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Fun Day Trips Near St George Island

A nostalgic, small-town island destination, St. George Island is a popular spot for travelers seeking a relaxing beach vacation. The charming little island features a beautiful state park, miles of pristine beaches, and famous lighthouse—which are just a few of the draws that keep families coming back year after year.

 

Situated along Florida’s “Forgotten Coast”, St. George Island offers easy access to several nearby destinations. If you’re in the mood for a quick day trip, check out a few of our favorite nearby spots!

 

Apalachicola

Distance: 12 miles | 20-minute Drive

Best For: Parks, dining, history

 

A quick twenty-minute drive from St. George Island, Apalachicola offers a small-town beach feel and plenty of fun for families. You’ll likely pass through this charming beach town on your way to St. George, and the close proximity makes it a ‘must’ during your time on the island.

 

There’s plenty to see and do in Apalachicola. Take in local coastal history at the Apalachicola Maritime Museum or the Orman House Historic State Park. For an outdoor adventure, soak up the sun or plan a picnic at Battery Park or Lafayette Park. The Chapman Botanical Gardens is also a popular draw, with scenic walking paths, wide-open green space, and a dedicated butterfly garden.

 

Apalachicola also offer pristine waterfront dining. The Big Scenic Byway will take you right through a strip of town that hugs the Apalachicola River, and this area is packed with fantastic dining options. Notable favorites include Up The Creek Raw Bar, Gormley’s On The River, The Chowder House, and Cafe Con Leche. You don’t want to miss the chance to enjoy these amazing water views!

 

St. Vincent Island

Distance: 30 miles (to shuttle) | 45-minute drive

Best For: Wildlife viewing, remote beach

 

A nearby neighbor of St. George Island, St. Vincent Island is an undisturbed natural wonder. Featuring over 12,000 acres of natural landscape and over 9 miles of pristine beaches, a trip to St. Vincent Island is ideal for wildlife and beach lovers. The island is easily accessible via a shuttle from Indian Pass, which is a scenic 45-minute drive from St. George, or via private charters.

 

The entire island is protected as a wildlife refuge, and visitors can expect to see everything from native birds, turtles, fish, lizards, crabs, deer, dolphins, and so much more. Self-guided or seasonal guided tours are available, and the island provides plenty of space for hiking, biking, and enjoying the shoreline. The island does offer public restrooms, but visitors are encouraged to bring other supplies, like water, sunscreen, snacks, etc. for their trip.

 

Alligator Point

 

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Distance: 50 miles | 50-minute drive

Best For: Wildlife viewing, fishing, beach

 

Situated about 50 miles east of St. George Island, Alligator Point is an often-overlooked destination along the famous ‘Forgotten Coast’. Known as simply “The Point” by locals, this charming coastal community is located between the Gulf of Mexico and Alligator Harbor, a popular estuary for clam harvesting.

 

Alligator Point is similar to St. Vincent Island in that the primary draw is to enjoy the natural landscape and wildlife presented at this mostly untouched community. A portion of The Point, Bald Point State Park, is preserved and protected from development and well worth a visit. The unique bay landscape provides a home for a diverse array of animals, including the famous fall migration of birds and butterflies.

 

If you’re looking for a little activity, cast a rod into the bay and try your hand at catching dinner, or peruse the coastline for a few souvenir shells. A trip to Alligator Point is the perfect way to enjoy that the Florida Gulf coast has to offer!

 

Tallahassee

 

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Distance: 75+ miles | 1.5+ hour drive

Best For: Attractions and entertainment, history, shopping, dining

 

Take a break of the beach and head inland to Tallahassee. An easy hour and a half drive north via the Big Bend Scenic Byway, Tallahassee offers plenty of attractions and entertainment for the whole family! Known for being the state capital and home to several college, including Florida State University, a trip to Tallahassee is full of big city fun.

 

History buffs will find plenty to keep busy, with top attractions like the Florida State Capitol, Tallahassee Museum, Mission San Luis, and Museum of Florida History—to name just a few. The plethora of attractions and things to do also makes Tallahassee a great day trip on rainy days. Other indoor attractions include Fun Station, the SkyZone Trampoline Park, Skate World, IMAX theater, and Breakout Games Escape Room.

 

For a more relaxed visit, indulge in shopping and dining at one of Tallahassee’s many venues. Popular spots to shop ‘til you drop include Governor’s Square (outlet shopping), The Centre of Tallahassee, Market Square, Bannerman Crossings, and Killearn Shopping Center.

 

A culinary melting pot, Tallahassee offers fantastic dining options for any taste or budget. Enjoy homegrown favorites like Midtown Caboose, Backwoods Crossing, and Maple Street Biscuit Company. Or, splurge on high-end cuisine at trends hot spots like Sage, Blue Halo, Cypress, and IL Lusso

 

Panama City Beach

Distance: 80+ miles | 2 hour drive

Best For: Family-friendly fun and entertainment, attractions, dining, beach

 

A bustling family destination, a day trip to Panama City Beach is well worth the easy drive along scenic Highway 98. The journey usually takes between an hour and a half and two hours, depending on traffic. Once you’re there, you’ll find no shortage of things to do. Panama City is bursting with attractions, entertainment, events, restaurants, and so much more.

