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13 Best Things to Do on St. George Island

From pristine beaches to nature trails, discover the top things to do on St. George Island and plan your ultimate vacation experience with this comprehensive guide.

Micaela Koremblit
MicaelaMarketing Manager
13 Best Things to Do on St. George Island

As Route 98 winds its way along Florida’s ‘Forgotten Coast,’ a largely untouched and uninhabited area of coastline in the panhandle, St. George Island appears on the other end of Bryant Patton Bridge. What lies on the other side is a serene barrier island waiting to host your next getaway. 

Life here off the waters of the Gulf of Mexico is simple and slow. Mornings can be spent wandering along the coast, coffee in hand. Afternoons are for the cloud-like beaches and exploring the waterways on kayak. Away from light pollution, the night brings the stars, the music, and the distant crashing of the waves.

St. George is equal parts sleepy and invigorating. It is a mix of relaxing fun, adventure, and exquisite cuisine that makes for an endless itinerary when you stay at a Wander vacation home

These are some of our 13 favorite things to do on St. George Island! 

1. Adventure Through St. George Island State Park

On the island’s East End, the Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park is the place to get your nature fix. Open from 8 am to sundown daily; the state park boasts a collection of hiking trails that guide you through diverse ecosystems. As for the beaches, well, they’re just the cherry on top.

A haven for birdwatchers, cyclists, hikers, kayakers, and anglers, St. George Island speaks to a diversity of travelers. From your Wander happy place, you can enjoy around 4 miles of hiking trails from pine forests to the bay and East Slough Beach. Cyclists can use these trails in addition to the 4 miles of roads that connect each corner of the park.

Stop and hear the sounds of over 300 unique bird species along your adventure. Herons, bald eagles, osprey, and egrets are common sightings. Many hang around the shoreline, where you can fish and explore on kayak or paddleboard, all before finding a cozy spot on the sandy shores to bask in the scenery.

2. Have a Beach Day

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St. George has pristine beaches. Those with their finger on the pulse may also know that it’s home to one of the most highly-rated beaches in the country.

Despite the tragedy of Hurricane Michael, the beaches on St. George Island have recovered well. At the forefront are the 9 miles of ivory-white sand that envelop the island’s state park. Here, you’ll find ample amenities, including grills and picnic pavilions.

To enjoy a day in the sun closer to town, lay down your towel at the Public Beach. With great shelling, plenty of parking, space for picnics, and a playground, it’s perfect for the whole family. If you want to branch out further, head to the neighboring St. Vincent Island. A National Wildlife Refuge, the island is the den of nesting sea turtles.

Wherever you go on the barrier island, stop by SGI Adventures for all your beach day needs.

3. Climb Up the Cape St. George Lighthouse

One of the most iconic sights on SGI, the Cape St. George Lighthouse, enjoyed an enormous 153-year life before it collapsed in 2005. Such was its status, the St. George Island Lighthouse was faithfully rebuilt the following year, with a replica of the original Keeper’s House completed shortly after.

No matter when you decided the best time to visit St. George Island is, it’s always worth it to catch the view from up here. 

Today, climbing up the island’s beloved lighthouse is one of our favorite St. George Island activities. Open from 12 pm to 5 pm each day except Thursdays, take your time up the 92 spiraling wooden steps to the pinnacle lantern room.

With the views immortalized on camera, head to the lighthouse museum to uncover the history of the site. Cap it off with a memento at the lighthouse’s boutique gift shop.

4. Wake Up at Bayside Coffee Co.

Begin or cap off your early morning stroll along the beachfront with a stop at Bayside Coffee Co. Housed within a quaint cafe, enjoy freshly roasted coffee and all your espresso favorites.

By producing all their own coffee, Bayside presents you with a unique flavor palate that perfectly complements the morning hour. Whether you love it hot or iced, latte or americano, Bayside Coffee Co. will quickly become your daily go-to.

To top it off, walk a little more down the road to Weber’s Donuts. These small-batch cake-inspired donuts are an absolute delight. Grab one or a dozen for the whole family!

5. Try St. George’s Best Seafood

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With tidal flat fishing on one side and deep sea Gulf fishing on the other, no wonder St. George Island has some of the freshest and most mouthwatering seafood cuisine. We mentioned Harry A’s for taking care of your fresh catch. But if you haven’t yet cast a reel, Blue Parrot Ocean Front Cafe and Paddy’s Raw Bar will take great care of you.

The former delivers with its famous seafood platter. You best come with an appetite as it features all of the grouper, oysters, scallops, shrimp, and crab cakes that you can handle. All cooked in your favorite style.

Note: The island’s May ShrimpFest and the nearby Florida Seafood Festival in February are two of the best times to visit the barrier island.

6. Explore by Kayak

The bountiful, crystal clear waters of St. George tempt you at every turn. One of the best ways to explore the beachfront, with the flexibility of venturing into small waterways, is on kayak.

