USA Flag  Attractions of the Florida Panhandle - The Forgotten Coast - 2

NOTICE: JULY 10, 2005 HURRICANE DENNIS DAMAGED THESE AREAS. MOST WILL RECOVER RAPIDLY, BUT CHECK ON CONDITIONS BEFORE VISITING.

 

FEATURED ATTRACTIONS IN THE AREAS OF:

 

  Apalachicola    St George Island    St. George Island State Park

 

You could find this area accidentally simply by driving along State Road 98 on the scenic tour; but most people here want to be here and came on purpose. Lured by the quiet, restful lifestyles and scenic wonderlands, residents and visitors alike find charms apparent here that exist nowhere else in Florida's Panhandle. An area famous for its seafood, principally the exquisite shellfish found in and around Apalachicola Bay, it is fast becoming known for its natural beauty.

 

Historic Apalachicola,  its modern history extending back almost 200 years, anchors the tourism trade in the area. With a restored downtown area of brick, stone and concrete structures sprinkled liberally with gift shops, designer label clothing shops, galleries and restaurants, the city has become somewhat of a tourist gem. The old city's periphery features century-old houses looking out across the bay, several parks, a marina and the downtown docks.

 

New to the scene but not forgotten is the remote St. George Island. Here private homeowners share a 19 mile stretch of ocean and bay frontage with the publicly owned land of St. George Island State Park. While not exactly in its native, pristine form, the island's natural condition, less the impact of housing and park facility improvements, is readily seen.

 

The entire area included above is quite small and a traveler going from one end to the other by car would traverse the distance in less than 30 minutes. The area provides a fine base from which to tour the Panhandle coast west and into the Big Bend area to the east. It is also adjacent to the Apalachicola National Forest and near Tates Hell State Forest and Tates Hell Swamp. St Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, Cape St. George State Reserve and Dog Island can all be visited by boat.

 

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Apalachicola

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Apalachicola docks.

 

J. E Grady & Co. 1884; stay upstairs at The Consulate.

Pictures of Apalachicola downtown. For those liking to stroll the old, historical towns, this one's a delight for shopping and eating.

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There is an amazing array of stunning older houses and cottages built in the low hills overlooking Apalachicola Bay.

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The Gibson Inn circa 1907, a local landmark.

John Gorrie Museum State Park - history of Air Conditioning. Pictures of streets in Apalachicola.
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Views from historic Lafayette Park (1882) overlooking Apalachicola Bay.

 

 Bayside house.

 

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Photos of the marina in Apalachicola.

 

Downtown park and facilities.

 

There are plenty of views of these old storm-wrecked docks.

Apalachicola traces its modern roots back to the early 1800's although native Indians knew of it long before.  Built along the shores and foothills of Apalachicola Bay, the city's heritage is easily recognized. Many structures in the commercial downtown and residential areas remain today, restored and rejuvenated for the future as Apalachicola transforms itself from fishing village to tourist Mecca. Renown for its seafood products harvested from Apalachicola Bay, it is quickly becoming a favorite of an upscale class of tourists seeking historical and natural Florida vacation locations. While bayside cities are lesser considered on the Florida tourist agenda, this is one stop to mark on your map. It doesn't hurt that it is less than 30 minutes drive to the famed Gulf of Mexico Beaches of St. George Island, either. 

St. George Island

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St. George Island beach.

 

Beach house backyard.

 

The beach stretches for miles. A mix of coarse sand and broken shell bits, these sandy shores build dunes to 20' and more.

 

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Exit from the beach.

 

Peering down from the high dunes to the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The slow pace of the island keeps morning beaches near empty.

Picture of St. George Island beach access.

 

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Causeway and bridge to St. George Island from Eastpoint.

 

Entering St. George Island at the commercial center.

 

View of St. George Island from the causeway.

 

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Condos along Gulf Beach Drive near the State Park.

 

St. George Island houses built in the dunes.

 

Tall, narrow townhouses along Gulf Beach Drive.

 

Typical street view and off-water properties.

St. George Island is 19 miles long and  about mile wide at most points. Bordered on the south by the Gulf of Mexico and on the north by Apalachicola Bay and St. George Sound, it juts from the ocean floor about 5 miles off the mainland. The white sandy beaches, which seem to run forever along the shoreline, are shared between property owners and the 9 mile expanse of St. George Island State Park. This vacation retreat, less than 30 minutes from Apalachicola, is as restful and relaxing as it is beautiful. Visiting nature lovers will feast on what seems to be an almost endless supply of outdoor adventures while those not inclined will chant forever - "there's nothing to do...".

St. George Island State Park

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Dr. Julian C. Bruce -

St. George Island State Park

Pictures of the beautiful - and empty - white sandy beaches of St. George Island State Park.

 

Tidal marsh meets pine. 

 

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These high dunes run almost the length of the park and are well away from the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. Behind them are the tall trees of a wooded area. The sand dunes give the appearance of creeping from the ocean side toward the bay side and destroying everything in their path.

 

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Boardwalk to the observation platform on the bay side.

 

Grass marsh and small cove in St. George Sound.

 

Picturesque native pine forests with hiking trails suddenly transform the character of this idyllic beach vacation island.

 

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The covered picnic and sanitary facilities along the park shoreline and near the parking areas, seem to blend nicely with the uneven, raw landscape.

 

View from sheltered area. 

 

The very remote  St. George Island State Park offers an array of activities and adventures for visitors. Long stretches of almost uninhabited beach provide for a unique privacy among Florida's beaches. Inland hiking trails are serene walkways where the only sounds heard are of the birds and wind through the trees. Beautiful, varied vistas can be found everywhere from the beaches pounded by the ocean surf to the high sand dunes running along the center of the island to the pine woodlands and the grass flats along St. George Sound. While about half of the park's length can be easily visited with an assist by car, the eastern half has no vehicle access and must be hiked. Campers and RV'ers are welcome.

 


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