A Remote Island Paradise
Most islands in the Gulf of Mexico have now been over inhabited with condominiums stretching to the sky. While island living can be a gorgeous way to spend your life, there are still a couple islands unspoiled by man’s need for growth, traffic and other people. One such place is St. George Island just around “the Bend” area in the middle of the panhandle.
St. George Island is a 26-mile-long strip of land no more than about a mile in width at the widest point. In the middle of the island, homes are scattered along a two-mile strip for a few residents, restaurants and seasonal stores. There is the historic St. George Lighthouse that was a beacon for mariners entering Apalachicola Bay that attracts visitors. Mostly winter homes owned by snowbirds, who come down when northern temperatures begin to freeze, dot the shores of the island. At the east end of the island is the St. George Island State Park. On the west end of the island, there is a gated community of upscale homes that includes a very small airstrip.
The island, while inhabited, is very remote. Access is off Rt. 98 that crosses the panhandle along what is known as Florida’s Forgotten Coast. The four-mile-long bridge to St. George Island was completed in 2004. The previous bridge, built in 1965 was considered unsafe after being battered by several hurricanes. Before the bridges, you could only access the island by ferry.
The real story of the island is the nine miles of coast line on both sides of the island on the east end controlled by the state park system in Florida. There are about 60 full service campsites that are in a wooded area surrounded by dunes peppered in sea oats. People come to St. George Island State Park for bird watching, fishing the flats, hiking and biking. A visitor who just wants to stare at the beauty of the Gulf is rewarded by relatively untouched beaches that stretch the coast of the island. A day of walking the trails can be followed up with a lawn chair on a patch of sand just relaxing.
Your trip to St. George Island can easily be turned into a day trip by a few minute drive to Apalachicola for oysters or a stay at the interesting, but possibly haunted, Gibson Inn that evening. If you just want a cool beverage, one of Florida’s best dive bars, Harry’s, is in Carrabelle just a few minutes away on Rt. 98.
This is just another way to find the natural beauty Florida has in every area of the state. Our day trips keep life in Florida sensational!