Located off Florida’s Gulf Coast is St. George Island, an idyllic destination away from the hustle and bustle of the state’s mainland areas.
This small island in the Florida panhandle may seem like a lowkey area, but you’ll be surprised at the variety of activities and attractions to be done in this tiny but exciting strip.
Ready to explore St. George Island?
Here are 20 best things to do on the island:
Bask in the Florida Nature at Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park
The Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park is the perfect destination for people wanting to bask in the peace and quiet of nature.
Located in the eastern part of the island, the St. George Island State Park offers visitors lots of fun in the sun through beach and water activities that are great to spend with friends and family.
Visitors can opt to get in the water through various activities such as swimming, boating, fishing and kayaking.
On the ground, visitors can sunbathe in the Florida sun.
Or, for more active visitors, they can set up tents and camp on the park’s grounds.
Hikers can also do their treks with a gorgeous view of the Gulf of Mexico.
Visitors can also take their pets with them on a trip to the state park, as long as they’re kept on leashes.
Visitors can definitely enjoy a fun and relaxing beach day when in Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park.
View the Historic Crooked River Lighthouse
Managed by the Carrabelle Lighthouse Association, the Crooked River Lighthouse has had a long-rooted history on St. George Island.
Built in 1895, the lighthouse is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built to replace the one on Dog Island that was destroyed in a hurricane in 1873.
Visitors of the lighthouse can explore the history and the science of the structure, with pieces of information laid out in its interior.
Exhibits in the lighthouse include the Keeper’s Room preserved from the 1900s, which contains the original artifacts such as the clocks, a barometer, the keeper’s watch book and old currency.
Visitors can also climb up the lighthouse and explore the view from the top, looking at the rest of St. George Island and the surrounding gulf waters.
Fish the Waters at Pelican Reef
Fishing enthusiasts will definitely thrive on a vacation to St. George, and the Pelican Reef is a must-see stop when on the island.
Pelican Reef is the premier destination on St. George Island for flounder fishing.
Experienced anglers advise heading to the western part of the reef to get that big flounder catch.
For those looking for peace and quiet on their fishing trips, Pelican Reef is also an idyllic destination, as you won’t see crowds of hooks and lines in these waters.
It’s a great place to dock out and relax on the shore with family and friends.
Take a Snapshot of the Cape St. George Light
Built in 1852, the Cape St. George Lighthouse has been standing for over 150 years, withstanding hurricanes, calamities, and wars.
It was initially built on the western tip of the island, toward the port of Apalachicola.
Due to difficulties and damages from storms, the lighthouse underwent two more constructions before the current, existing structure stood in its place.
Visitors can come and see the historic lighthouse standing to bring light to boats and ships coming to St. George Island.
There is also a museum housing artifacts from the lighthouse’s history and early days located in the vicinity.
Visitors can also come up and climb to the top of the lighthouse, seeing the beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico.
To commemorate your stay, there is also a gift shop on-site to buy souvenirs and other things to remember the trip by.
Experience Floridian Island Nature and Wildlife at St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge
A peaceful, isolated reserve located on the Western shores of St. George, the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge is a great destination to experience unspoiled nature.
The island is accessible by boat and is a great refuge for people looking for an outdoor adventure.
The reserve contains unspoiled trails for hiking as well as biking.
It’s also a great place for nature and science enthusiasts, as they can immerse themselves in the wildlife and nature views.
The landscape also makes for great photographs.
Visitors can also bask in the peace of fishing on the shores of the reserve.
Apart from the recreational activities, the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge also offers education programs for schools, in which students can learn more about barrier island ecology as well as the different species located in the vicinity, especially extinct ones that are in need of preservation.
A day at the St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge is definitely a great one to put on the list for nature ad wildlife lovers!
Have a Meal with a View at Blue Parrot Ocean Front Café
Looking for a good meal with a beautiful view?
Pay a visit to Blue Parrot Ocean Café when on St. George Island.
A popular island hotspot, the restaurant is a staple establishment known for serving up comfort fare.
Visitors have a myriad of choices like steaks, chicken and burgers.
They also offer fresh seafood dishes with the catch coming from the nearby gulf.
