The third in a four-part series

 

 

Ed. Note: This is the third of four (Econfina River, May 3, Bald Point, April12) Day Trips from Port St. Joe, each covering a visit to a coastal Florida State Park on the eastern Panhandle. One can do all four in one trip with the furthest east being about a 2-hour drive. Or, if time permits and you’re of an exploratory, out-doorsy nature, then 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.

 

Less than 65 miles east of Port St. Joe (about an hour-and-a-quarter drive) and not far from the magically named town of Sopchoppy, located 5 miles to the north, is situated a jewel of a state park, this one known as the Ochlockonee River State Park. We guess that it would come as no surprise when we advise that the park’s main attraction is said river and all that goes with it. The park seems to be a great place to get away for a day, a weekend or a week.

Gorgeous river scenery, modern boating facilities, great fishing, fabulous (and unusual) wildlife and a full-facility campground and RV Park are all at your disposal here at ORSP.

Although we didn’t observe any, there is a good-sized community of white squirrels at the park. The friendly Park Ranger told us all about them. She also advised that the Park boasts a single, female piebald deer, a white-tailed doe with a genetic defect which produces a white, near-albino appearance (although this local specimen is not considered a true albino).

Piebald is an exceptionally rare condition and only affects 1 percent of the white-tailed deer population. The local resident apparently is observed with frequency but unfortunately not so during our visit….at least not by us.

There is also swimming available at the point where the Ochlockonee River and the Dead River intersects. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at the Ranger Station and the boat launching facilities for larger, powered boats are ultra-modern and handicap friendly.

Trails allow visitors to explore the park and see some of the diverse wildlife, including the red-cockaded woodpecker and many other species of birds and animals (including the enigmatic white specimens mentioned earlier).

Lastly, there is a scenic, earthen loop road which offers the visitor a feeling of being deep in the woods. Along the drive, too, is a beautiful and lonely reflection pond.

Ochlockonee River State Park has nearly everything a day-tripper could ask for. Why not give it a go?