As you take sunset stroll down the deserted beach, your bare feet sink into powdery, sugar white sand. A splash in the clear blue Gulf waves catches your eye, and you look up to see a pod of dolphins frolicking nearby. As you stop to admire them, you spy a Royal Tern diving into the surf to catch dinner.
Where is this magical place? Believe it or not, it’s not a fairy tale. It’s Franklin County’s very own slice of paradise: Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park.
Nestled on the eastern end of a barrier island, St. George Island State Park encompasses nine miles of undeveloped beaches. Teeming with local wildlife and breathtaking Gulf views, this park is an absolute dream-come-true for nature lovers. It’s no wonder why Dr. Beach voted St. George Island State Park the third best beach in the nation in 2015!
In addition to unbridled beauty, St. George Island State park offers tons of recreational opportunities, from birding, hiking and fishing to swimming, sunbathing and shelling to kayaking, camping and wildlife watching. A favorite destination for anglers and beachgoers, St. George Island State Park also serves up magnificent Gulf sunsets and the best stargazing opportunities in the Florida panhandle.
On the Gulf side of the park, visitors will enjoy sparkling blue waters and miles of sugar-white shoreline. In the bay side’s natural marshes, you’ll discover eye-catching wading birds and abundant saltwater fish.
The park’s system of nature trails wind through scrubs and pine forests. If you plan to hike, be sure to pack your binoculars. St. George Island State Park birders often spot bald eagles, red cockaded woodpeckers and countless other rare birds.
St. George Island State Park also offers tons of amenities, including restrooms, a playground, shower station, campgrounds, a boat ramp, a canoe/kayak launch, parking and more.
Hurricane Recovery Update
In October 2018, Hurricane Michael tore through St. George Island, leveling dunes and causing damage to some of the park’s facilities. Over the past few months, staff and volunteers have been working hard to clear debris and get the park back to normal.
Thanks to these determined workers and community groups, St. George Island Park officially reopened to visitors on March 1, 2019. Today, the park’s boat ramps, kayak rentals and camping facilities are open and ready for visitors. However, some parts of the park remain closed as recovery efforts continue. For the most current information on available amenities and conditions, visit the Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park website or call 850-927-2111.
If you’re a nature lover looking for an untouched beach getaway, add St. George Island Park to your must-visit list. Check out all of our Parks & Sites in Franklin County.