SP Campground Review – St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Cape San Blas, FL
An absolutely sublime beach stop on the Forgotten Coast of NW Florida.
Link to campground here: St Joseph Peninsula State Park
Link to map here: St. Joseph State Park
- Site Quality = 4/5
Very decent sites here. Most sites are compacted sandy areas with 30Amp/water picnic table and fire-pit. There are 2 camping loops which are very different. Shady Pines is the older loop, very forested and rather tight (with trees). Most of the sites here are smaller, some are rather uneven and probably more suited for tenters or small campers, but sites #98-103 are concrete pads suitable for bigger rigs (as long as you can manage the narrow road). The Gulf Breeze loop is newer with wide roads and easy access, but interestingly enough doesn’t allow rigs larger than 38′. Sites in Gulf Breeze are large, but less private than Shady Pines. We camped in Shady Pines and we were by far the largest rig in that loop. No direct beach-view from either loop (beach is hidden by dunes), but only 30 sec walk to beach across the boardwalk.
- Facilities = 4.5/5
Very nice facilities. Bathrooms are just a tad older, but very nicely kept with very large shower stalls, good heat and water pressure. The surrounding area has miles of beach access, picnic areas, swimming, hiking, boat access and fishing. On-site dump and one laundry machine in each loop.
- Location = 5/5
You come here for the beach and for that reason you just can’t get any better location. The entire peninsula has stunning, wide white-sand beach on the gulf side with birding and nature on the bay side. Camping loops are directly behind the dunes from the beach, and hiking trails take you through the surrounding pine-forest. Nearby Port St. Joe has basic shipping.
- Pet Friendliness = 3.5/5
Unfortunately this place gets a big ding for not allowing pets on the beach. Doggie is allowed in the campground and on the gorgeous nature trails, but not on the beach within the State Park. There is a public beach access ~1 mile from State Park entrance which does allow dogs. Poop bags provided.
Overall Rating = 4.25
BONUS ALERT = Miles of pristine, snow-white beach on the relaxing Forgotten Coast
Summary: What a fabulous stop! For relaxing beach, white-sand beauty and remote nature this is a gem of a spot. Sites are packed sandy spots with a small selection of concrete pads, decent size and all within a short walk of pristine coast-line. The State Park has good hiking trails, lots of interest for birders and plenty of water activities. The Shady Pines camp-loop is a rather tight in trees, but interestingly is the only loop that allows big-rigs (on concrete sites #98-103. Max rig size 40-feet). The much wider and open Gulf Breeze loop limits rigs to 38-feet on the online reservation system. The only ding this place gets is for not allowing pets on the State Park beach. However there is open access for dogs only ~1 mile from the park entrance on the public beach. Overall this is a gorgeous, remote and totally relaxing place to stop. We could easily have spent several weeks here and would most definitely come back.
Extra Info: No real connectivity here. For whatever (strange) reason we were able to get a weak on-line signal with our external antenna/amp with Verizon between 8AM and noon everyday. No signal rest of day. Sites are reservable $24/night with 30Amp/water. On-site dump and laundry.SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Terry & Linda says
Did you encounter any biting bugs? The last couple of times that we were in the FL panhandle we were attached by no-see-ums by late afternoon and early evening.
Hi Terry. Actually we didn’t encounter any bugs which kind of surprised us for FL. I’m thinking it’s the time of year. High temps were in the 60’s to 70’s so it was probably too cold for them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the place gets more buggy as it warms up. Nina
Terry & Linda says
By the way, I see that some people have an avatar appear with their responses to your posts. How is that accomplished?
Hi Terry, I can’t recall exactly how I did it, but I think it’s as easy as clicking on your current avatar and then updating the profile (with your pic of choice) on that next page. Nina
Burns & Diane says
We were there in December 2010, agree completely with you its a beautiful place. Its like “old Florida”. (psssttt- don’t tell anyone!) We were in the Gulf Breeze campground.
The weather was very cool even for northern Florida, it was in the 30’s at night and maybe 60 during the day. But we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.
We too had awful internet access. Using our Verizon USB we were lucky to get email and maybe a page or two loaded before it packed up for the day. I have ordered an external permanent mount antenna and Cradlepoint router as we have had this issue elsewhere. We’re going back in May, so this place will become our “benchmark” for internet access.
What amp are you using?
Hi Burns, Totally agree..what a spot! We’re using the Wilson dual-band amp and the Wilson Omni antenna. Have been very happy with it so far. You can see our full set-up here: https://www.wheelingit.us/2010/10/13/boosting-your-internet-in-the-boonies/ Nina
We were there in January in site #102 in a 35 ft. fifth wheel. 102 is situated on a curve with a tree directly across the road which made it very tricky to back into the site. We thought 103 was the best site in the whole loop and have it booked for a week next January!
We drove through the Gulf Breeze Loop on Martin Luther King Day weekend and it was packed. Some of the sites looked pretty close together.
I agree with all your descriptions. The beach is one of the most beautiful we have ever been to. I have an IPhone with AT&T which worked there most of the time. The signal would come and go.
Anyone looking for an out of the way, quiet, secluded beach, this is the place. But don’t tell anyone else!
Beth, I agree! I think Site#103 is probably the nicest one in Shady Pines. The access is good and you get to watch the sunset through the trees from your front window. We felt VERY lucky that we booked it. Cheers for the info on the AT&T connectivity…that’s good to know. Enjoy your trip back there. I’m jealous already 🙂 Nina
John Richardson says
I really enjoy your reviews. We thought we were familiar with the area, but have never wandered that far east along the coast. It looks like an awesome park. Thank you!
Glad you like them! I’ve heard St. George is lovely too although we didn’t make it out there. Definitely hope to come back to the area. It’s high on our lists of favorites. Nina
Thanks so much for all the info and the wonderful pictures. This is a park that I need to look into further.
Thank you for your excellent site — it’s been a fun internet rabbit hole. Seeing this entry reminds me of my visit to St. Joe and Cape San Blas. Under-discovered Florida at it’s best. While there, visit Apalachicola. I look forward to returning at some point. If you need a commercial, overly-developed beach experience, avoid this place. Otherwise, enjoy!
When you stayed/booked did you see a 38ft limit on the campsites? The park website now only lists sites for 38ft or below…Just curious…I know you have The Beast and it fit…I’m within a foot, so I booked anyway…just wondering if they turn a blind eye or if they are getting more conservative…any thoughts are appreciated!
Hmmm…no I think when we went there was a 40-foot limit, and the site we fit into was actually rated a tad smaller. I think you’ll be fine. I can’t imagine anyone is going to measure you as you go in,