By Kevin Mims

As a full-time RV'er I can honestly say that Florida State Parks offer the best bang for the buck for outdoor recreation and camping in Florida. Some state park campgrounds are small and nestled deep in the woods while others are smack dab in the middle of the action. However you choose to camp you will surely find what you are looking for at Florida's award-winning state park system.

I'm just leaving from a nine-night St. Andrews State Park camping trip in Panama City Beach and can say that the experience was fantastic. Although the campground was completely full (that's to be expected in the summer months) and there was a slight issue with low voltage (another thing that may happen during the summer months) this spot gets my vote for one of the best parks in the state. Families if you want to hang out at the beach this is the place for you.

Our site was directly on Grand Lagoon which provided us with a small private beach and great paddleboard launching area. From here we spent most evenings cruising from our site to Sandy Point and back watching dolphins as we paddled along. Grand Lagoon has a ton of boat traffic out in the middle but along the edge near the park's shoreline the water is pretty shallow and safe for paddlers.

Of course we spent time away from our site too. The beach at St. Andrews State Park is incredible (we paddled there too) and there's a shuttle that can get you over to Shell Island. For wildlife watchers there are several places where the birding is fantastic and you can expect to see deer lots of times in the evenings and early mornings. 

If you are after a camping experience that offers a little bit of everything (beach trails wildlife etc.) then consider a stop at St. Andrews State Park. I'm positive you'll have a blast.  

For more information about camping in St. Andrews, check out