St. Andrew's State Recreational Area
World's Best Beach 1995
St. Andrew's State Recreational Area, Florida was Travel Magazine's choice for World's Best Beach in 1995. It is fondly known for its ecological delights, soft white sand and plentiful water recreation opportunities. Nature lovers come to explore more than 1,200 acres of unspoiled beaches, dunes, pinewoods and marshes - not to mention boundless wildlife sightings. Underwater enthusiasts are in their element with some of the best scuba diving Florida has to offer.
While you can walk the beach, swim, Jet Ski or just soak up the sun, most people come for:
- Diving and snorkeling: With more than 50 artificial reef sites to draw fish and divers, the area provides plenty of underwater exploration opportunities.
- Fishing: Fresh water fishing at the park's Alligator Lake is almost guaranteed to yield a catch, but you might steal a rare peek at an alligator while you're waiting for a bite.
Many of St. Andrew's attractions are underwater. Historical wrecks include a 220-foot WWII tug boat called The Chippewa; the S.S. Tarpon, a 160-foot sunken coastal freighter; and the Gulf of Mexico's most infamous wreck, the 465-foot Empire Mica.
Like most of the Panama City Beach area, major events include:
- Ironman Florida (November): Competitors swim, bike and run this grueling 140-mile route.
- Spring Break: From mid-February to April, students flock to nearby Panama City. But the nature area? Not so much.
Panama City Beach has all the nightlife you can handle. From cozy pubs to the largest club in the U.S., there's something for every mood and budget.
You can camp at St. Andrews or take advantage of more than 20,000 lodging options with beach side views - resorts, hotels, motels, rental condos or vacation townhouses. Prices range from budget motels to pricier resorts. Try the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce for great Florida holiday rental ideas.
Need to Know
- Just 3 miles east of Panama City
- Average annual temperature is 78 F.
- Water temperature averages 72 F.
- 176 campsites
- A new Environmental Interpretive Center
- Sightseeing pier
Unspoiled above and below the water St. Andrew's is a natural wonder. When you're ready to venture into the unspoiled, look into these St. Andrew's vacation ideas.
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