Site 21A and Site 47A; W/E;
Fabulous beach, shelling, bike riding, kayaking available.
Better than average sites, with good spacing. Well kept restrooms/showers within easy reach from inner circles of figure 8 campground layout. Typical for the state parks, these facilities are not heated.
Things to do at the Park.
The beautiful beach is a 10 minute walk to a boardwalk access. Or, you can drive or bike around a quarter mile to one of two large parking lots with a bathhouse and outdoor showers (working in January!).
Our usual spot (and alone) in front of the bath houses.
The road into the park is such a beautiful spot that apparently they use it to shoot Ferrari sales media:
There is a nice nature trail (about a mile) at the park leading to a bridge and a really nice raised platform overlooking East Slough of St. George Sound. Expect to see Great Egrets and Herons. The trail ends at the access road, which can be crossed to reach another large parking lot with a bathhouse. There are several other parking spots along the 4 mile stretch of beach accessible by car.
Nature Trail boardwalk.
East Slough from viewing platform.
Also from the platform.
Here we caught a Great Blue Heron taking a late afternoon nap.
There is a gate at the easternmost end of the auto road at the bathhouse parking lot. Access past the gate is by foot or by bike (recommended), or by car with a permit. Access is a partially gravel, sometimes paved, and sometimes sandy road in severe disrepair. A hybrid bike or dirt bike are the only realistic options (not a road bike). It is about 3 ½ miles to the end of the road at East End. Here you can see the current swinging between St George and Dog Islands.
Looking at the bay side from the east end.
This shows the rounded east end of the island.
You can be all alone on this end.
The whole 8 mile stretch of beach in the park provides great sea shelling! And you don't need to walk to the remote end to find them. In fact, the shelling varied day to day and within yards of each other. One day after a weak storm there were possibly a hundred star fish washed ashore. The shells varied, but Giant Heart Cockles were prominent and colorful. We also saw and collected our first Rough Pen Shell. Others were Cross-barred Venus, Spiny Jewel Box, Common Baby's Ear, Calico Scallop, Venus Sunray, Disk Dosinia, Eastern Oyster, Cat's Paw, Oysters, Atlantic Coquina, etc.
Giant Heart Cockles and a sponge.
This is how we found this unusual starfish. Trying to save it or keep it failed. We since learned to use alcohol.
These Pen shells were my favorite to find because they were so frail. So frail that most of the ones I saved broke shortly after.
One of the larger starfish we found.
One day there were hundreds washed up on shore.
This is our haul from St George! I learned about cleaning shells with toothpaste and shining with baby oil.
Shore fishing proved to be very popular by man and bird.
There are kayak rentals available on the bay side of the park which we didn't use due to the windy conditions of most days.
Things to do nearby.
Apalachicola is a 20 minute drive with nice shops and restaurants. Oysters bars everywhere (Oysters available for $1! during happy hours).
The bridge from the island to the mainland. Over two of these to get to Apalachicola.
Market Street/Rt 98 (the main street).
A common sight - Men on benches - Market Street.
On our first trip into town we lunched at one of the two nicer restaurants, the Owl Cafe. After reading great reviews on Yelp and from a woman at the information center, we were standing at the door reading the menu when two people exited and told us we had to go in, that the food was terrific (I returned the gesture when we left an hour later). I was suffering from sticker shock looking at the prices of the lunch menu, but when I bit into my grilled grouper sandwich, I forgot about it. Simply the best I ever had. Do you ever eat something and say after every bite, “Wow, this is good” to your spouse? I did.
Inside the Owl Cafe.
Another great lunch spot was Up the Creek Raw Bar with a second floor overlooking Scipio Creek. Great oysters and sandwiches. As much as I liked the Owl, I would recommend this for a fun and good (and cheaper) lunch with a great view.
The riverfront of Apalachicola (just south of Up the Creek Raw Bar).
On leaving St. George we found ample parking with our trailer on the main drag right after the left turn onto Avenue E so that we could try one more place before leaving. We went to The Station, another highly rated place on Yelp. This is a converted gas station, with a nice funky atmosphere with lots of paraphernalia hanging from the walls. To me the food was average. I had the boil, and while the shrimp and small piece of sausage were terrific, the corn and potato were inedible. I could break a window with the potato. Sandy's shrimp tacos were also on the low side of average.
Shopping at Apalachicola is pretty good and varied. Catering to tourists sure, but not cheesy. Grady Market had very nice to upscale clothing.
From recommendations at the liquor store to 4.9 rating on Yelp, we went to Lynn's Quality Oysters on Rt 98 in Eastpoint twice. This is the real deal country folk, fishermen run, fish market and 4 table lunch spot. We went for the oysters, but ate excellent gumbo for lunch, and left with frozen crab cakes and an outrageous smoked mahi fish dip. The later two items were so good, we stocked up with more of each for the freezer before we left the area.
Super Bowl, Doc Myers, and Oysters.
Feb 4th watched the Superbowl at Doc Myers in town. “Doc” came by the tables during the game checking on everyone. When the game was over he spent several minutes chatting with us. He and his wife were lawyers specializing in commercial auto sales businesses. They met at FSU and he was glad to hear I was a fan of FSU football since the Bobby Bowden days. He opened the sports bar (//www.docmyersislandpub.com) this past summer. It is basically a very large tiki bar. For the game they had a small free buffet which wasn't bad – though we were tasting the garlic(?) in the Swedish meatballs all night. Off the menu the seared Ahi Tuna app was very good.
Yes, Doc looks exactly like the drawing - hat and all.
Doc Myers pre super bowl.
I indulged in the $9 a dozen raw oysters. That's the cheapest I've ever seen. Though after my third try with the local claim to fame I find them very bland. Maybe this is why most oyster bars here serve them up in a multiple of mostly fried options. The one raw option I saw was Russian style with a dollop of sour cream topped with red caviar. The Apalachicola oysters are on the larger side compared to NE varieties, though not as big as the ones I've had in Sarasota. Trivia: The local radio station (the best local one we've heard on our trip) is called Oyster Radio.
We talked to Doc about the island. He said that he and his wife had a summer home here and loved the island so much they decided to stay. There are no hotels on the island, mostly single family homes with a few condos near the end of the island. Most are rentable. He said the typical owners are from Georgia and Alabama with renters coming from the mid-central states up to Ohio.
Here is a look at what the houses look like on St. George Island. This is a very very pleasant, beachy place without a hotel on the island and only one or two condo type buildings near the park.
Typical houses on the island. All with ocean views/access and sand roads.
The lighthouse in the center of town - near Doc Myers and the Piggly Wiggly!
That's it for St. George!
Next Stop, St Joseph State Park.