Journeys of St. George Island are the outfitters for all your kayak needs (plus SUPs and golf cart rentals!). They’ll help guide you in the right direction so you can see the parts of the islands that only the locals know.

They won’t just fit you with regular kayaks, either. Their base models are Wilderness System kayaks, while they have fishing kayaks as an alternative option. So you can really explore where others can’t.

7. Rent a Bicycle

Speaking of exploring, see what you couldn’t from the water on two wheels once more, SGI Adventures provides the goods and will have you peddling your way around St. George in no time.

Offering rentals of up to seven days (call ahead for longer hires), you can take your time exploring. A family-friendly activity, roads and trails will guide you from the Sikes Cut on the West Side all the way to the heart of St. George Island State Park.

Along the way, stop by local highlights such as the Apalachicola National Estuarine Reserve. From there, head to the Bryant Patton Bridge and cycle 4 miles across the bay to Eastpoint.

8. Take a Sunset Cruise

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Life is all about the water on St. George Island. Whether you’ve spent the day kayaking, fishing, or simply lazing on one of America’s best beaches, enjoy the perfect end to the day with a sunset cruise.

Journeys of St. George Island takes you out into Apalachicola Bay, but not just for a 2-hour sunset experience. If you’re lucky, you may also enjoy a meet-and-greet with the resident dolphin pods. With the cruise done, head back to the Public Beach or your Wander balcony for some of the Gulf Coast’s best stargazing conditions.

9. Sign Up for a Fishing Charter

Explore the near-shore waterways or move off the Florida Panhandle entirely with the helping hand of a local fishing charter. Set your sights on catching grouper, redfish, flounder, and Spanish mackerel, or explore the seabeds for crabs and scallops.

With Big Fish SGI, your whole crew can enjoy a memorable day of deep-sea fishing. Venture as far as 55 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, leaving the Forgotten Coast in your rearview mirror.

Southern Salinity specializes in bay and inshore fishing adventures. These diverse habitats are incredibly rich around SGI, and with expert tutelage, you’ll be ready to make the most of these prolific spots. Bounce between creeks and the Apalachicola River to try and achieve the St. George Island “Grand Slam.”

With your fresh catch now secured, make your way to Harry A’s. Their chefs will take your fish off your hands and whip up a delicious meal.

10. Enjoy Some Sweet Treats

If you’re like me, then many mornings start with a coffee and a stop by Weber’s Donuts. I’m a sweet tooth, after all. 

However, if you prefer to leave the best until last, then cap off your day on St. George Island with a pitstop at Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream. This classic ice cream parlor is a St. George institution. Set right in the heart of the community, you’ll see it plenty during your stay.

As you step inside, you’ll quickly feel a dose of the local spirit. The bright turquoise walls and checkered blue floors take you back to the parlors of old. The flavors are just as imaginative, and for the young (plus the young at heart), the scoops are big.

11. See St. George Island From Above

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You’ve paddled the coast and sunbathed along the shores, the bikes are back in storage, and the kayak hire is complete. There’s only one view and experience that could top all of these. You can do just that from above!

Forgotten Coast Flyers allows you to ascend into the skies and see all of your favorite St. George Island highlights. Tours of two and three people will head up and down the coast as you admire the clear waters, the island, Cape San Blas, and beyond. With long-range views and expert commentary, this flight brings it all together.

12. Visit Apalachicola

You’ve heard us mention Apalachicola several times. On the other side of its namesake bay, this vibrant coastal town is a great complement to your island experience.

As you approach town, you’ll become immersed in the flanks of slash and longleaf pine. Lush, old-time homes dot the streets and soon merge as you arrive in Appalachicola’s 19th-century downtown.

Like a page out of Charleston, North Carolina, the beautiful, historic district will draw you in. The streets are lined with charming cafes affixed with sun-soaked patios. In between are alluring boutiques, the Parlor Bar (which keeps alive old cocktail traditions), and great antique shopping.

If you haven’t yet gotten your fix of nature, fill the rest of your time in with a trip down the St. Joseph Peninsula.

13. Have a Night Out at Harry A’s

If you want to keep the night rolling, Harry A’s Bar and Grill will answer the call. It all starts with a relaxing or competitive (we will leave that bit to you) pool tournament on Mondays, along with the bar’s own version of bingo on Tuesdays.

For the rest of the week, sit back and enjoy live music from local and traveling acts. If you prefer to leave the singing to you, well, you’re in luck. Thursdays are for karaoke!

Enjoy the Best Things to Do on St. George Island 

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On the Gulf Coast, St. George is a relaxing, low-key escape. But spread the word about your favorite activities, from boat tours to seafood restaurants, and this island won’t be a well-kept secret for long.

Whether you just want to enjoy slow mornings at your Wander home or make the most of the island’s adventures, you’ll find what you’re looking for on St. George Island.

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