Rocky Bayou State Park

4281 State Road 20, Niceville, Florida, US, 32578 | Directions

U.S. Air Force Colonel Fred Gannon was instrumental in transforming this site from a bombing practice range during World War II to a picturesque state park. The property now preserves beautiful old?growth long leaf 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. Located on State Road 20, five miles east of Highway 85.

Full Facility Camping

Our park is an excellent facility for campers. Whether you are a tent camper or a RV enthusiast, we have 42 spacious, clean, shady sites that 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. The area is conveniently located near two of the park?s three beautiful nature trails, as well as a picnic pavilion overlooking the bayou. Reservations may be made through Reserve America at 1-800-326-3521.

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.



A popular past time at the park, take a leisurely ride on the park?s approx. 3 miles of paved road. For your safety, remember persons under the age of 16 years are required by state law to wear a properly fitting bike helmet. To preserve the natural areas of the park, bicycles are limited to roadways and are not permitted on any footpaths.

Nature Trails

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, lays 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.

From the west: Take Interstate 10 east to highway 85 south until you reach highway 20. Go east on highway 20. Park will be approximately 5 miles on the left. From the east: Take Interstate 10 west to highway 331 south until you reach highway 20.

Go west on highway 20 approximately 25 miles until you see signs for park on right.