St Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve lands provide the opportunity for natural resource-based recreation. Multi-use trails are available for hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, photography and nature study.
Make sure to bring plenty of water, and remember cell phone reception is spotty. Some roads may be seasonally flooded, and biting insects may be numerous in the warmer months. Preserve lands are open to the public from sunrise until sunset daily.
Visit the Buffer Preserve’s Visitor Center for trail maps of the Buffer Preserve, educational exhibits about the plants and animals of the Preserves, and information about all kinds of outdoor activities in this area.
Main Tract Trails
Access the Main Tract trails from any one of three preserve gates, the Main Gate “across the street” from the visitor center on State Road 30A, South and Island Gates from County Road 30A. Visitor parking and information is provided at each gate access.
Main Gate: Cattle Dip and North Spur Trails start about .25 miles from the gate. The Main gate is “across the street” from the visitor center and provides parking and an information kiosk with trail maps.
South Gate: Sandridge Loop Trail is about 2 miles round trip. Sandridge Loop traverses an ancient dune remnant so be prepared to walk on soft sand!
Island Gate: Island Loop Trail is about 0.9 miles round trip.
Deal Tract Trails and Kayak Launch
Access to Deal Tract and the Kayak Launch may be found on State Road 30E (Cape San Blas Road). Visitor parking and information is provided at each access.
Old Pine Bay Trail: A 0.5 mile trail along an old dune ridge takes you to the bay waterfront.
Hammock Spur: This 0.1 mile spur off Old Pine Bay Trail leads to an oak hammock.
The Deal Tract is a destination on:
The Great Florida Birding Trail
The Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail
Please follow these guidelines while visiting
St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve:
- Visitors are welcome to explore the Preserve from sunrise to sunset daily.
- Trails are available for hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, photography, and nature studies.
- Dogs must be kept on a leash and cleaned up after.
- Do not remove cultural artifacts, plants or animals.
- No alcoholic beverages are welcome in the Preserve.
- Primitive camping by permit only. For more information, please call the Preserve Office: 850-229-1787.