Let me say first that St. George Island State Park is perhaps the main reason we purchased our small travel trailer in the first place and found groups like The Dyrt for insight for other places to explore. We visited St. George Island in May on Florida’s“Forgotten Coast” but the State Park on the island really stole the show.
The first thing you’ll notice about both the island and in particular the State Park is how remote it is. The beaches are seemingly empty even during busy seasons. It has one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire state of Florida and as Floridian’s we are pretty particular. The beach is lined with beautiful sand dunes from one end to the other. The island is narrow with a single road maybe 5 miles long. The road was closed after the camp ground as they are still repairing the park from the last hurricane that hammered The Panhandle area of Florida. Not sure what's taking so long as State Park HQ is in Tallahassee only an hour or so away.
The park has one camp ground and sites are very hard to come by. One visit and you’ll see why. Facilities are very well maintained with a friendly staff which is true for most Florida State Parks. There was a good mix of people camping in tents, small trailers and big rigs which is nice as many places in Florida are dominated by people who camp with everything they own and have rigs bigger than our house.
You bring your own fun here so just chill on the beach. If you have kayaks or paddle boards bring em. If you have bikes, those would be good too. Fishing(check). You could probably catch dinner as there is little pressure on these waters. There is some hiking but just walking on the beach is great. Nice flat beach at low tide with hard packed sand from the outgoing tide will make it a great walk.
Be sure to visit Apalachicola across the bay. A really good place to eat is the Owl Cafe and if you can get there for a Sunday Brunch, all the better. Very local, very southern, very authentic.
We will be back for sure whenever we can secure a camping spot that fits our schedule. Hope it won't be too long!
Myakka River State Park is a not to miss Florida State Park. Don't let the proximity to Sarasota Fool You! It is very close to Sarasota which makes it a good stop if you are visiting the area or an outstanding stop if you are from out of town as you can enjoy a little bit of Surf and Turf.
As a Sarasota local who loves the outdoors, I've visited most of Florida's State Parks and this is one of my favorites for sure. We tend to neglect what we can do and see everyday and this is no exception. I'm always amazed.
This time we camped out for the weekend even though we live about 10 miles away and we have never felt so far from home while being so close. Probably my first"staycation".
You can paddle, hike, ride or just chill in this really large state park. Super clean and well run. All the staff are really nice and you can tell they enjoy being there.
This park is the real deal and you will feel you are in another world. Get out and explore!
Sidebar: A lot of people ask me why I share my favorite"secret" places with total strangers and the answer is that the very best places everywhere are under tremendous pressure from growth, development and environmental pressure. Once you see a place like this you will forever be changed and hopefully become an advocate for preserving them wherever you may be.
Fort De Soto Park is amazing. It offers something for everyone whether you are there camping or simply for the day. The beaches are amazing with TONS and TONS of parking. Great cycling, paddling, walking, exploring, fishing, kiting, or anything you want to do. It can get busy in season but the area is designed to accommodate the crowds except for the one lane road to and from so plan your visit according to your threshold for traffic and crowds.
I'm a Florida local from Sarasota and have visited many times but never to camp. We came with a small travel trailer and were lucky enough to get a site right on the water as many are which by itself is rare. Great weekend and honestly one of the nicest parks I have ever been to.
Its great that possibly the most valuable real estate in all of Florida's Gulf Coast was reserved for a county park in lieu of private condos and resorts. The park has a no alcohol policy which honestly is fine. Being such an urban destination I could imagine things getting way out of hand there to the detriment of more chill folks without the ban. Even though I like a cocktail as much as the next guy, i'll take the pleasant environment over the beer any day.
Thanks Pinellas Parks for such a great place for locals and guests to visit.