Thursday, July 16, 2015

Floridian Nature Spot of the Week: St. Joseph Pennisula State Park

If you are looking for a great place to enjoy Floridian nature, you should check out St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Its miles of fine natural beach are good for swimming and fishing. With miles of white sugar sand, this park has one of the top rated beaches in the United States. Sunbathing, snorkeling, and swimming are popular activities along the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Bay. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, and bicycling. From offshore, canoeists and kayakers can take in a superb view of the high dunes and sand pine scrub. The fall is best for catching large redfish, sharks, bluefish, and flounder, while spring is excellent for pompano, whiting, and speckled trout.

Indians once inhabited the peninsula and gathered shellfish for meals from the bay's shallow waters. Before the area was purchased for development as a state park, it was used as a U.S. Army training facility during World War II.
Named for lifelong community leader and settler T.H. Stone, the park is teeming with wildlife and marine life. Noted as an excellent birding area with sitings of 209 species currently recorded, it is a premier location in the eastern United States for observing hawks during fall migration. Many species can be seen including the endangered peregrine falcon.

The monarch butterfly is also on the wing in autumn, making its long migratory journey from northern states to wintering sites in Mexico. Shore and wading birds are in abundance throughout the year.

The park offers picnicking, swimming, camping, saltwater fishing, boating and wilderness hiking in the park's 1,650-acre wilderness preserve. St. Joseph offers luxury, furnished cabins located on the bay side of the park. Each cabin is a two-story elevated building. They have open lofts with two double beds, a sleeper sofa and daybed. Each has an equipped kitchen, bathroom and living area. Linens and towels are given at the beginning of the visit. For extended visits, visitors are encouraged to bring extra towels. There are 119 campsites with water, electricity, picnic tables and grills.

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