Place type

Rocky Bayou State Park

Rocky Bayou State Park was transformed from a bombing practice range during World War II to a picturesque state park. The property now preserves beautiful old-growth longleaf pine trees, several over 300 years old, that once dominated this area of Florida.

Rocky Bayou, the main feature of the park, is the trailing arm of Choctawhatchee Bay and is popular for boating and fishing. A double-lane boat ramp makes this one of the best boat launching locations on the bay, where both freshwater and saltwater fish are found.

Other opportunities for fun include hiking, bicycling, picnicking and wildlife viewing. Puddin Head Lake, at the center of the park, is a great spot for freshwater fishing and canoeing. A well shaded campground is available for full-facility camping. A popular past time at the park, take a leisurely bike ride on the park’s approx. 3 miles of paved road.

Boaters enjoy the convenient double access boat launching facility which provides access to Rocky Bayou, Choctawhatchee Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. A large parking area is provided in the boat ramp area to allow boaters enough room for their vehicle and boat trailer to park.

Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou is an excellent facility for campers, conveniently located near two of the park’s three beautiful nature trails, as well as a picnic pavilion overlooking the bayou. Whether tent campers or RV enthusiasts, 42 spacious, clean, shady sites will suit your needs. The sites each boast water and electric, a picnic table, and a fire ring and some have water views. A modern heated and air-conditioned bathhouse provides for your comfort needs.

Bring your own canoe or kayak for a day of adventure exploring the wonders of Rocky Bayou and nearby freshwater stream. With the stream, the tidal influenced Rocky Bayou, along with a freshwater lake, the park offers many varieties of fish. Some of the more common fish are mullet, trout, and flounder. Saltwater fish may be caught in Rocky Bayou while freshwater fishing is available where Rocky Creek flows into the bay. (Salt and freshwater fishing licenses are required in Florida.)

The Red Cedar Trail hosts the popular and impressive red cedar tree, along with many other varieties of plants, shrubs, and trees. Sand Pine Trail follows the Eastern Shore of Puddin Head Lake. This seven-and-a-half acre lake is a fragile ecosystem with several species of aquatic plants, such as the pitcher plant and Florida Anise. Adjacent to Sandpine Trail, lies Rocky Bayou Trail. The return loop of this trail follows the picturesque shoreline of the bayou. The park shoreline is home to our most fragile ecosystem, known as estuarine sea grass beds. This rare community has designated the waters as an Aquatic Preserve. Here, it is often possible to see dolphins and otters, as well as various migrant fowl, such as the rare trumpeter swan. Birds abound, and with the occasional sighting of the bald eagle, make this trail a favorite among bird watchers.

At a Glance