If you’ve dreamed of camping on a deserted beach, here’s your chance. The westernmost tip of the St Joseph Peninsula is set aside for hikers to explore, a wilderness of windswept coastal scrub and sand dunes out to 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.
Location: Cape San Blas
Length: Up to 14 miles
Lat-Long: 29.788950, -85.406417
Type: Round-trip with side trails and loops possible using the beach
Fees / Permits: state park fee and permit for backcountry camping
Good for: camping, solitude
Difficulty: moderate to difficult
Bug factor:moderate to high (sand fleas!)
Restroom: No. Leave No Trace ethics apply in this fragile habitat.
From Port St. Joe, follow SR 30A to SR 30E; continue on SR 30E until it ends in the state park. Follow the state park entrance road to the very end to reach the trailhead for the wilderness preserve.
The 14-mile trail system leads to several designated campsites and to the cape on a series of trails through coastal habitats, many with difficult footing in the soft sand. It’s no walk in the park! You must pack in all the water you need, and pack out ALL of your trash, including toilet paper, from this sensitive coastal habitat. Call ahead if you plan to backpack, as only 25 campers are permitted overnight in the wilderness area each evening. Interior trails are marked with yellow posts. Bicycles are permitted, but it would be quite a workout to use one in the soft sand.