St George Island is sparsely populated with private homes, condos, a few small hotels and a handful of shops and restaurants. The island is 28 miles long and two miles wide, at it’s widest point, with the state park occupying nine miles on the eastern end. The west end of the Island is an exclusive gated community, called The St George Plantation, where many celebrities have homes. There is a paved bike path which runs between the St George Plantation and the state park.
The area is known as “the old Florida”, with no high-rises and a very laid-back, friendly atmosphere. The drive from Appalaciacola is quite scenic, first crossing Appalaciacola Bay to East Point on the 6-mile long John Gorrie Bridge, then continuing on the 4-mile long Bryant Patton Memorial Bridge (St.George Island Bridge) to the island.
This is definitely our favorite park, so far. The beautiful, long beach is uncrowded, with some campers and some day-use visitors, mostly fishing. The campground is very quiet, with no vehicle or air traffic noise. The only sounds are the surf, the wind and the birds. It is similar to Fort Pickens, without the fort and with less day-use visitors. This was the case even during peak season, with all bridges open, compared with the Fort Pickens’ main access bridge being closed. Most of the campers were retirees, though for a few days, we were surrounded by noisy families. The facilities were pretty decent.
This is also our favorite area in Florida, so far. St George Island was nearly at full capacity when we were there, though is was hardly crowded at all. Nearby, East Point had a similar look and feel to Algonac, Fair Haven and the St. Clair flats, with open marshy areas, little traffic and no tourists. We visited the local microbrewery in East Point and found a fantastic seafood market there, where the owners caught the fish themselves. We bought the very best tuna and royal red shrimp of our journey, so far, at Island View Seafood.
Appalaciacola is a very old town, which at one point, was part of Spain and later, a British colony. It seemed that most of the visitors were from Tallahasee and other Florida towns. We learned that the local lodging was at full capacity, though it was not crowded at all. We really enjoyed Oyster City Brewing Company, which had all of it’s seating outside, on the sidewalk. One day we ran into two local builders, who we had previously talked to at East Point Brewing. They both clearly enjoyed building houses and visiting microbreweries at the end of a work day. They had some great stories. We also met a guy who we had seen riding through town before, on his motorcycle, with his old dog in front of him, holding on. The guy prevoiusly lived on Maui and owned a bike repair business for 20 years. One of his regular customers was Laird Hamilton. His dog’s name was “Mr. Bob Barker”. And so there were more good stories (at a safe distance, of course).
We spent time on St George Island Riding bikes around town and on the trails, walking on the trails, and sitting on the beach. It was too rough and windy for surfing or paddling. We saw a couple of alligators and countless birds, including herons, pelicans, egrets, and a bald eagle (which flew over our campsite). We continued to cook all of our own meals, with the exception of some very delicious carry-out calzones from the local pizza place. We bought some fresh fish from a kid working at a food-truck-like trailer, on the island and learned it’s really better to be able to see the fish before you buy it. It’s also better to purchase fish directly from the people who own the market.
We were told by other campers that we would love Anastasia State Park and the town of St. Augustine, our next destination. We left St. George Island a few days earlier than planned, so we could spend 6 nights there. We were happy to miss the storms that passed through, after we left, but we regret leaving early.