Want a place where you can camp, swim, fish, kayak, snorkel, boat, bicycle, bird watch, and see tide pools, all while being next to one of the most popular beach vacation destinations in the south? St Andrews State Park in Panama City has you covered!
Most people vacation to Florida for the sole purpose of just getting to the beach and forget about its many beautiful state parks.
Keep reading to dive a little deeper and to answer your question of “what is there to do in St Andrews State Park?”
Note: In April of 2021, some construction projects started around the park. The updates will include a new restroom, picnic area, and part of the campground is getting a revamp.
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What is there to do at St Andrews State Park?
The St. Andrew’s State Park is a large, wide stretch of white-sand beach that is always clean and well-maintained.
This 1200-acre park has miles of beautiful beaches and clear waters. Visitors can camp, hike, bike, kayak, and much more. But first, let’s start with the basics.
Park Location, Hours, Fees, and Map
Where is St. Andrews State Park?
St. Andrew’s State Park is located at the very southeastern point of Panama City Beach. If you’re familiar with Panama City, take Thomas Drive southeast and you’ll dead-end into the park! From the park, you are able to see the Gulf of Mexico and Saint Andrew bay.
Hours & Entrance Fees
St Andrews State Park hours are 8 am until dark (year-round)
- $4 per vehicle with 1 passenger
- $8 per vehicle with 2-8 passengers
- $2 per bicycle and pedestrian
(If you’re camping and arriving after dark, call the park and give them a heads up so they can give you the gate code)
Just a heads up, there may be a line to get into the park, especially during peak season. The line typically moves pretty quickly though!
Alright, now on to the good stuff: what to do inside the park.
Enjoy the Beach
As soon as you arrive, you’ll notice this beach is MUCH less crowded than the rest of Panama City Beach. The water is also much more clear and is the perfect emerald green color.
One of the first stops inside the park is where you can find access to the beach and the fishing pier. Even if laying on the beach is all you do at St Andrews State Park, it’s still worth a visit due to the scenery & reduced crowd.
Hiking trails at St. Andrews are a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors and take in the natural beauty of the park. Two 0.5-mile trails are located within the park: Heron Pond Trail and Gator Lake Trail.
As you can tell by their names, you may encounter some wildlife on these hikes! Make sure to check out the old turpentine distillery at the Heron Pond Trailhead!
Fishing at St. Andrews State Park
This state park offers more than 40 miles of freshwater fishing. You can fish on either side of the park, both sides are great. There is also a fishing pier located just inside the park. When visiting I noticed several people fishing off of the pier.
Bonus: The pier offers bins to recycle your fishing line & provides signs on what to do if you accidentally catch a turtle.
Note: Make sure you have a Florida saltwater fishing license if you plan to fish!
Camping in the park
Whether you have a tent or an RV, camping at St. Andrews State Park in Florida is a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of city life. The campground offers bathrooms, showers, a laundry facility, and a dump station.
Each campsite has water and electric hookups and costs $26 per night with a reservation fee of $6.70 (non-refundable). The RV sites can accommodate RVs up to 45-feet in length.
Boating at St. Andrews
This state park also has a boat launch and boat rental services. Launch fees are $12/single person with a boat and $16 for 2-8 people with a boat.
Shell Island is also a part of St. Andrews State Park! Taking a trip over to Shell Island is considered a must-do when visiting Panama City. Use the shuttle, your own boat, or a rented boat to get there. Click the link above to check out my Shell Island post for more info!
Rent gear at the park or bring your own! The waters around the jetty and the swimming areas are great places to snorkel and see some ocean life. You’ll also notice some tide pools around the jetty too!
More Things to Do at St Andrews:
See some alligators at Gator Lake or head to the Buttonbush Marsh Overlook to see birds and potentially some deer.
Again, you can rent from the park or bring your own. The park offers plastic (HDPE) kayaks and paddles for rent. If you don’t want to rent, inflatable kayaks have gotten much better in recent years and are very easy to pack!
While bikes are only allowed on the main paved road, it’s a 2-mile relatively flat loop. FYI the potholes were terrible when I visited in May of 2021, so watch out for those!