Camping on the beach at St. George's

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 27-April 2, 1997
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Camping on the beach at St. George's
Question: Florida's panhandle? I remember an Outside article three or four years back on secluded beaches, St.George's perhaps? Any info or any beach camping spots?

Atlanta, GA
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: St. George's isn't ringing any bells, but I can offer a couple of alternative camping suggestions. Grayton Beach State Recreation Area, for one, isn't too shabby, thanks to its 30-foot-high quartzite sand dunes (compliments of the '95 hurricane season) and crystal-clear Gulf of Mexico water. The recreation area is a mile-long stretch of sand between Grayton Beach and Seaside--midway along the Panhandle--with 37 campsites and a nature trail that winds through salt marsh and pine forest; bring your Styrofoam container full of worms and rod and try your luck on the adjacent fishing pond.

For more camping info, call the park office at 904-231-4210. Farther west, another good bet is Perdido Key State Recreation Area, practically on the Louisiana border. Prepare to be slightly repulsed by the traffic jam of parked cars and the hordes of sun-baked beach bums at the entrance to Gulf Islands National Seashore, of which Perdido is part. Keep the faith, though, and drive past the mayhem (after paying your $4 entry fee) another 2 miles to the end of the road. Park on the shoulder and then head out with your gear; the grassy dunes open up a half-mile ahead and the sugar-white beach (300 yards wide in some places) is yours for the camping. Pitch your tent anywhere on the sand and then get down to business: surf-casting for sea trout and snorkeling after sand dollars. A word of caution: Beware the occasional jellyfish. For details, call the ranger station at 904-934-2621.

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