At the far western tip of the park, the Wilderness Preserve within St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is a special place.
It’s an unsullied sweep of windswept coastal scrub and sand dunes stretching seven miles to the tip of Cape San Blas, where St. Joseph Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.
Camp along a beach with powdery white sand and watch the stars come out on a shoreline all your own for the night.
Or explore a portion of the trail system to experience one of the rare and fragile coastal scrub habitats remaining along Florida’s Gulf coast, with tall dunes as bright as snow.
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Length: Up to 14 miles round-trip
Trailhead: 29.788950, -85.406417
Address: 8899 Cape San Blas Rd, Port St. Joe
Fees: $6 per vehicle
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM to sunset. Leashed dogs welcome.
Reservations must be made in advance for backcountry camping. Call ahead to confirm a spot and pay a $5 camping fee when you arrive.
From Port St. Joe, follow SR 30A to SR 30E; continue on SR 30E until it ends in the state park. Continue into the park and follow the state park entrance road to the very end to reach the trailhead for the wilderness preserve.
A 6 mile linear trail follows an arc to the tip of Cape San Blas through coastal habitats on an ever-narrowing spit of land.
The interior trails of the wilderness area are marked with yellow posts. Bicycles are permitted, but it would be quite a workout to use one in the soft sand.
Side trails lead to designated campsites and to the beach, which you can walk on the return hike. Expect difficult footing in soft sand.
Currently, these fourteen primitive sites are the only place you can camp at this state park. None are near the trailhead parking area, and it’s no walk in the park, even for a day hike.
You must pack in all the water you need, and pack out ALL of your trash, including toilet paper, from this sensitive coastal habitat.
Three sites are within a mile of the trailhead. The farthest one is six miles out, near the Cape.
Sites 3, 11, 12, and 14 can also be reached by sea kayak. Reserve your campsite online in advance of your visit.
Learn more about St Joseph Peninsula State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.