Blue Parrot also has an outdoor tiki bar where you can enjoy a cold beer or a nice cocktail while overlooking the beautiful beach view.
Enjoy a Scenic Hike on the Little St. George Island Trails
Located on the western tip of the island, the St. George Island Trails is another great unspoiled natural destination on St. George Island.
Like the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, the St. George Island Trails is accessible by boat.
Visitors are treated to unspoiled tracks and trails of Floridian nature, with various flora and fauna to welcome every step of exploring the area.
Hikers can start their walk from Marshall Dock and hike the over three-mile loop from there and back.
There are also select areas called government docks where visitors can set up campfires or take breaks.
The St. George Island Trails are a great pitstop on your journey to St. George Island!
Experience Island Living at the Ambassador House
For visitors looking to experience what life is like on St. George Island, booking a stay at the Ambassador House is a must.
It is a beautiful home located on East Gulf Drive, with a beautiful view of the shores of the gulf.
The home is a roomy 5-bedroom space, perfect for big groups and families to have a cozy time in.
The space also has a private pool for visitors to take a dip.
The Ambassador House is a great place to experience the tranquil life of locals in St. George.
There’s nothing like waking up to fresh air and a tranquil beach view.
Get a Pint or Two at Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream
Craving for something sweet?
Then head on over to Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream for some sweet treats when visiting St. George Island.
The building itself can’t be missed, painted with colorful, stark shades of neon pink, blue and yellow.
Come in and have big scoops of hand-dipped ice cream, all made fresh daily.
Flavors rotate daily, with seasonal flavors available as well.
Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream is also a great place to feel the St. George community; locals love to come in to get their sweet treat while meeting up with family and friends.
Explore the Waters with Island Charters
For visitors looking for an adventure on St. George’s waters, a visit to Island Charters is a must on the list!
Island Charters offers fishing charters and boat tours for both tourists, perfect for different fun activities in the waters of the Apalachicola Bay.
Have an exciting day treading the waters and fishing for the freshest catch that Florida has to offer.
Visitors can also enjoy the cool sea breeze on the boat tours, done by knowledgeable tour guides who are bonafide St. George locals.
Chow on the Freshest Catch at Paddy’s Raw Bar
Paddy’s Raw Bar is an island favorite, serving fresh seafood, live music and an exciting community vibe.
Visitors are treated to the freshest catch of the island’s waters, including a roster of fresh oysters done and served 12 ways, depending on how you want it.
The menu also includes snow crab, shrimps and fresh tuna cooked up in delicious, appetizing dishes.
There are also sandwiches and salads on the menu, integrating the fresh catch as part of all dishes.
Paddy’s Raw Bar also offers live entertainment with a beautiful beach view, as well as hosts pocket events such as game night for their patrons.
Paddy’s Raw Bar is definitely a great stop to experience the good food, fresh air and community vibe of St. George Island.
Admire the Unique Glass Work at Art of Glass
Located within St. George’s little community, Art of Glass is a great place to drop by for art lovers and enthusiasts.
The brainchild of Floridian Devorah Kirschenbaum, Art of Glass stemmed from her love of art at an early age and discovering her true passions in glass art and sculptures.
The humble studio features unique glass sculptures of all shapes and sizes done by Devorah herself.
Art of Glass also offers workshops for budding art glass artists, and they get to take home their finished masterpieces.
Apart from glass sculpting, Art of Glass also offers classes in other mediums for kids and adults alike.
Drop by Art of Glass for a unique art experience at St. George Island.
Hike the Trails at East Slough Overlook
Located in the eastern part of the island near the St. George Island State Park is East Slough Overlook, a scenic trail that showcases the beauty of the island and the surrounding waters.
The trail spans over 8 miles, starting near the tip of the state park lines up to the area leading to Gap Point.
The trail is a mix of unspoiled dirt roads and constructed wooden bridges to cross small waterways.
There is minimal elevation, but the trails offer great views of St. George’s pristine nature, partnered with the sounds and sights of the surrounding Apalachicola Bay.
For avid hikers and beginners alike, East Slough Overlook is a great trail to conquer, getting in the sightseeing and active exploration all in one go!
Get Your Keepsakes at the Island Dog Beach and Surf Shop
To commemorate your visit to St. George Island, a visit to the Island Dog Beach and Surf shop is a must!
