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“The Forgotten Coast”

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St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
Reviewed February 10, 2010

This was the most awesome state park I've ever seen! The white sandy beach on one side and the bay on the other. We could sun and swim on the secluded beach or go boating and snorkling in the bay. Scallop season was plentiful and delish! For nature lovers like me, you will be amazed by all the state park has to offer!

Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
4  Thank DebraD4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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88 - 93 of 93 reviews

Reviewed December 25, 2009

We have tent camped at St. Joseph State Park on many occasions over the past 15 years. The past few trips were on a down hill slide. This was the LAST trip we will take to this park. We planned to meet some of our family (that lives in a different state) like we had on other trips. We reserved camp sites next to each other. Less than a week before our arrival date I was looking at the parks web site. It seems the park manager decided at the last moment to change some of the tent camping sites to accommidate the handicap better. (which is a great idea) We have stayed at the park on many occasions, and knew exactly which camp sites we wanted to have. When this so-called manager decided to change our camp sites, they didn't even bother to let us know. I called the park, they had moved us to the other campground, about a mile from where our family would be camping. The park personel did move us back to the other campground, on the opposite end, so now our family members were only about a quarter mile away, so much for enjoying our out of state family members! We have to drive about 15 hours to get to the park, and the park wasn't even going to inform us of the change. Needless to say the park manager totally ruined our plans for this vacation.
Then our relaxing vacation got worse. The Park is a dog friendly park, however it comes with some stipulations, no dogs on the beach, they must be relatively quiet, must be on a leash, and owners must clean up after thier pet. This was not enforced AT ALL!! There is dog doo all over the park and beach, dogs running all over the beach and campgrounds without leashes, and barking at all hours of the night.
Alcohol is not permitted at State Parks, but again this was not inforced. We even had one drunk that stumbled into our camp and almost knock our tent down.(with us in it) And there were several who were drunk and very loud. Quiet time at the park is 11:00 p.m., at least 5 out of the 7 nights we were there, we could not sleep until at least 1 a.m. because of several loud people, again rules were not enforced, as they had been in the past.
BEACH RATS...We love the outdoors, so we enjoy seeing wildlife, and I don't mind seeing beach rats, but seeing them by the hundreds is crazy. Our youngest girl was just over a year old at the time of our visit. We could not leave her in her stroller at all. She had to be held all the time, the beach rats would climb up into her stroller, in less than a minute. They even got into our tent and destroyed our food supplies.
We have always enjoyed staying at the state parks for relaxation. We always enjoyed the parks for the outdoor experience, so we tent camp, in the past the park had tent sites together and rv sites together. This time we had rv's parked on both sides of us.We reserved our (tent site) several months in advance, So it was not because of a last minute decision on our part, that we didn't have any relaxing, quiet, and enjoyable evenings. The park seems to be changing to more rv users and totally forgetting about the ones who enjoy tent camping.
On the positive side, if you don't have a dog throwing sand on you, the beach is very nice, at low tide you can find lots of seashells. And with miles of beaches to enjoy, you can have a good time with the beach activities.
In the past we loved this park, over the past few years it has been changing, and not for the good. Until it gets back to the way it was before, our family is looking for a better place to spend our vacations!!

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with family
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13  Thank UScampinglover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2009

We have been to this park a few times and have not been disappointed yet. The beach and bay are simply beautiful and the staff has always been helpful and polite. The surf fishing is awesome and there is plenty of room to spread out on the beach. It is not wall to wall bodies like so many of the beaches are these days. If you want a quiet, laid back, no frills vacation this is the place to go. Just follow the advice on the State Parks Homepage and keep some bug spray handy. We haven't had much trouble at all with bugs but they are there and will bite if the wind stops blowing for long.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank galegman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2008

The beach was FABULOUS.....and the showers were very nice. I found one particular employee at the front guard shack to leave a lot to be desired where customer care was concerned. They are conducting a controlled burn of the park and everything was charred black (trees, shrubbery, etc.). When I inquired at the main gate as to why everything was burned up and why we were not told that the park was in this condition before we came, the man made a smart [-]remark about how we must be some of "those kind of people" who come to the beach just to look at the pretty stuff????? And then proceeded to tell me how ridiculous of an idea it was that someone would notify me to let me know I was getting ready to spend my vacation in a charred beach pit.
But the worse things was the bugs! My husband and I have been campers for years and we are not phobic about bugs. We realize that it is part of the experience.....however.....this was ridiculous. We left our vactaion 2 days early because we could not go out of our camper without getting eat up! I have never come back with every part of my body eat on like I did this trip.

This park is VERY into all natural environment.....which I do agree with......to a reasonable degree. But they do NO care or maitenance on the ground. Their is dead and decaying plant life everywhere. Sitting ground water infested with bugs and swamp like muck on the ground......a haven for every sort of stinging biting bug imaginable and they have a field day with you as you leave your cabin and go ANYWHERE. It is truly like going to a swamp and setting up camp......only you have an electric and water hookup. If that is your thing.....you'll love it......but if you aren't into that degree of nature...you should stay somewhere out of the park and just visit the beach area during the day to keep from getting eat alive by bugs. We will not camp there again......I assure you!

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank sprinker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2007

My family just returned from the Cape after tent-camping there for a week! This beach is so beautiful, the park staff so friendly and professional, I wish I could be on permanent vacation there! My family stayed in the Shady Pines campground (#117). We had absolutely no problem at all with mosquitoes, but there was a very good ocean breeze the whole week (about 15 mph winds). There was one night, however, that we did have a problem with what looked like a yellow biting fly who wouldn't leave any of us alone. We finally had to retreat into the tent to escape him. This park is absolutely perfect for families. The children and I played most morning in the Bay (shallow, full of hermit crabs, warm). We floated and snorkeled and had a blast. Then we would go eat lunch and return to beachside in the afternoon. One day we had to stick with building sandcastles because thousands of jellyfish were washing up on the beach. But the next day it was fine.

Here are a couple of things to note:

The campground is now under a burn ban, so you can't use the fire rings to cook. If you bring your own charcoal grill, you can use charcoal.

The bath houses do not have air conditioning which makes it a little hard to ever feel clean, but if you are a regular outdoor kind of person, you'll be fine.

If you are tent camping (as we were) don't count on spending a lot of time at your time for relaxation during the hot part of the day. Instead, find a nice local spot to get in out of the heat (we prefered the Indian Pass Raw Bar in Indian Pass--see related restaurant review).

I really can't say enough good about this place!

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
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7  Thank rainey1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2015
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  • Stayed: November 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank Татьяна Д
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 32456
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Panhandle > Port Saint Joe
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Port Saint Joe
Price Range: $80 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 119
Also Known As:
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park Hotel Port Saint Joe
Peninsula Port Saint Joe
Port Saint Joe Peninsula

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