Just 3 miles east of Panama City Beach the pristine white sands of this former military reservation dazzle visitors from all over the country. St. Andrews State Park is said by many to be the top tourist attraction in Panama City, and once you’ve laid eyes on its stunning scenery you’re sure to agree. Beaches, nature trails, bird watching, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking are just a few of the activities that visitors can enjoy at Saint Andrews State Park.
Where is Saint Andrews State Park?
Located at the southeastern end of the peninsula, 3 miles east of Panama City Beach, St. Andrews State Park boasts 1.5 miles of beautiful beaches on both the Gulf of Mexico and the Grand Lagoon. Covering an area in excess of 1,200 acres, the park has a number of facilities and is easily accessible from both Panama City Beach and Panama City.
What can you do at Saint Andrews State Park?
St. Andrews State Park is the kind of place where you can just sit on the beach and relax, or get active and try out a variety of different activities.
There’s no doubt that the pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters are the most memorable thing about this state park. Whether you’re on the Gulf or the Lagoon the waters are perfect for swimming, and because the waters are so clear snorkeling or scuba diving provide great opportunities to discover and observe the underwater marine life.
While St. Andrews State Park is pristine, there are plenty of facilities for day-use and overnight camping. Fishing piers and jetties have been constructed so you can easily fish (provided you have a fishing license), and if you forget to bring along your fishing equipment, snorkeling gear, canoes or chairs you can buy or rent many items from one of the park’s concessions. The concessions also offer food and snacks, and there are washrooms and even shower facilities.
The beaches are often bustling with visitors during the summer months, but you can escape some of the crowds by exploring the park’s two nature trails: Gator Lake and Heron Pond. Both trails provide excellent opportunities to see wildlife and birds in their natural environments, including alligators, herons and egrets.
Also popular during the spring and summer are trips to nearby Shell Island. Shell Island is still part of St. Andrews State Park but it’s separated from the main park area by the channel leading to Saint Andrew Bay. Take a boat trip (for a fee) across to Shell Island and experience this largely undeveloped barrier island for yourself.
If you’d like to stay in Saint Andrews State Park for more than just a day, consider camping here. There are 176 serviced family campsites that can accommodate rigs up to 40’ in length, and washrooms, showers and laundry add to the convenience. A more primitive group campsite is also available for up to 20 people, for tents only.
St. Andrews State Park, 4607 State Park Lane, Panama City, FL 32408
- Bird watching
- Boat Tours
- Boat Ramp
- Environmental Interpretive Center
- Group Camping
Open 8am to sunset, 365 days a year.
What to Bring
- Swimming gear
- Snorkeling gear
- Fishing gear
- Walking shoes