Floridian Nature

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Florida Nature: St. George Island
scenic view from St George Island State park in FloridaSt. George Island is a 22-mile barrier island with some of the most beautiful and serene beaches on the Gulf Coast. It is one of the last inhabited, yet unspoiled, barrier islands of Florida, with miles of uncrowded beaches for sunning and shelling, clear Gulf waters for swimming and excellent fishing, pristine marshes for wildlife viewing.

The newly erected 79 foot St George Island Lighthouse stands proudly in the center of the island. Sail or powerboats are available for rent, or rent a kayak and explore the remote bays and inlets where you might catch a glimpse of a bald eagle over head or a dolphin swimming in the surf. Rent a bike and ride the paved bike trail or head down to the state park for off road trails.
 
If you like to fish you'll be in heaven on St. George Island where even a novice fisherman can bring home a fanciful treat for the evening meal. If you’ve made up your mind that you are truly on vacation and cooking is not on the agenda, St. George has a variety of eateries that serve only the freshest local seafood. Enjoy oysters surfside or dine on the bay watching the sunset. After dark the Island nightclubs offer live music, billiards, darts and other games. If that is not your thing, just recline on the beach and watch the moonrise over the Gulf or take the kids and watch the sand crabs scramble from hole to hole.

During most of its 5,000 years of existence, St. George Island was uninhabited by man. During the early and middle 1900s, the island's pine forests were turpentined. Many scars are still visible on the island's larger slash pines. During World War II, the island was used by troops for numerous training exercises that were carried out over the area's vast dunes. Acquisition of land for the park in 1963 and completion of the causeway in 1965 led to increased use of the beaches for recreational activity. In 1980, construction of the park facilities was complete, and the park was opened for public use.


wildlife abounds on St George Island in FloridaSt. George Island State Park occupies the far eastern end of the island where you will find nine miles of pristine shoreline, majestic dunes, bay forest, sandy coves and salt marshes. Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay, the island is the perfect setting for St. George Island State Park. Occupying 1,962 acres at the end of a long, narrow barrier island, St. George is a combination of sandy coves, salt marshes, shady pines and oak forests.

The natural features of the park include extensive beaches and dunes, forests of slash pines and live oak hammocks. The ocean and bay support an abundance of marine life, while small freshwater ponds and sloughs provide a limited aquatic habitat in an otherwise arid climate. The waters of this area are some of the most productive commercial and sport fisheries in Florida, with a thriving oyster industry at the mouth of the Apalachicola River.

The arid conditions, coupled with the park's island location, limit both the number and type of resident animal life. Osprey may frequently be seen fishing in the waters, and their nests are found in the tops of living or dead pine trees in the park. Raccoons and ghost crabs may be observed, along with the salt-marsh snakes and diamondback terrapin that reside in the marsh and bay waters. Birds such as the snowy plover, least tern, black skimmer, willet and many other species of shorebirds frequently nest along the park's sandy shores and grass flats. The barrier islands of the Gulf Coast are important "rest stops" for a wide variety of migrating birds during the fall and spring. The best time to observe migrating birds is after the passage of cold fronts.

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St. George Island is a 22-mile barrier island with some of the most beautiful and serene beaches on the Gulf Coast. It is one of the last inhabited, yet unspoiled, barrier islands of Florida, with miles of uncrowded beaches for sunning and shelling, clear Gulf waters for swimming and excellent fishing, pristine marshes for wildlife viewing.
If you like to fish you'll be in heaven on St. George Island where even a novice fisherman can bring home a fanciful treat for the evening meal. If you’ve made up your mind that you are truly on vacation and cooking is not on the agenda, St. George has a variety of eateries that serve only the freshest local seafood. Enjoy oysters surfside or dine on the bay watching the sunset. After dark the Island nightclubs offer live music, billiards, darts and other games. If that is not your thing, just recline on the beach and watch the moonrise over the Gulf or take the kids and watch the sand crabs scramble from hole to hole. St. George Island State Park occupies the far eastern end of the island where you will find nine miles of pristine shoreline, majestic dunes, bay forest, sandy coves and salt marshes. Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay, the island is the perfect setting for St. George Island State Park. Occupying 1,962 acres at the end of a long, narrow barrier island, St. George is a combination of sandy coves, salt marshes, shady pines and oak forests.
St. George Island
Date published: 10/23/2013
5 / 5 stars