The Taste of the Gulf

The Gulf of Mexico, and the Apalachicola Bay in particular, are known for their incredible variety and excellent quality of seafood.

shrimp, gulf of mexico, st george island, florida, seafood

Shrimp

shrimp, shrimping, boats, st. george island, florida

shrimp boats off the beaches of st. george island

sunset, shrimp, boat, st. george island, apalachicola

a shrimp boat docked at sunset

Shrimping is big in the gulf waters that surround St. George Island.  In the summer months, it’s not uncommon to spot shrimping boats working just offshore.  At local restaurants, you can find almost any style of shrimp: from simply steamed or fried to the rich scampi served at Up the Stairs.

Oysters

oysters, oystermen, oystering, apalachicola bay

oystering in the apalachicola bay

The Apalachicola River forms an estuary where it meets the bay, oysters flourish in the mineral rich water.  The Apalachicola Bay is one of the last places in America where you can see oysters harvested by hand.  To learn more about this tradition, take a look at this great piece in Garden & Gun Magazine.

Mullet

fishing, sunset, cast net, mullet, st. george island

casting in the apalachicola bay

For locals, there’s no fish and chips basket quite like a mullet fish and chips basket.  This firm, white fish is mild and delicious fried.  Drive down the Apalachicola bridge in the evenings, and you may spot a fisherman or two throwing a cast net to catch one of these delicious local favorites.

Various & Sundry

soft shell crab, shrimp, peppers, grill, st. george island

seafood on a grill in the st. george island state park

While shrimp and oysters are probably first on the minds of frequent visitors to our area, the Apalachicola Bay and Gulf of Mexico are great areas for red snapper, mahi mahi, scallops, blue crab, flounder, mackerel, and much more.

Interested in trying a bite?  Check out some of our great local restaurants or stock up at a local fish market. On St. George Island, you’ll find Doug’s or Dale’s seafood trucks conveniently located near the Collins Vacation Rental offices.

Florida’s Wildest Counties

Franklin County, home of our beloved St. George Island, has been named #2 Wildest County in Florida!  Franklin County earned this distinction based on its percentage of conserved land:

#2 – Franklin County: This small county has a gigantic wild side, a whopping 80% of their land in conservation! Franklin County is home to the Apalachicola National Forest/Wildlife Management Area (Florida’s largest), Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park, St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, and Tate’s Hell State Forest/Wildlife Management Area.

Click here to see the full list and read more about the selection process.

More information (and some photos!) of our great parks and refuges

Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park:

St. George Island, Florida, State Park, Bay, Beach, Sunset

a sunset along the bay side of the state park. both people and dolphins love this area for fishing.

St. George Island, Florida, State Park, Trees

scrub and trees along the hiking trails in the state park. along with the #3 beach in the nation to the south, many small, secluded bayside beaches can be found on the bay side of the state park

St. George Island, State Park, Dunes, Florida

natural dunes run along the middle of the state park, separating woods from the beach

Located at the east end of St. George Island, the state park has miles of trails and bike paths to explore, gorgeous beaches, picnic shelters and more.

Click here to learn more.

Tate’s Hell:

Tate's Hell, Florida, St. George Island, Florida, State Park,

dwarf cypress as seen from the boardwalk in tate’s hell

Tate's Hell, Florida, St. George Island, Florida, State Park,

a sunset over the cypress swamp

Tate's Hell, Florida, St. George Island, Florida, State Park,

views from the hiking trails

Tate’s Hell is a rugged state park home to a rare species of dwarf cypress, hiking trails, and plenty of wildlife.  Interested in taking a break from the beach to hike the trails of Tate’s Hell?  Take the bridge from St. George Island and head east (to the right) on HWY 98.  The trailhead will be on the left before you get to Carrabelle.  Be sure to pack appropriate shoes as some areas of the trail can become boggy at times.

Not interested in roughing it, but would like to check out the eerily beautiful dwarf cypress swamp?  Not to worry–this location is accessible by car.  Follow signs for the boardwalk and enjoy a unique view of the swamp from the observation deck.

For more information on Tate’s Hell, and the legend behind its unusual name, click here or here.

St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge:

Accessible by boat, this primitive stretch of land is a nature lover’s dream.  A favorite of migrating birds, this refuge is a one-stop shop for observing wildlife.  A nice day trip from St. George Island, St. Vincent is a treasure for those who are wild at heart.

Click here for more information on the refuge.

Apalachicola National Forest:

apalachicola national forest, franklin county, florida

a sunset over the bay as seen from the apalachicola national forest

The Apalachicola Forest is the largest forest in Florida!  This forest has tons of interesting terrain for exploration.  Cloudy day keeping you from the beach?  Why not take a hike?

The Leon Sinks geological area, the Apalachicola River, and Fort Gadsen are just some of the features of the forest.  The forest is easily accessible.  If you are visiting St. George Island, it’s likely you’ve already driven through it at one point!

Click here for more information on the Apalachicola National Forest.

Whether you enjoy the outdoors for the solitude, the educational experience, or the opportunity to stay fit while taking in natural beauty, there’s plenty to explore in Franklin County, Florida.  St. George Island makes the perfect home base for tons of wild exploration.  Come check it out!