Ask any local in Panama City where the best place to camp would be, and the answer unanimously is St. Andrews State Park. So we drove to the park and got the last campsite available! Call ahead and make reservations for this place as it is Very popular.
We LOVED the Interpretive Nature Center at the entrance to the park. The Nature Center offered a complete guide to the natural environment of the area, and all the wildlife living there. We loved the Loggerhead Sea Turtle exhibit, which showed us the 3 steps of a Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest. The eggs are layed in the sand on the beach, the eggs hatch, and then the baby turtles crawl out of their sand nest and scurry to the ocean waters. It was an excellent display, along with many others to see at the Nature Center.
Bryan loved the hands on guessing game, where you put your hands inside the box and try to guess what was inside. We both loved the butterfly exhibit, and all the additional drawers full of specimens to look at and learn.
They had examples of mammals, birds, and also living aquariums with fish to watch. They had a theater area with a movie showing all about the area's ecosystems and wildlife. Great Job guys!
The park has over 1,260 acres of trails, wildlife overlooks, picnic areas, boat launch, group camping, and family camping available. Our campsite was located right on the lagoon opposite of the Gulf of Mexico. We camped on the sand, which made it very easy to stake down the tent!
Two convenient camp stores have everything you could possibly want or need. Shaded pavilions, picnic areas, and boardwalks are plentiful, and can accommodate large groups easily.
The Jetties, as they call it, is the best place for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving in the area! The Jetty is a man made rocky breaker that breaks the waves and creates a safe, shallow swimming area perfect for little ones. As you go toward the Jetty area, it drops off and people were snorkeling and SCUBA diving.
Another popular excursion within the park is the Shell Island Shuttle which runs all day long. For the same price you can go for an hour or all day long, and explore the white fluffy beaches, relax, snorkel, swim, and find the perfect shells to take home!
An oncoming storm, made our stay more brief than we had anticipated, so we would really like to come back and swim longer, and also swim on the Gulf beaches! This is a great destination!