Since 1966, Rocky Bayou State Park has welcomed visitors for daytime fun and overnight camping on the north shore of Choctawhatchee Bay. Within its 357 acres you’ll find old-growth long leaf pine trees, rare plants and animals, three hiking trails, and plenty of picnic spots to set up your base camp for a day full of adventures.
The park is named for Colonel Fred Gannon, Director of Civil Engineering at Eglin Air Force Base, who was instrumental in converting it to a public recreational facility. In the late 1950s, Gannon proposed designs for the new park and initial construction began under his direction. Shortly after completion of the road and trail work, the lands were leased from the U.S. Forest Service and became part of the Florida State Park system. In 2005, the state assumed ownership of the property through a State-Federal land exchange.
Here's a quick visual overview of Rocky Bayou State Park.
Water sports are what you’re really after here and there are plenty of them. A double boat ramp with twin docks lets boaters launch easily and there is plenty of trailer parking. The park’s location makes it easy to get to Choctawhatchee Bay and into the gulf in no time. Overnight docking is not permitted, so boats must be out of the water by sunset. Ramp fees are $5.00.
There are three hiking trails in the park, one accessible from the picnic area and two from the campgrounds. The Red Cedar Trail is an easy loop through a forest of flowering dogwood, yaupon holly, Choctawhatchee sand pine, and southern red cedar. The Sand Pine Trail is a loop that follows the Eastern Shore of Puddin Head Stream, which is a rare habitat unique to this area. Here you’ll see several species of aquatic plants, including the rare pitcher plant and Florida Anise. The third trail is the Rocky Bayou Trail which borders the picturesque shoreline of the bayou.
Camping reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.
Campers may also use the day-use facilities. There are picnic tables and pavilions with barbecue grills, a public shower, a children’s playground, and a fitness trail with various workout stations that are much better than the gym because they come with a bayou view.
With beautiful sunsets over the bayou, Rocky Bayou State Park is popular as a wedding venue. The pavilions are available to rent after sunset year round and daytime rentals are available September through May. For more information call Carolyn, the Events Coordinator, at (850) 269-1062. She is in the office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park General Information
Hours of Operation:
$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass
Additional User Fees:
$75.00 per day, plus tax, for Pavilion rental.
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