The Oaks by the Bay Park is a quiet retreat just to the south of the restaurants and shops in historic St. Andrews. With its location right along the edge of the bay, this park serves as a fantastic spot for taking a stroll along the boardwalk at any hour of the day. The best time to come is in the evening, however, when you can watch the sky light up in an amazing array of colors as the sun goes down.
Historical buildings and ancient trees up the ante, making this park a must-see for locals and tourists alike. You can check out the stagecoach house, for example, which once housed travelers as they looked to buy land in this region. Or take some time to marvel at the gigantic oak tree that has marked the center of the park for as long as anyone can remember.
The only thing missing these days is the four-headed palm tree, which used to draw visitors from far and wide. Unfortunately, as Hurricane Michael blew through, the palm tree proved no match for the high winds that whipped it around mercilessly. In the future, new trees will hopefully grow in its place, though plans are still in development at this time.
Top things to do at this park:
Watch the Sunset Along the Boardwalk
Once you reach the water’s edge, you can walk along the beautiful boardwalk and take in the breathtaking views all around. As you gaze across St. Andrews Bay in the evening, the most beautiful sunset will come into view, treating you to a wondrous sight as far as you can see. The sunrise is nearly as amazing to see from this vantage point, though you have to get up quite early to catch it.
Take Pictures at the Old Sentry Oak Tree
Although the four-headed palm tree was whisked away by Hurricane Michael, the Old Sentry oak tree still stands proud at the center of the park. So, bring along a camera and use it as a backdrop for your photographs. You will delight in seeing those pictures as the years go by and the tree continues to grow and grow.
Celebrate Your Special Occasions at the Gazebo
Birthdays, anniversaries, and even weddings are always a blast when held at the gazebo in this park. The gorgeous brick façade works well as a beautiful backdrop, while the power hookups allow for creative decorating and more. The grassy area nearby is great for kids in the party who want to roll, tumble, and just generally not sit still during the party.
The rules have changed, and you can now bring your dog along for the ride and let them explore the park by your side. Remember to control your pup with voice commands or keep them on a long leash to prevent incidents with other visitors. Either way, they will love splashing along the waterline and taking in all the sights, scents, and sounds in this popular green space.
– The park does not have any restrooms on-site, so keep your visits short or have an alternate plan. There are shops and a marina nearby, but their bathrooms are only for paying customers.
– Locals often come here to find and hide painted rocks. Keep an eye out for those treasures to take home a custom souvenir, and then consider coming back to hide your own.
– There is a small parking lot right outside the park that is free for public use.