15 Best Things to Do in Port St. Joe, FL

Port St. Joe, FL
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At a distance of 23 miles west of Apalachicola, the town of Port St. Joe lies on Florida's "Forgotten Coast" at the junction of US-98 and State Road 71.

About 3,400 people call it home.

Most people remember Port St. Joe, Florida, as the nasty paper mill town throughout the twentieth century.

An enormous paper mill was built in 1938 by St. Joe Co., and the city thrived due to its many employment opportunities.

To avoid the paper mill's noxious odor, tourists hurried through the city.

Locals, on the other hand, described it as "bread and butter."

Almost all of the area's high-paying employment disappeared with the closure of the mill in 1999.

After the demolition of the mill site, it left a huge open area for future construction.

Tourists rediscovered Port St. Joe, returning to the area on weekends and holidays and building vacation houses to enjoy their time there.

Being at the Forgotten Coast, most of the beaches are deserted and not as crowded as other coastal cities in Florida, making it ideal for anyone seeking a peaceful break from the commotion of the city.

Let us take you on a journey around Port St. Joe's top attractions.

Enjoy the Panoramic Views on Top of Cape San Blas LightHouse

View of Cape San Blas LightHouse
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have a thing for piers with lighthouses?

The Cape San Blas Lighthouse offers a breathtaking perspective of the Gulf of Mexico from the top of its 130-plus stairs.

Because of erosion and hurricanes, this lighthouse had to be relocated several times throughout the years.

The Lighthouse reopened to the public on July 15, 2014, after a lengthy renovation.

View of Cape San Blas LightHouse
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Additionally, its owners moved Keepers Quarters and its Oil Shed to Core Park in the city to preserve the structures.

While in town, you can't miss this lighthouse's impressive display in a prominent location.

You'll love this lighthouse because of the magnificent views it offers from above and the idyllic area in which it stands.

View of Cape San Blas LightHouse
Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com

Explore the Bay With About Fun Charters

Get out on the water with About Fun Charters!

It's a terrific way to take in some sunshine.

On warmer days, Captain Charlene takes you to the best snorkeling location where kids may dive in two feet deep water and discover a wide variety of marine life!

Bring them aboard the boat, and the captain will educate you on everything about what you've uncovered.

You may also spot a pod of dolphins in the area!

Captain Charlene can arrange custom trips if you want to visit a picnic place only accessible by boat or if you have a different idea in mind.

Call her, and she'll help you figure it out!

Traverse the Beach on Horseback With Rockin' M Ranch

Many people's childhood fantasies include taking a horseback ride by the shore.

Cape San Blas's Rockin' M Ranch provides horseback rides on the beach.

The people who manage this company are kind and helpful to those just beginning to ride horses.

Each rider is assigned a horse based on their level of expertise and size.

Book a reservation ahead of time if you want to ride a horse at Salinas Park.

Meet Sea Creatures With Sand N Spur Snorkeling and Horseback Riding on the Beach

Horseback rides along the Florida shore are a favorite pastime for many.

Aside from horseback rides, it also offers snorkeling and tours.

Find a wide variety of sea life in the seagrass beds, including scallops, horseshoe crabs, starfish, and more fish and marine life species.

To make the most of your snorkeling experience, the captain will join you in the water and assist you in finding the most intriguing marine life.

Go Birdwatching at T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

View of T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

We have nothing except positive things to say about this one.

There are two beaches and a hiking route at this park in Port St. Joe: one on the bay and the other on the Gulf of Mexico portion of the island.

In October of 2018, Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc on the area, but the southern portion of the park is presently accessible.

Among the activities available are kayaking and paddleboarding, swimming, snorkeling, and shell hunting on the beach.

Birdwatchers flock to this location because of the abundance of beach-nesting species along the coast.

In addition to a shop, there are also facilities on the beaches.

Join Volunteer Activities at Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Center

When you visit the Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Center, it's thrilling to learn about their plans for the future.

From May through October, the gulf side of the bay is a popular nesting spot for the bay's many sea turtles.

If you want to understand more about the local sea turtles and what you can do to help preserve them, now is a great time to do so!

In addition, they offer a range of volunteer opportunities that you can join.

Hike at St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve

Numerous routes for hiking, horseback riding, biking, birdwatching, and photography are available at the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Reserve.

This location is a great place to see a wide variety of species.

Bring insect spray and plenty of water.

Be careful not to become overly dependent on your mobile phone when exploring these protected areas.

The park offers opportunities to relax and reconnect with nature.

Researchers, students, and anybody interested in nature initiatives can use the visitor center as a resource.

You can also ride tram trips on certain days of the year.

Discover the Region's History at Constitution Convention Museum State Park

Exhibits and displays depicting 19th-century life are on show at this museum, located outside of the city center.

You can also access an audio tour of the first State Constitutional Convention here as well.

The museum's collections provide insight into the events leading up to Florida's independence.

Aside from the museum exhibits, you can also see a great variety of flora and animals across the museum's expansive grounds.

Stroll and Shop at the Historic Downtown Port St. Joe

View of Historic Downtown Port St. Joe
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go shopping when you're on vacation.

