Table of Contents
- Getting To St George Island
- Top 5 Restaurants on St George Island
- Top 2 Sweet Shops on St George Island
- Off the Beaten Path: The Best Restaurant in Eastpoint
- What To Do: Top Activities on St George Island
- Where to Shop: Best Stores on St George Island
- Where to Eat in Apalachicola: Best Restaurants, Sweets, & Drinks
- What to Do: Shopping in Apalachicola
- Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for quiet, seaside serenity where you can avoid the crowded beaches, then look no further than a stay on St George Island.
Here, on this 22-mile barrier island off of Florida’s “Forgotten Coast,” you can surround yourself in tranquil island living without sacrificing any amenities.
Getting To St George Island
Driving – No matter which direction you are coming from, to get to St George Island, the road will eventually take you to U.S. Hwy 98.
The final leg of the journey is across the 4-mile Bryant Patton Memorial Bridge (St. George Island Bridge), which traverses Apalachicola Bay. It’s the 3rd longest bridge in Florida after 7 Mile Bridge to Key West and Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay. You know you’ve reached St. George Island when you see the centrally located 72 feet tall lighthouse.
Plantation Airport: A small, membership-only airport is available in the gated community known as The Plantation on St George Island. However, only homeowners can purchase a membership, and arrangements must be made in advance to fly in here if you are renting a home in The Plantation.
Tallahassee Airport: This is the closest airport available near St. George Island. Here you can rent a car and arrive at St George Island in less than 2 hours.
Staying There: Top 3 Rental Sites for St George Island
- VRBO | ST GEORGE ISLAND: Click Here for Rentals
- FICKLING VACATION RENTALS: Click Here for Rentals
- COLLINS VACATION RENTALS: Click Here for Rentals
Top 5 Restaurants on St George Island
Paddy’s Raw Bar
If you’re craving local, fresh from the Gulf, Apalachicola oysters, Paddy’s Raw Bar is the place to go on St. George Island.
A casual island hangout, Paddy’s Raw Bar features nine oyster preparations in addition to other tasty menu items like soups, salads, wraps, burgers, and even a tuna poke bowl. Wine and beer are the beverage features with a wide variety of beers on tap.
The Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe
There is an enclosed, air-conditioned dining room, but definitely choose to sit on one of their covered decks if the weather is nice. In the evenings, enjoy dining in the flickering glow of the tiki torches lit every night just after the sun sets.
If there’s a wait, no problem. Enjoy a tropical beverage at the tiki bar on the beach. The Blue Parrot even offers jet ski rentals from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. during the high season from March to October.
Harry A’s on the Bay
While the name may take a little getting used to, Harry A’s is another local favorite on St George Island. Harry A’s is situated on the bay side of the island and features live music and karaoke on the weekends.
If they’re available and you like shrimp, don’t miss out on the Royal Reds here – a sweeter, tastier variety of shrimp local to the Gulf Coast, which tastes more like lobster than shrimp.
Finally, the Key Lime Pie is the best on the island. So, save room.
The Beach Pit
The Beach Pit on St George Island is family and pet-friendly with a menu offering something for everyone. While the Beach Pit chefs specialize in Texas-style BBQ, there is also an emphasis on fresh seafood.
BJ’s Pizza & Subs
To me, there’s not much better than a fresh slice of pizza after spending the day at the beach. Of course, if I’m honest, I’m always up for pizza, but the added day at the beach makes the experience even better. I’ve only eaten at BJ’s Pizza & Subs once while staying on St George Island, but it was delicious and I highly recommend it. Here at BJ’s, they offer fresh salads, calzones, sandwiches, wraps, and of course homemade pizzas.
Top 2 Sweet Shops on St George Island
Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream
In business since 1993, no visit to St George Island is complete without a visit to Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream.
Indulge your sweet tooth with generous scoops of the creamy cold flavors heaped in your choice of a cup or a waffle cone. The shop is located in the upstairs space of the yellow building, and the decor is pure beachy fun.
Weber’s Little Donut Shop
Off the Beaten Path: The Best Restaurant in Eastpoint
Lynn’s Quality Oysters & Raw Bar
You really can’t beat the freshness, quality, and friendly service at Lynn’s Quality Oysters. It’s easy to miss, but you won’t soon forget it. It’s casual, bay-side dining at its best.
What To Do: Top Activities on St George Island
Enjoy a Day at the Beach
If you’re staying for any length of time on St. George Island, devote at least one day to relaxing on the beach.
I usually make it a point to seek out the sunset when I’m at the beach, but on St George Island, the sunrise is the showstopper. In the summer months, the sun rises over the gulf like a molten copper ball, transforming the sky into shades of pink, purple, and gold between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m.
Walking the beach at this hour is a peaceful experience, and while you may encounter a few other people out taking in the moment as well, you’ll mostly feel as if you have the beach to yourself.
The morning hours are also prime for spotting pods of dolphins arcing their way through the waves close to shore.
The waves rolling into the island shore are typically calm and, at times, can be almost lagoon or lake-like, but by midday and afternoon, the waves can whip up. An afternoon storm is a frequent occurrence on the island, and they roll through fairly quickly. If you’re like me, I look forward to a thunderstorm at the beach as they briefly darken the skies and cool the hot summer temperatures.
For comfort and sun protection on the beach during the day, you can rent a chair and umbrella set from Island Adventures.
Island Adventures is a one-stop shop if you’re also looking to rent bicycles or golf carts to cruise around.
St George Island State Park
Located on the eastern strip of St. George Island, the Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park is pristine. Here you can walk the silky beaches and discover whole shells, and in the crystal clear waters, see the active marine life below.
