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St. George Island State Park

My introduction to St. George Island came at the end of a long day of driving from St. Petersburg. After checking into my hotel in Apalachicola, I drove over the John Gorrie Memorial Bridge to Eastport, then took the very long Bryant Grady Patton bridge across Apalachicola Bay to St. George Island. After a quick stop at the public beach access, I headed straight for the State Park, about 4 miles to the east. On the way I passed hundreds of beach houses and villas which abruptly ended at the State Park entrance. Then next 4 or 5 miles of paved road led past numerous beach access trails on the Gulf side, and the camping area on the wooded bay side of the island. After the paved road ends, there is another 4 or 5 miles of dirt road continuing to the east end of the island. I didn't go down the dirt road.

 

The beach here is very quiet and peaceful. The sand down by the water is a light brown color, but the sand in the dunes is pure white quartz crystals. There are no trees to be seen on the beach, just sea oats and dunes as far as you can see. The trees are on the bay side of the island. There are some tall pines, which the campers must be grateful for. It can get really hot out here in midsummer.

The restroom facilities are very good, as are the covered picnic pavilions. After a long walk on the beach, I sat in one of the empty picnic pavilions and watched the sun go down behind the island, over the bay. Because of the orientation of the island, the summer sun does not go down over the Gulf.

When it was nearly dark, I reluctantly got back on the paved road and headed home. As I was driving, I noticed in the dim light some ghostly shapes scurrying across the road. There were lots of them. A closer look revealed that they were very large ghost crabs crossing the road toward the beach. I tried to get a picture, but the light was too dim, and they were too fast.

 

 

Above: A beach access trail at St. George Island State Park.

Above: This is the road through the completely undeveloped park. At night there are more crabs on the road than cars.

This is one of the large parking areas and beach accesses in the park. The yellow flag indicates that the water is not calm, and the purple flag indicates the presence of "dangerous marine life." In this case it means that jellyfish have been spotted today.

Above: The boardwalks and pavilions are well constructed.

Above: This beach access is the last one in the park. There are another 4 or 5 miles of beach on the island. Want to go for a long, quiet walk?

Above: A diverse assortment of shells colors the beach.

Above: Wide open spaces and scenic vistas await you at St George Island State Park, near Apalachicola.

Above: St. George Island is blessed with beautiful dunes and beautiful sea oats.

Above: I love taking beach photos late in the afternoon. The light is perfect for postcard quality photographs.

Above: Set further back off the beach are some magnificent dunes, much taller than what you'll find on the peninsular west coast where I live. The sand is pure white, and the wind-sheared trees are stunted from the harsh exposure to the elements. Early morning and late afternoon / evening is the best time to explore the interior of the island during the sweltering summer months.