If you need some retail therapy, Port St. Joe's historic downtown district is a terrific spot to spend a day browsing.

The Reid Avenue commercial district grows livelier with local boutiques, sidewalk cafes, and day spas each year.

The SaltAir Farmers' Market takes place in the historic downtown and features farm-fresh fruit, apparel, gifts, antiques, and other unique items.

If you're looking for a new kayak or fishing gear, there are several local outfitters within a short walk.

You will love the new stores added on Gulf County's beaches, Cape, and Wewahitchka.

Have a Picnic at Frank Pate Park

One of Port St. Joe's oldest parks, Frank Pate Park, lies near U.S. Highway 98 and U.S. Highway 71.

The park, located on the west side of St. Joseph Bay and the east side of Highway 98, has long been a popular tourist destination and a place for community events and meetings.

Recreational activities in St. Joseph Bay, accessible via an expansive boat launch site with a central pier, are at the heart of this park's amenities.

The park also features an iconic fishing pier and a modern playground complete with a pirate ship gym and swings, as well as public restrooms and a lit tennis court.

Other amenities include an enclosed pavilion with chairs and picnic tables, seating areas under magnificent oak trees, and the park's much-photographed fishing pier.

Sing Your Heart Out at Lookout Lounge

In St. Joe Beach at 8066 West Hwy 98, we have one of the best locations in Florida for watching the most stunning sunsets.

From the Lookout Lounge, you can watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.

Watch the live musical performances by local artists as you sip on a refreshing beer or beverage.

Sing your heart out on its karaoke nights every Friday and Saturday.

To get there, you don't have to wait until the weekend; it's open seven days a week.

Pick Seashells at Salinas Park

Port St. Joe is a popular destination for shelling, and it's not hard to see why.

Spend some time on the beach looking for seashells and other treasures.

You'll be startled by the variety of shells you come across.

It is a great way to take a stroll on the beach and relax at the same time.

If you're looking for a leisurely activity, go no further than this.

To help you keep the shells you have picked, grab a shell bag from a local store.

At Salinas Beach, you may do it in the city without leaving the city itself.

A public parking lot where you may opt to park on either side of the bay or the ocean is at your disposal.

The beach is enormous and brimming with awe-inspiring shells.

Any shelling you'd have done elsewhere would be incomparable.

Learn More About Port St. Joe's History at Old Saint Joseph Cemetery

View of Port St. Joe's History at Old Saint Joseph Cemetery
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This cemetery preserves the brick graves and a few intact tombstones of the citizens of the long-gone city.

There is no way to tell how many individuals lie here.

Taking a stroll around the historic St. Joseph Cemetery's expansive grounds is a melancholy experience.

You may see hundreds of unmarked graves at the burial site of yellow fever victims in 1841.

Unmarked graves are easily visible from the walking route that circles the old cemetery and some remaining tombs and headstones.

You may find many historical markers throughout the cemetery to show how important the place has been in the state's history.

Rent a Kayak or a Bike at Happy Ours Kayak & Bike Outpost

Kayaking and providing information are part of the eco-tour at Happy Ours Kayak & Bike Post.

Put your kayaks or paddleboards on the bay directly near Happy Ours' shop.

You may then take a kayak out into the bay to explore.

In addition, you'll be able to view anything in the water!

The guided tour will share with you all you need to know about Port St. Joe's history and culture!

Have a good time paddling through long grass in the kayaks and taking in the view from the water.

They also hire bicycles, which would be a great way to explore the Cape's cycling trails.

Stretch With a View With Sunbird Yoga

Port St. Joe's beach is a big part of the town, and you'll be able to enjoy it right away.

In Port St. Joe, yoga is a great way to enjoy the beach and the city.

It is an excellent opportunity for anyone who appreciates meeting new people, interacting with nature, and participating in yoga.

To find out when and where Sunbird Yoga's classes are being held, like their Facebook page.

You don't have to pay anything to join; just come and have a good time doing yoga outside.

Set a Bonfire With Going Coastal Cabanas & More

Going Coastal Cabanas & More provides everything you need for a beach vacation.

S'mores and marshmallows are already part of the package.

You don't have to do anything but show up!

There is nothing wrong with having a bonfire at the beach, but the inconvenience of doing so may prevent it from happening.

It's as simple as turning up and lighting a fire.

Going Coastal Cabanas takes care of everything when you've finished.

Watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico as you toast marshmallows over a campfire is a wonderful experience you don't want to miss.

Spend a Night at Presnell's Bayside Marina & RV Resort

Presnell's RV Park is a great spot to stay if you have an RV!

You can choose an area directly on the bay, where you can see spectacular sunsets.

In addition, they offer a heated swimming pool, and the location is ideal because it's just a few minutes away from downtown Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas.

Final Thoughts

Despite its modest size, Port St. Joe has a huge heart, as its people have taken to calling it.

Attractions such as the town's museums and historic sites make it a great destination to visit.

Stretch your legs and enjoy the great outdoors in Port St. Joe.