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Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park

4281 State Road 20
Niceville, FL 32578

850-833-9144

This beautiful park’s centerpiece is Rocky Bayou, the trailing arm of Choctowhatchee Bay, popular for boating and fishing. A prime spot for saltwater fishing, visitors also enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing and observing the park’s diverse wildlife communities. End your day in this relaxing refuge with a stunning Panhandle sunset.

Annual special events include Pioneer Day in November and Estuary Day in May. Other events and ranger programs are available.

Experiences

Bicycling
A popular past time at the park, take a leisurely ride on the park’s approximately three miles of paved road. Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under. To preserve the natural areas of the park, bicycles are limited to roadways and are not permitted on any footpaths.

Boating
Boaters can 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. Overnight docking is not permitted, and all boaters must pay entrance fees to access the park.

Camping
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. Four of these sites are ADA accessible and conveniently located next to the heated and air-conditioned shower facility. An emergency telephone, laundry and vending machines are also located within the campground. Pets are welcome.

Maximum RV length = 50 ft.
Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.
Paddling
Bring your own canoe or kayak or rent one from the park for a day of adventure exploring the wonders of Rocky Bayou and nearby freshwater stream. This rare community is a designated Aquatic Preserve.  It is often possible to see dolphins and otters, as well as various migrant fowl, such as the rare trumpeter swan. With the occasional sighting of bald eagle, this trail is a favorite among bird watchers. Enjoy the tranquil and serene environment away from the noise and the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Fishing
With a freshwater stream feeding the tidal influenced Rocky Bayou, the park offers many varieties of fishing. 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.

All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season.  A fishing license may be required.  More information is available at the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
Geo-Seeking
Explore the park in a new and challenging way. Experienced Geocachers have requested permission to hide caches containing trinkets, treasures, or information in various places around the park.  Please check the Geocaching website for the most current and up-to-date information and clues to locate these caches.

Operation Recreation GeoTour
Hiking
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 Stream. This stream is a rare habitat unique to this area, which 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, estuarine sea grass beds.  It is often possible to see dolphins and otters, as well as various migrant fowl, such as the rare trumpeter swan.  The occasional sighting of bald eagle, make this trail a favorite among bird watchers.

Wildlife Viewing
Wildlife viewing is possible at this park.

Amenities

Pets
Pets are permitted in designated day-use areas and the camping area. Pets are not permitted on beaches or playgrounds, in bathing areas, or any park buildings. They must be kept on a hand-held leash that is six feet or shorter and be well-behaved at all times. Pet owners are required to pick up after their pets and properly dispose of their droppings. Available throughout the park are courtesy mutt mitts. Service animals are welcome in all areas of Florida State Parks.

Boat Ramp
Boaters can 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. Overnight docking is not permitted, and all boaters must pay entrance fees to access the park. $5 Boat ramp fee.

Picnic Pavilion
Two picnic pavilions are available for use and have barbecue grills. They provide the perfect place to enjoy lunch with family and friends. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all day-use areas of the park, including picnic pavilions.

The pavilions are available to rent for weddings and other special events. Late afternoon rentals are available year-round, and daytime rentals are available Labor Day weekend through Memorial Day weekend. For more information contact Anne Marie, the events coordinator, at 850-269-1062

Playground
For your children’s enjoyment, a new modern playground facility is conveniently located in the day use are near the picnic pavilion overlooking the Rocky Bayou. For your child’s safety please insure that adult supervision is provided at all times.

Shower Station
Public showers are provided.

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