A choice place for souvenirs and keepsakes, the shop offers different types and brands of apparel and knick-knacks to take home and remember your trip by.
On top of that, Island Dog also sells art made by local St. George artists, something unique to add to any enthusiasts’ collection.
For the outdoorsy types, they can purchase their outdoor gear here, as well as book rentals for activities like fishing, wakeboarding, and the like.
Explore the Marshes and Scrubs at Gap Point Trail
Add a bit of adventure to your usual recreational hike with Gap Point Trail.
Located within St. George Island State Park, this trail offers varied habitats you won't find anywhere else in the country.
It extends to five miles.
This is enough distance for you to explore the trail's marshes and coastal scrub forests.
The landscape along the route is reminiscent of deserts and features relict dunes.
The harsh chaos of the trees around the area—a result of strong gusts of wind—add more charm and uniqueness to the area.
You can find the entrance of Gap Point Trail at the park's campground on East Gulf Beach Drive.
Try a New Shrimp Dish at SGI ShrimpFest
When it comes to festivals, St. George Island always goes all out.
And this is true for SGI ShrimpFest.
Though this annual festival only started in 2022, it has proven its worth of being a family-friendly and entertaining event.
The St. George Lighthouse Association hosts this festival.
Some of its attractions include children's games, outdoor live music and shows, and an impressive stack of shrimp dishes.
So, what are you waiting for?
Come by the island in May to be part of the festivities at SGI ShrimpFest.
The festival will be on East Gulf Beach Drive.
Spend a Day Watching the Waves at Bob Sike's Cut
One of St. George's Island's tucked natural treasures is Bob Sike's Cut.
Aside from being a picturesque attraction, this site also has an interesting past.
In 1954, this part of St. George Island became a channel that the US Army Corp of Engineers passed through.
This was to make the route to Gulf Waters more convenient for the army.
They, then, installed rock jetties to help retain the Cut's form over time.
Now, you can see the rock formations left behind by the jetties.
One of the activities you can do while at this place is fish for gulf fish.
But many come by to this place for a sightseeing tour.
To reach Bob Sike's Cut, drive over to the end of the main road of St. George Plantation.
Have a Picnic at Regatta Park
St. George Island's Regatta Park is a local park offering passive areas for your leisure time.
Its beachfront space has a canoe and kayak launch.
But if you prefer to stay on land, the park stands out with its picnic pavilions.
The quiet atmosphere of the site can help with your meditative walks or idle self-reflection.
Sunset viewing is also one of the recommended activities you can do while in this park.
Regatta Park is at the corner of Ninth Street & West Bayshore Drive.
Take a Picture of the SGI Gargoyle Statue
Although St. George Island is best known for its water-based attractions, the island's art scene is just as vibrant.
And the SGI Gargoyle Statue is one of the prime examples.
This statue, located in front of Gargoyle House and next to the Blue Parrot, is an impressive goth sculpture you shouldn't miss.
Its life-sized figure sits on a pedestal with its wings curved inward at its sides and a terrifying impression on its face.
SGI Gargoyle Statue is on West Gorrie Drive.
To fully admire its beauty, book a room at the Gargoyle House.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Visit the Apalachicola Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Located across the bridge at Eastpoint is the Apalachicola Bay National Estuarine Reserve, a gem of natural diversity on the Florida panhandle.
The reserve encompasses over 250,000 acres of public land and water in the panhandle.
The reserve is another unspoiled gem of nature located in the region, with different species of wildlife roaming in their natural habitats.
The reserve is also home to various flora and fauna grown and maintained in the southeast region.
Visitors are treated to the tranquility and pristine nature of the reserve, perfect for learning about Florida’s biodiversity, as well as making picture-perfect souvenirs to bring home.
The Apalachicola Bay National Estuarine also houses the Reserve Education & Research Center, wherein visitors can visit different exhibits and displays that showcase their different programs, such as preservation, education, and coastal training.
St. George Island is an unknown gem in the Florida panhandle.
Visitors going to the state should definitely not miss the tranquility and beauty of nature that the island has to offer.
What are you waiting for?
Book a visit to St. George Island today!