St. George Island, FL

January 28-31, 2010 We stayed at St. George Island State Park, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and Appalachicola Bay.

St. George Island is just a big sand dune, a 22-mile barrier island between Apalachicola Bay and Gulf of Mexico, a quiet island surrounded by nine miles of scraggly slash pines, coastal scrub, white sand beaches, oyster shells, gulls, and balls of blowing sea foam rolling up the shore.

In the 1900s the pine forests were turpentined and the dunes used for troop training exercises during World War II. The island became a state park in 1963.

Source: Florida State Parks

St. George Island State Park campground also accommodates alligators in the marshes that border the entrance road. You have to pass them to get in or out of the park and to and from the beach.

We wondered if the fisherman that went along with the abandoned cart below intended to fish with the gators, but we looked around and found no one. Then we wondered something else on account of the 11 foot gator basking in the sun to the left of the tree.

The fisherguy came along in a minute and began toting his cart toward the beach. He'd have a set up similar to this:

Source: Florida State Parks

Surf and bay fisherman catch flounder, redfish, sea trout, pompano, whiting and sometimes Spanish mackerel.

Most St. George Island houses perch on pillars.

And some reach high for the best views.

The dune on one side, the sea on the other:

In our search for high speed internet, we crossed the 4-mile John Gorrie Memorial Bridge from the island to Apalachicola and found Cafe Con Leche on Water Street. The cafe features organic dark roast coffee, scrumptious breakfast paninis, fresh baked pastries as well as art and boutique items. 

Apalachicola has a lot of character. Old waterfront warehouses and net factories have become galleries, shops, restaurants and hotels. Once the third largest port on the Gulf of Mexico, Apalachicola still boasts an active maritime culture and a working waterfront.

We highly recommend St. George Island State Park for campers, beach-walkers, cyclists, kite flyers, anglers, and for the lazy. ;) We wish we could've stayed longer.