St. Andrews SRA, Florida - Panama City, Florida - Park on Peninsula off Central Panhandle Offers Water Sports and Nature Opportunities in the Sunshine State
St. Andrews SRA, Florida is located in the central section of the panhandle in the northwestern part of the state in Panama City. It is a 1,260 acre protected area found off of State Road 392, 3 miles east of Panama City Beach.
The Park, located on a peninsula, has more than 1.5 miles of beaches on the Grand Lagoon to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. The area was once used as a military reservation.
There are several habitats within the boundaries of the park that include pine flatwoods, marshland, scrubs and dunes. Diverse communities of flora and fauna inhabit the different areas.
The white beaches and dunes found in the uplands of St. Andrews SRA, Florida are composed of fine white sand made of pulverized quartz that eroded from Appalachian Mountain caves in a span of millions of years, arriving in the Gulf of Mexico beneath the southern United States in stream and river deltas, eventually being deposited here by wind and water currents.
Inland dunes have been stabilized here by sand pine, scrub oaks and other plants. These woody areas run down the mid section of the peninsula between the two coasts.
One of the hiking trails in the park gives a vantage point that often allows for overhead alligator sightings as well as a view of the array of birds that make their home here.
Aside from viewing the different ecosystems and their inhabitants, visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports and activities at the park, which is open 365 days a year from 8 AM until sunset.
Ocean swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving are permitted off the shoreline as well as kayaking and canoeing in the Lagoon.
Boat shuttles are available in spring and summer months to the 700 acre section known as Shell Island.
There are two piers and a jetty that serve as on shore fishing locations while there is also a boat ramp for launching small sea-craft onto the Great Lagoon. Recorded fish catches at the park have included Spanish mackerel, flounder, sea trout, dolphin and other fish.
The park boasts full camping grounds as well as more basic sites for youth group camping.
Park facilities include a concession stand that in addition to snacks, also offers basic fishing gear, minimal camper supplies and souvenirs.
At St. Andrews SRA, Florida there are 176 campsites located near the Grand Lagoon. These areas are equipped with water, electricity, cooking grills and tables. Up to 40 ft. long camping vehicles can be accommodated here.
Other picnic facilities are also located in different locations throughout the Park.
Some areas of the park are accessible to disabled persons and assistance is available upon request from the park.
Pets are only allowed in certain areas and must remain leashed at all times.
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