The park offers the following activities:
The park has four miles of paved road along the main park drive and a five-mile stabilized road that leads to the east end of the island. There are also three and a half miles of nature trails.
Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities on the bay. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at the ranger station.
The park offers six large shelters on the beach, with restrooms and showers nearby. Each shelter has grills for cooking and several picnic tables for visitors. These shelters can also be reserved. Call the park for more information. Consumption of alcohol beverages is prohibited in the pavilions or on the beach.
- Star Gazing
Come and enjoy the wonderful star gazing opportunities with the darkest skies for miles around.
The Gulf of Mexico provides 180 degrees of no light pollution and the closest metropolitan areas are over 70 miles away. These conditions allow star gazers to see the Milky Way and some of the fainter constellations.
While the State Park is the best place to stargaze on St. George Island, you can enjoy similar views of the night sky lying on the beach near your house or condo rental.
I speak from experience.
Other than stargazing on top of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii and at Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania, lying on the beach of St. George Island is the 3rd best dark sky stargazing experience I have ever witnessed.
If the moon is at or near its new phase, you can easily see the Milky Way above, and in August, the Perseids meteor shower is spectacular to watch while lying flat on the sands.
Cape St George Lighthouse
I have not personally felt the need to climb to the top of the Lighthouse; however, if you love lighthouses and want to experience the views from the top, you can climb the 92 wooden spiral stairs and eight-rung metal ladder to the lantern room.
You can also visit the Lighthouse Museum, which details its history and its reconstructions (and relocations) through the years.
Where to Shop: Best Stores on St George Island
Grocery & Specialty Foods
Sparks and Sons’ Island Grocery: A full-service grocery store that is locally owned and operated, offering fresh local produce, seafood, and meats in the center of St George Island.
Dail’s Seafood: This fresh seafood market housed in a trailer is a St. George Island icon, having been in operation for five generations. Here you can purchase reasonably priced fresh Royal Red shrimp for your own low-country shrimp boil, and they even sell crab cakes to round out your meal.
Sometimes It’s Hotter: While they primarily advertise their spices and seasoning packets (and with good reason), this store has so much more. Their selection of fresh bread is fantastic, and you can also pick up a jar (or 2) of specialty salsa or jellies.
Piggly Wiggly Xpress: St George Island also has a small Piggly Wiggly offering standard grocery and toiletry items.
Quick Tip: Before driving to your St George Island house or condo rental, stop off at the full-service, more reasonably priced Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Apalachicola to stock up on your grocery needs. You can then shop on the island for fresh, local products and fill in as needed during your stay.
Castaway Liquors: While I recommend bringing your own liquor from home or stocking up on your stash before going to the island, if you need to replenish your supply, then Castaway Liquors has you covered.
Address: 139B W Gorrie Dr, St George Island, FL 32328 | (850) 927 – 2335
Retail Shopping on St George Island
St George Island Trading Co: If you’re shopping for beach towels, beachwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, floats, or any other beach-related items, this large store should have everything you need. Its central location on the island and bright blue exterior make it easy to find.
Address: 101 Franklin Blvd | Phone: (850) 927 – 2253
For more specialty items and gifts, check out this St George Island (SGI) retailer:
Can’t – Miss | Spend A Day In Apalachicola
Apalachicola is an old Florida town famous for being the state’s largest producer of oysters. Natural sponges are another of Apalachicola’s well-known products, and you can purchase them in many of the stores.
The wide downtown streets of “Apalach” are lined with charming shops, eateries, and art galleries, making it the perfect town to spend a day and stay for lunch or dinner.
Where to Eat in Apalachicola: Best Restaurants, Sweets, & Drinks
The Owl Cafe
If you can only eat at one place in Apalachicola, then make it The Owl Cafe. Serving lunch, dinner, and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, The Owl Cafe serves fine-dining quality food in a relaxed setting.
The main restaurant is housed on the second floor of the historic building near the riverside, with the ground floor of the building serving as a Tap Room offering beer, wine, and a “Tap Room Only” food menu.
Up the Creek Raw Bar
Up the Creek Raw Bar is located on Water Street and offers indoor and outdoor seating with clear river views. This restaurant is also located on the second floor of the building and is a fun, friendly, casual spot.
Fresh oysters, shrimp, and fish entrees are the foundation of the menu, but they also offer burgers (even a veggie version) and chicken for those who want something other than seafood.
Apalachicola Coffee & Chocolate Company
No trip to Apalachicola is complete without a stop in this decadent sweet shop dedicated to the best coffee and chocolate in the area. To top it all off, they even offer housemade gelato.
So, whether you need a caffeine or sugar fix (or maybe even both), be sure to check them out.
The Parlor Bar at The Gibson Inn
Built in 1907, The Gibson Inn is an architectural monument to the town’s history and the best and most unique place to stay in Apalachicola.
While there is a restaurant on-site, the best place to go is for a cocktail at The Parlor Bar, with a daily Happy Hour offered between 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
What to Do: Shopping in Apalachicola
The primary shopping streets of Apalachicola are Market, Commerce, and Water, with the majority of the shops situated between the Avenues of C, D, E, and F.
Here you can find gift shops selling natural sponges and other bath and body products. Some stores feature salvaged nautical items from the area as well as traditional clothing boutiques and a bookstore.
Shopping the local items along these streets is the perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon before sipping a cocktail in The Parlor at the Gibson Inn or eating dinner.
For those seeking a quiet, uncrowded Florida beach experience, St. George Island is ideal. On this narrow strip of land, here is peace embodied in nature from the still sunrises to the dark, starlit quiet nights.