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St. George Island Florida Things To Do

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st. george island lighthouse

Beautiful St. George Island Florida is located in Franklin County on the Gulf of Mexico and a yearly trek for me and my family. We usually drive out of Tallahassee where my daughters live by heading south on US 363 then turning onto US 98.

On our last drive, we stopped at Carabelle Beach which is a dog friendly beach. Other trips, however, brings me from Apalachicola across Apalachicola Bay over the St. George Island Bridge onto St. George Island.

Whichever way you choose to get there, be ready for the breathtaking views you will see along the way.

Where is St. George Island?

St. George Island is located in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Florida. It is part of a chain of barrier islands that run from Cape San Blas to Apalachicola.

The island is approximately 22 miles long and 2 miles wide, with a population of around 1,000 people. It is a popular tourist destination for those that know about it.

White-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant vegetation all greet you as you drive over the bridge onto the island.

How to get to St. George island?

The closest airport to St. George Island, is Tallahassee International Airport. From there, rent a car and drive east on Highway 98 until you reach the island. The drive will take about two and a half hours.

Love road trips? This is definitely one for the books. To drive to St. George Island off I-10, take the Bob Sikes Cut-Off. The Cut-Off is located about 15 miles east of Pensacola and will take you directly to the island.

st. george island

Crossing the bridge over the bay to the island is beyond breathtaking. St. George Island is roughly 22 miles long and holds some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States.

The drive is a beautiful one, with views of the Gulf of Mexico on one side and forested wetlands on the other. Once you reach the island, there are several ways to explore it.

Once you are on the island, you can drive or bike or catch a ride on the St. George Island Shuttle. The shuttle makes stops at several points around the island, including the beach, grocery store, and park.

St. George Island, Florida Things To Do

St. George Island Lighthouse

There are plenty of things to do on vacation on St. George Island, Florida. One great activity everyone loves to do is to visit the St. George Island Lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built in 1856 and is still operational today. It’s open for tours from 10am to 4pm daily, and it’s a beautiful sight to see.

The higher you climb the circular stairs, the more narrow it becomes. Once you finish your stair climb, save a bit of energy for the final push into the lighthouse.

We climbed to the top 92 steps to be exact and then climbed up a ladder into the top of the lighthouse. WHAT A VIEW!

As you glance out through the glass, you will see miles of undeveloped beaches, beautiful homes along with St. George Island Vacation Rentals. On the eastern end of the island, you will find Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park.

Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park.

The state park on the island is a great place for wildlife viewing, or a nature hike or bike ride on the many nature trails. There are also several trails that lead down to the beach.

On the Gulf side of the park, you will find clear gulf waters and white sand beaches. On the bay side, you find unspoiled nature and a variety of activities nature lovers cannot wait to explore.

Bring your binoculars! The Bay side shoreline is very active during the summer months. Watch for glimpses of loggerhead sea turtles and shorebirds such as the snowy plover, least tern, willet and black skimmer. All build their nests within the park.

Love to camp? Bring your tent, RV or rent a cabin. Fair warning. This state park is booked year round so start planning your trip early.

Fishing

Another fun activity is to go fishing. There are plenty of great fishing spots around the island, and you’re likely to catch some big fish. Be sure to bring your tackle box and sunscreen, as the sun can be quite strong here.

The waters around the island are clear and also perfect for shelling, swimming and boating.

St. George Island Beaches

If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing, you can always go swimming or sunbathing on one of the serene beaches here. The sand is white, and the water is crystal clear, making for a perfect day at the beach.

st. george island florida beaches

Be sure to take time and enjoy fun water activities including paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing.

Shopping And Dining

Be sure to make time to check out all the great restaurants and shops in town. There’s something for everyone here, so be sure to explore all of your options.

Our favorite and the restaurant we always go back to is the Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe. Like its name, it sits ocean front, and you can watch the waves while enjoying a tropical cocktail with an umbrella.

I’m not the one to ask about the menu though as I always get their delicious burger and fries. But everyone that I have taken to this great place has loved their meals.

You can leave your car parked in the public lot. It is a short walk from the café to the historic lighthouse.

In addition to the Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe, there are several great places to eat on St. George Island. I have not visited yet this year (2022) but these restaurants were there my last visit.

One of the best is The Cottage Cafe, which is a local favorite for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast options are many from pancakes and omelets to lunch specials of sandwiches and salads.

Next is The Fish House specializing in you guessed it, fresh seafood. Both casual and formal dining. They also have a huge selection of seafood dishes to choose from.

Prefer upscale? Hit the Sunset Grill at the historic Sundown Inn. Contemporary American cuisine with a Gulf Coast twist and a wonderful wine list.

Finally, be sure to stop and visit Paddy’s Raw Bar. Fun waterfront bar and restaurant with seafood, draft beers & daily live music and entertainment.

Where to stay on St. George Island.

There are several beach cottages and homes available for rent along with a few hotels. The Gibson Hotel in Apalachicola feels like a step back in time to Old Florida, but other options include the Inn at Bay Pointe, the Dolphins Den, and the Lighthouse Inn.

The Inn at Bay Pointe is a luxurious waterfront inn with beautiful guest rooms that have private balconies overlooking the bay. You will also find a heated pool, a fitness center, and a variety of water sports activities.

Prefer something other than a hotel or inn? The Dolphins Den is a lovely bed and breakfast located just steps from the beach. Beautiful rooms with private decks or patios and includes a continental breakfast each morning.

The Lighthouse Inn is another option for those that prefer a B&B. A historic bed and breakfast located in the heart of St. George Island. Beautiful rooms with harbor views, afternoon refreshments and a hot breakfast each morning.

VRBO has some amazing beach houses for rent. Check them out here: St. George Island Beach Homes for rent

Tips to make your St. George Island Florida vacation a memorable one

Shhh. Don’t tell anyone but there are a few secrets and tips for vacationing on St. George Island that will make your trip even better. Here are a few of them:

  1. Rent a golf cart. Fun to get around the island but also the best way to see everything. There are plenty of places to rent golf carts, but you will want to reserve yours in advance.
  2. More active? Rent a bicycle and explore the island. The island is small enough that you can easily explore the full island by bike. There are several bike rental companies on the island.
  3. Vacation during off-season. This is exactly when I visit. The island is busier during the summer months which is why I prefer fall and winter. If you’re looking for a vacation that would be the time for you to visit also. You will enjoy all the beaches and restaurants, but without the crowds.
  4. Book a beach house. If you really want to feel like you’re on vacation, book a beach house for your stay. There are so many options from multi-story luxury beach homes to a small quaint beach cottage. Check with St. George Island Vacation Rentals.
  5. Take a fishing charter or one of the many boat tours. Excellent fishing is definitely a popular activity on St. George Island, and there are plenty of fishing charters to choose from. Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or a beginner, you will find something perfect for you.
  6. There are no high rises or chain stores on this natural barrier island. You will find a gift shop or two, art galleries, antique shops, and some of the best beaches in Florida.

Other things to keep in mind

After booking your vacation stay on St. George Island, Florida, there are a few things to keep in mind to make the most of your trip.

The first is that many of the roads on the island are narrow and can be difficult to drive on. It is extremely important to pay attention to the signs.

Next, many of the restaurants and shops on the island don’t open until 10 or 11am. If you’re looking for an early breakfast, you’ll need to go into town or pick up groceries for your beach house or hotel.

Upcoming Trip?

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About Denise

Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH.  Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise

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