2.4 miles south of Panacea lies the tranquil bayside community of Ochlockonee Bay, which offers fishing supplies, deli food, coastal home rentals at realty offices, RV camping, gas stations, and restaurants. On your right you will see the Wakulla County Regional Airport, with a grass runway for small planes. During the summer airplane rides and skydiving are offered here. At the blinking traffic light before the Ochlockonee Bay Bridge turn right (west) onto Surf Road, which leads some 3.6 miles past private coastal homes to the entrance of another portion of the Panacea Unit of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Alternatively, turn left at the blinking traffic light onto Mashes Sands Road to visit this small but attractive county park.
Side Trip: Mashes Sands Recreation Area, Wakulla County Park
Directions: Turn left (east) from US 98 onto Mashes Sands Road for 2.7 miles.
Description: A nice place to view Apalachee Bay, watch Dolphins, cast for Mullet and, at low tide, walk the sandbars to see a great variety of shorebirds, including Black Skimmers. Good mile-long loop walk. From the beach parking lot walk along the road past the marsh ponds, then turn into the parking lot for the bike trail and fishing pier, walk to the water, go left past the fishing pier along the Bay, then back to the beach parking lot.
Facilities: Sand beach, restrooms, fishing pier, boat landing, picnic tables, tidal marshes, and trailhead for Ochlockonee Bay Trail. The 15-mile trail, currently under construction, will travel alongside Mashes Sands Road and Surf Road through the Panacea Unit of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge to another trailhead near Sopchoppy.
Activities: Beachcombing, bird and wildlife watching, picnicking, biking (when the trail is completed), boating, fishing.
Minimum time to allow: 30 minutes.
Fee: Yes (summer).
Hours: 9:00-5:00 Monday-Friday, 10:00-4:00 Saturday, 12:00-4:00 Sunday
Contact: P: 850-926-7227