What to do in Rocky Bayou State Recreation Area

Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park was acquired in 1966 through a lease agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. The 357-acre recreation area was named for U.S. Air Force Colonial Fred Gannon who was instrumental in the construction of the park. The park is noted for its sandpine forest where large, mature sand pines tower over other scrub vegetation such as rosemary, reindeer moss and scrub oaks. Indian middens and artifacts can be seen throughout the park.

With one mile of shoreline running within the park, Rocky Bayou is the perfect location for fishing, boating and nature study. In addition to a fresh water lake, wetlands and submerged areas, Rocky Bayou attracts and supports an abundance of wildlife. Saltwater fish may be caught in Rocky Bayou. Access is provided by a boat ramp near the northwest corner of the park. Freshwater fishing is available where Rocky Creek flows into the bay. Salt and freshwater fishing licenses are required in Florida. Three trail loops are designated within the park. A self-guided booklet for the Sand Pine Trail interprets the natural values of the sandpine forest. The Rocky Bayou and Red Cedar nature trails meander through other prominent plant communities. Ranger-guided walks and campfire programs are offered seasonally. Campsites and picnic shelters overlook scenic Rocky Bayou, an arm of Choctawhatchee Bay.

Recreations availalbe at Rocy Bayou including camping, canoeing, boating, fishing, hiking, picnicking and swimming.

Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park is located five miles east of Niceville on State Route 20.

The panhandle area of Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. The average summer temperatures reach well above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild with temperatures averaging below 52 degrees Fahrenheit (below 11 Celsius). The average precipitation for the panhandle area is more than 60 inches per year. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.

4281 Highway 20
Niceville, FL 32578

Phone: 850-833-9144

  • Rocky Bayou State Recreation Area Travel Q&A