Visit St. Andrews State Park in Panama City, Florida

Updated on July 13, 2018
Sugar-white beaches and blue-green water - ahhhhhh.
Sugar-white beaches and blue-green water - ahhhhhh. | Source

St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, Florida, was voted "America's Best Beach" in 1995, and believe me, it's still worthy of the title! It is a beautiful destination for a family-friendly vacation, and there are plenty of activities for everyone.

The 1,260-acre park is located on a peninsula that bisects the Gulf of Mexico and the Grand Lagoon. Many activities there are free or reasonably priced. There is an entrance fee from $2 to $8 depending on the number in your party and your mode of transportation (car, bus, bicycle, etc.).

What Can You Do at St. Andrews State Park?

Swim, swim, swim!

There are two separate beach areas at St. Andrews, and both have a concession store, showers and restrooms. Our favorite is Jetty Beach, where there are two choices for swimming. Jetty Beach has a large, almost totally enclosed beach area, and the water at its deepest point is usually no more than four or five feet. It's a great place for the little ones because the water is so shallow near the shore and there is virtually no wave activity. The other area at Jetty Beach is across the dunes. It is not sheltered by the jetties and has more waves.

No matter which beach you choose, swimming the 1.5 miles of coastline here is a most popular activity. The water is warm and clear during the summer months, and the sand looks like white sugar. There is no pool at St. Andrews State Park, but who needs it?

Collect Shells

The beautiful emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide a wealth of shells that wash up on the beach at St. Andrews. Some of the most common ones are olive shells, moon snails and conchs. Many lucky folks can find a whole sand dollar or two if they look closely. A little digging with the edge of a broken shell at the tide line can reveal some beautiful surprises!

Take the Shuttle to Shell Island

For about $14.95 per person, a boat leaves St. Andrews every half hour daily during the season and will take you to unspoiled and uninhabited Shell Island where you can fish, snorkel, swim or sunbathe. Bottle-nose dolphins are often seen nearby, as well. Note that there are no facilities available on the island, but there are concessions for purchase on the boat. The shuttle also offers a snorkel package and kayak rentals.

Snorkel or Scuba Dive

Equipment can be rented from the concessions area at both beaches or can be acquired elsewhere. Scuba diving is also possible. The snorkeling by the jetties themselves provides a great venue to see such marine life as sea urchins, rays, hermit crabs and tons of different kinds of fish.

Observe the Local Wildlife

White-tailed deer, raccoons, alligators, great white herons and many other birds can be seen throughout the park. There is an exhibit at the campground registration office that tells more about wildlife in the area.

Fishing, anyone?
Fishing, anyone? | Source

Camp Out

For a very budget-friendly price of about $28.00 per night, you can camp in one of the 176 sites in the campground. It is very popular and does fill quickly. Electricity and water, picnic tables and grills are available at all standard sites. There are five bathhouses, a laundry facility and dump stations.

Go Fishing

For a cost of between $12 and $16, you can launch your boat at the dock or bring your rod and reel and fish from the jetties or one of the two fishing piers. Spanish mackerel, sea trout and bluefish are just a few of the numerous fish in these waters.

Note: A Florida fishing license is required to fish here.

Take a Hike

There are two hiking trails at the park. The Heron Pond hiking trail meanders past the Turpentine Still near the boat dock. There is also the Gator Lake Trail where you may see an alligator or two.

Fly a Kite!

Kite Flying in the often breezy conditions is an inexpensive (and fun!) way to pass the time.

No matter what your activity level or desire, there is always something for families to do at St. Andrews State Park!

Seagulls at Jetty Beach
Seagulls at Jetty Beach | Source

Where is it?

A
St. Andrews State Park:
St Andrews State Park, Panama City, FL, USA

get directions

Great White Herons
Great White Herons | Source

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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    • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy A Johnson 

      7 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Thank you, thougtforce. It is definitely worth a visit.

    • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy A Johnson 

      7 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      I've never been to Cocoa Beach or Fort De Soto Beach. All the beaches I've ever seen in FL are gorgeous. Love the crisp white sand and emerald green water. Thanks for stopping by kitty.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      Voted up and useful! I've yet to go to St. Andrews, but the rest of Florida is a lovely place! :) I live near Clearwater, but I have to say Cocoa Beach and also Fort De Soto Beach are my two favorites.

    • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy A Johnson 

      7 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      I'm glad you stopped by, Peggy & Tina! We can't wait to go back.

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 

      7 years ago from Sweden

      This looks like a place well worth visiting, beautiful and a lot of activities! Thanks for sharing.

      Tina

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Those are such beautiful beaches along that stretch of land meeting the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Thanks for elaborating on all of the activities available in the Panama City area.

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