so I booked it 11 months out. I was really looking forward to going with my husband, mom and two children.

Be aware that this place is kind of off the beaten path...if you are afraid to get a little dirty and want a pristine concrete jungle with shopping nearby, this is not the place for you. Also, there is VERY limited cell phone reception here. I saw many people walking around like zombies holding their phones up in the air trying to get reception haha--it was actually pretty funny once I got over the shock of it myself. The campground store did have free WIFI, and we went over there at least once a day to make phone calls and check our messages. We have our own business, so we still needed to be somewhat connected.

With that said, this park was amazing! The park rangers were as nice as can be. Check in was a breeze and everyone seemed happy to be there. We stayed in the Gulf Breeze section in site number 51, which literally is a less than a 2 minute walkover to the beach. Be aware there is limited shade in that area and the sites were somewhat sandy and average size from what I have seen in state parks in Florida. We rode bikes down to the shady pines section and though it is shaded, it was a bit farther walk to the beach. I personally like to be as close to the water as possible, but both loops were nice and I do see the draw of each...it is just personal preference. There were two bathrooms close by out campsite. You could tell one was a little newer than the other, but both were sufficient. The hot water stream was strong in the showers. The second night we were there a very strong thunderstorm swept through and lightening took out the electric in the whole park. The electric company trucks got to the park pretty quickly, and it was fixed by morning.

This park is truly beautiful and kept in it's natural state. It is unlike any place we have camped or seen before. You have the ocean with dunes on one side of the park, and the bay on the other side. We brought our inflatable kayaks and took them out in the bay. It was clear, and you were able to walk out VERY far with the water only waist deep. You might want to bring water shoes for the bayside. We all (including my 6-year-old and 10-year-old) spent a ton of time in the bay picking up different sea life. We saw dolphins, urchins, fish, conch, crabs, sand dollars, starfish, etc.,...seems like everything we picked up was alive. We also saw a dozens of dear, hawks, a bobcat, manatee, shark, snakes...you name it. Really, it was impressive. My husband fished a while in the ocean, and then also would go over to the bay to fish. Seemed to be really good fishing, as I saw a ton of people catching things.

Being a native Floridian, I was a little concerned about mosquitos and no-see-ums because they usually tear me up...I was surprised that the bugs weren't as bad as I thought they would be. Maybe being so close to the beach the breeze kept them away...not quite sure, but I was happy about it.

We camped here four nights, and did not turn the TV on once. My kids, who usually are night owls, were extremely tired at the end of the day from all the swimming and snorkeling. It was great. I can see why overall it gets rave reviews.

THE BAD: We were down a bit from the dumpster, and every once in a while when walking back from the beach I could smell the trash....but I have a very good nose, it might not have bothered most people. Even still, a very minor thing. Also, I saw some have mentioned the rats/mice. Yes, we saw quite a few running around the campground. As crazy as it sounds they didn't bother me...in face we affectionately called them "gerbils"...they just were there-they didn't bother us at all.

We had an awesome time and are hoping to plan another trip there in the future. If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy your surroundings, this would be it.

9  Thank Carmen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

We have camped at this park numerous times and see new wildlife each time. It is nice to be at an out of the way place with little cell signal (at least with ATT). We are always drawn to this park for a relaxing fun filled getaway. Few people on the beach great fishing. Scalloping in season. Deer birds and other critters. This is just an amazing place!!!!

4  Thank karen h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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