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St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
sand dunes at St Josephs penisula state park in FloridaA long barrier extending north between St Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, this 2516 acre park will appeal to a wide range of interests. Its miles of fine natural beach are good for swimming and fishing. With miles of white sugar sand, this park has one of the top rated beaches in the United States. Sunbathing, snorkeling, and swimming are popular activities along the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Bay. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, and bicycling. From offshore, canoeists and kayakers can take in a superb view of the high dunes and sand pine scrub. The fall is best for catching large redfish, sharks, bluefish, and flounder, while spring is excellent for pompano, whiting, and speckled trout.
 
Three overlooks placed among the high palmetto-dotted dunes provide panoramic views of pristine terrain similar to that encountered by the first Spanish settlers to arrive in this area of Florida. These vantage points are popular with birders interested in the vast arrays of resident and transient birds found here. As a coastal barrier peninsula, St. Joseph provides excellent opportunities for bird watching; over 240 species have been sighted in the park Besides the many brown pelicans, willet, and great blue and green herons, more rarely seen birds include white pelicans, golden plovers, and Arcadian flycatchers, according to the season. In autumn this park is one of the best places in the country to observe migrating hawks.

A boat ramp is located at Eagle Harbor on the bay side. Campers can stay in a full-facility campground, a short walk from the beach, or at primitive campsites in the wilderness preserve. Eight cabins on the bay side offer alternative overnight accommodations.


St. Joseph penisula state park in FloridaIndians once inhabited the peninsula and gathered shellfish for meals from the bay's shallow waters. Before the area was purchased for development as a state park, it was used as a U.S. Army training facility during World War II.

Named for lifelong community leader and settler T.H. Stone, the park is teeming with wildlife and marine life. Noted as an excellent birding area with sitings of 209 species currently recorded, it is a premier location in the eastern United States for observing hawks during fall migration. Many species can be seen including the endangered peregrine falcon.

The monarch butterfly is also on the wing in autumn, making its long migratory journey from northern states to wintering sites in Mexico. Shore and wading birds are in abundance throughout the year.

While the best area of the park to observe birds is along the beach and bayshore, the sandpine scrub, pine flatwoods and dunes offer protective habitat. The shallow waters of St. Joseph Bay are alive with a variety of marine life. Frequently encountered are bay scallops, hermit, fiddler and horseshoe crabs and octopi.

The park offers picnicking, swimming, camping, saltwater fishing, boating and wilderness hiking in the park's 1,650-acre wilderness preserve. St. Joseph offers luxury, furnished cabins located on the bay side of the park. Each cabin is a two-story elevated building. They have open lofts with two double beds, a sleeper sofa and daybed. Each has an equipped kitchen, bathroom and living area. Linens and towels are given at the beginning of the visit. For extended visits, visitors are encouraged to bring extra towels. There are 119 campsites with water, electricity, picnic tables and grills.

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A long barrier extending north between St Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, this 2516 acre park will appeal to a wide range of interests. Its miles of fine natural beach are good for swimming and fishing. With miles of white sugar sand, this park has one of the top rated beaches in the United States. Sunbathing, snorkeling, and swimming are popular activities along the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Bay. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, and bicycling. From offshore, canoeists and kayakers can take in a superb view of the high dunes and sand pine scrub.
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in Florida is truly a dream come true for Floridian nature lovers! The park is teeming with wildlife and marine life. Noted as an excellent birding area with sitings of 209 species currently recorded, it is a premier location in the eastern United States for observing hawks during fall migration. Many species can be seen including the endangered peregrine falcon. The monarch butterfly is also on the wing in autumn, making its long migratory journey from northern states to wintering sites in Mexico. Shore and wading birds are in abundance throughout the year. While the best area of the park to observe birds is along the beach and bayshore, the sandpine scrub, pine flatwoods and dunes offer protective habitat. The shallow waters of St. Joseph Bay are alive with a variety of marine life. Frequently encountered are bay scallops, hermit, fiddler and horseshoe crabs and octopi.
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
Date published: 10/23/2013
5 / 5 stars