St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is on the Gulf of Mexico and is across the bay from the town of Port St. Joe, Florida. This park has beautiful aqua-blue ocean and 9.5 miles of white beaches. The park is rated as one of the best state parks in the U.S. and also rated as one of the best beaches in the nation. It is a great place to hike, kayak, sun, play
on the beach, and star gaze.
It is also one of the first places we went to when we began camping and it was fun to return. We originally heard about St. Joe from my sister Patsy and my friend Sue. It’s amazing we research and research but the really great places we’ve been to were recommendations from friends or other campers we’ve met along the way.
We loved exploring this area of NW Florida known as the ‘Forgotten Coast’ because it is relatively undeveloped, laid back, and has an old ‘hippie’ vibe. We also enjoy driving the backroads and exploring all the quaint towns along the way. I think we are discovering we are really small town people.
Most of the camping sites here are compacted sandy areas with 30 amp service, water, a picnic table, and a fire-pit. The beach is just a short walk from the camping areas on a boardwalk over the sand dunes.
There are 2 camping loops and we have camped in each one.
- This time we camped in the Shady Pines camping loop which is the older loop, with a lot of privacy between sites, with a narrow/bumpy road and this loop has lots of trees. The sites here are often a little un-level but sites #98-103 have concrete pads.
- Last year we stayed at the Gulf Breeze loop which is the newer loop with wide roads and easy access, but it doesn’t allow large RV’s. (Good thing we’re small.) The restroom in this area is newer and has heat, if needed. Many of the sites are less private than in the Shady Pines loop. When we were there last year it had a party-like atmosphere and people roamed through our site to go to the restrooms. This time it was more laid back.
During our trip to St. Joe we experienced 20-30 mph winds with temperatures in the 50’s. We just bundled up and had a great time exploring the area. Wildlife is always abundant and are not shy, so you never know when you are going to come upon a deer, or two, in the roadway. The ocean was churning and the sunsets were beautiful. It’s no wonder it has been named one of the best parks in the nation.