Visit St. George Island, an Under the Radar Getaway

    By Jill Martin

    St. George Island is one of those places you go to escape everything. There are no theme parks, go-kart tracks or traffic lights. There are only a handful of restaurants, a few shops and a small grocery store. But a visit to St. George Island has so much to offer those lucky enough to step foot on its pristine shores.

    St. George Island is a barrier island four miles off the coast of Apalachicola in northwest Florida, in an area known as The Forgotten Coast. And it truly is forgotten. Less than 200,000 visitors a year come here – and that’s probably because everyone who does know about it wants to keep it a secret. But the secret is out - it was just named the #4 Top-Rated Beach in America for 2012 by Dr. Beach, the foremost beach expert in North America.

    As soon as you drive onto the island, the stately Cape St. George Light with its gleaming white exterior greets you. First erected in 1833, this historic lighthouse has been rebuilt four times. Of the 160,000 bricks used to recreate it, 22,000 were salvaged and now grace its interior walls. A 92-step climb to the top rewards you will scenic vistas of the bay and gulf. For an outstanding experience, sign up for a full moon climb, offered each month.

    You won't see high-rises when you visit St. George Island, but you will find rentals, from simple and comfortable homes to downright glorious. Two of my favorite vacation home rental agencies are Collins Vacation Rentals and Resort Vacation Properties. You can rent a home right on the beach and walk out to discover 22 miles of sparsely populated shoreline and sparkling gulf waters where dolphins frolic.

    This is where you come to do a whole lot of nothing - and I mean that in a good way. You will find peace and privacy without even trying. The St. George Island State Park offers bird watching, fishing, kayaking or camping if you want to keep busy. And the charming town of Apalachicola is just four miles across the causeways and bridges. (That’s a whole different blog!)

    One more thing you will surely enjoy on your visit to St. George Island is fresh, Florida seafood: perfectly briny oysters from Apalachicola, little neck clams from Alligator Point, plump gulf shrimp, and fresh catch like grouper can be found at waterfront restaurants everywhere.

    I hope you’ll put St. George Island on your radar – it is a unique, quiet wonder among Florida’s 825 miles of beaches. And since nearly 90% of the land in Franklin County is preserved, it will remain a blissful and natural escape.