 

For families, check out the Shipwreck Island Waterpark, ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory, Gulf World Marine Park, and the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. If you’re a couple visiting, enjoy a few libations at Panama City Beach Winery, souvenir shopping at Pier Park, a tour of Shell Island, or practicing your swing at one of the many area golf courses. The options are endless!

 

If you’re up for an adventure, check out a Panama City watersports excursion. Options exist for every budget, age group, or thrill-level, with everything from banana boat rides, parasailing, jet ski rentals, catamaran cruises, scuba diving, sailing, and more.

 

And, though St. George Island has plenty of fantastic dining options, you’ll likely need to refuel during your visit, and Panama City cuisine does not disappoint! A few local favorites include Uncle Ernie’s Bayfront Grill, Hunt’s Oyster Bay, Firefly, and Pompano Joe’s, to name a few. Seafood steals the spotlight, but there are also great spots for steak, sushi, breakfast, pasta, and more. You’re sure to find a spot to appease any craving.

 

Are you looking for more Florida Gulf Coast inspiration? If so, check out our official St. George Island blog for information on island things to do, seasonal events, and more!

 

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Outdoor Family Fun: St George Island Kayaking

Franklin County, Florida is home to hundreds of miles of diverse waterways just waiting to be explored. The gem of this popular panhandle region, St. George Island, is situated along the Gulf of Mexico, setting the scene for remarkable excursions by kayak or canoe.

Bring your own equipment, or visit one of the area’s top-rated outfitters to rent a variety of goods from vessels to gear.

You can even brush up on your skills with a lesson before hitting the waters to explore the diverse Forgotten Coast!

Kayak Rental Companies on St. George Island

Island Outfitters

Island Outfitters

Photo Credit: sgioutfitters.com

Island Outfitters is St. George Island’s authorized dealer for Hobie Kayak, Stand Up Paddle Board, and Bic Sports Stand Up Paddle. Owned and operated by Captain Larry Troy and his wife, Angela, whose knowledge of the region spans decades. You’ll find that seasoned advice is a welcome accessory to your kayak tour! Island Outfitters boasts a wide fleet of kayaks for rent including pedal and paddle models with 1-3 seats for fishing or recreational use. Life jackets are provided and required for all kayakers, and early bird specials are available for reservations made 30 days or more in advance.

 

Journey’s of St. George Island

Journeys of St. George Island

Photo Credit: sgislandjourneys.com

Journey’s of St. George Island is a full-service outdoor adventure company specializing in guided tours and charters as well as boat, kayak, and stand up paddle board rentals and sales. Perception and Wilderness Systems are their kayaks of choice, with options of single and tandem models. All kayak and canoe rentals include paddles, vests and tie downs, and Journey’s offers free delivery on multi-day rentals. The team at Journey’s are always prepared to offer tips and insight on the best ways to discover the island, by ocean or stream.

 

Jolly Roger Beach Shop

Jolly Roger Beach Shop

Photo Credit: jollyrogersgi.com

Jolly Roger Beach Shop rents both single and double kayaks by the day or by the week, as well as surfboards, stand up paddle boards, and all the essential beach accessories. There are a wide array of top name models to choose from – complete with life jackets and paddles. Said to be the most affordable outfitters on the island, Jolly Roger Beach Shop also offers guided tours, lessons, dinner cruises, and more.

 

Kayak Launch Sites on St. George Island

St George Island State Park is home to two boat launches. Though the ramp at East Slough is more aimed at small power boats, the sand beach at Youth Camp provides a great site for an easy on, easy off hand launch. Enjoy clear waters, shallow flats, wildlife viewing opportunities, and fruitful fishing spots as you hug the coastlines of the Apalachicola Bay.

 

The newly constructed St. George Island Public Boat Ramp is a concrete ramp on the northeast side of the St. George Island fishing bridge. The pier juts out 600 feet into the water, and the area is known to be an abundant source of redfish, trout, flounder, and other desirable species. The ramp accommodates boats of varied sizes, and limited on-site parking is available.

 

Just a short drive over to the mainland, you’ll also find numerous launch sites leading to a portion of the 100-mile Apalachicola River Paddling Trail, which stretches through the panhandle of Florida to the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Kayak Safety Tips

Nature can be unpredictable, so it’s always wise to be prepared and informed before any outdoor adventure – on land, or on water. Adopt these simple practices to stay safe on your St. George Island kayak excursions.

 

Check weather forecasts multiple times before heading out on the water. Take note of aspects like currents, wind speed and direction as well as temperature. Plan to stay closer to shorelines on windy days, and prepare for abrupt weather changes when packing supplies.

Other Top Safety Tips

  • Know your area, including “emergency” escape routes from the water along your travel path.
  • Select a kayak that is appropriate for your size, comfortable, and free from excessive wear.
  • Coast Guard regulations require that all kayaks have a life jacket on board. Attach a whistle to your life jacket, and always wear it while on the water.
  • Your kayak excursion kit should include: a helmet, plenty of water and food, compass, dry bags, paddle leash/paddle float, bilge pump, marine radio, flares, tow line, first aid kit, and sunscreen.
  • If you bring a dog with you, make sure you have a PFD for your canine friend too!

 

St. George Island off Florida’s Forgotten Coast is an idyllic setting for a kayak quest, and an impressive notch on the paddle of any respectable explorer. From serene, winding rivers to rushing coastlines, St. George Island offers a path for every level of adventure and skill.