First in a series on state parks

Ed.’s note: This is the first in a series of four Day Trips from Port St. Joe, each covering a visit to a coastal Florida State Park on the eastern Panhandle. All four can be visited in one trip with the furthest park east being about a 2-hour drive. Or, if time permits and you’re of an exploratory, out-doorsy nature, then you might consider one park per trip, or two trips of two each. There’s plenty to do in each facility. Whichever combo you choose, we wish you happy and safe travels.

As far as unspoiled, old Florida coastal scenery is concerned, it’s hard to beat Bald Point……not the pen, the park. Located about 70 miles east of Port St. Joe and consuming less than an hour and a half to get there, Bald Point State Park, in reality located on Alligator Point, offers a multitude of land and water activities. It’s here where the waters of Ochlockonee Bay meet those of the Gulf of Mexico (actually Apalachee Bay, but we won’t argue).

There’s three beach access points and the white sandy strand is more than available (read: not crowded) for swimming, sunning, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing. There’s also two picnic areas with pavilions, grills and restrooms, plus several other picnic tables available throughout the facility.

At the far north end of the park is a protected and modern boat and fishing dock. Flounder, redfish, trout or mullet will typically be included in your catch-of-the-day.

The park has five trail heads providing access to some 20 miles of hiking trails. Maps are available at the trail heads.

Also, at the park’s north end is access to a lengthy birding boardwalk which takes the visitor across acres of marshland and provides opportunities to observe migrating birds and waterfowl. Each fall, eagles and other migrating raptors, as well as thousands of monarch butterflies, are commonly seen heading south for the winter.

This unique park is a recreational treasure trove and a nature lover’s paradise. Spend a day or just an hour or two. You won’t be disappointed.