Each year we take a family vacation trip with Justin’s family to St. George Island, Florida. It usually works out that all four brothers to be off of work on the Fourth of July, so it’s pretty much assumed every year that we’re going to the beach that week. (Probably the only vacation that we ever actually plan in advance!) Justin’s grandparents have owned a home on the island for years, so we visit frequently throughout the year. We have our favorite spots for eating and fun. Here’s a look at our St. George island vacay favorites!
Our number one vacation rule is no eating anywhere that you could eat at home. This rule is easy to follow in St. George Island since chain restaurants aren’t allowed on the island. There’s a Subway, but that’s it! There aren’t any fast food joints or chain restaurants for over an hour drive in either direction.
We always look forward to getting our seafood fix while we’re there. I am a sucker for delicious fried shrimp and joke with Justin about starting a blog that reviews the best fried mozzarella sticks around the world. St. George Island is not lacking in either of those items!
While there are only a handful of restaurants on the island, a short drive to Eastpoint or Apalachicola gives visitors lots of delicious dining options to choose from. Here’s a list of some of our most visited restaurants and Jenna + Justin approved entrees:
The Red Pirate | Eastpoint – Fried Popcorn Shrimp (real shrimp, not the Red Lobster frozen nonsense), Mozzarella sticks (very high up on my list of favorite cheese sticks), blackened scallops, blackened shrimp, baked potato, salad, and Judah’s go-to… shrimp alfredo.
The Station | Apalachicola – Start with the cheese curds, of course, the best fried scallops, and one of the only places to find good cheese grits. The grouper fingers are great. The oysters are great, so I’ve heard… I’ve never met an oyster I actually liked. If you can’t decide, just go for the captain’s platter.
The Blue Parrot | St. George Island – I love to hit The Blue Parrot for lunch because they have great fried grouper fingers on their special lunch menu. They’re not offered at dinner and the crowds usually come in at dinner, too.
The Beach Pit | St. George Island – I’m not sure I have a favorite here, but I love that there is such a variety of things to choose from. In my opinion, they have the best salads on the island. The chef’s salad is the salad of all salads! This is one of the few places that offer breakfast, too.
Half Shell Dockside | Apalachicola – I have yet to find anything I didn’t like here! Trust me and always go for the Crem Brulee cheesecake. There’s nothing else in the world like it! I also love that this restaurant is waterfront and frequently has live music. It’s fun to watch the shrimp boats coming and going as you wait for your meal.
Hole in the Wall | Apalachicola – Come for the fried shrimp, stay for the key lime pie!
BJ’s Pizza | St. George Island – This place is iconic for SGI! We love to grab a fresh hand-tossed BJ’s pizza on our first night on the island as we’re getting settled in. The buffalo chicken pizza is hard to beat.
Up the Creek | Apalachicola – Likely my favorite spot for fried shrimp. Enjoy your meal overlooking Apalachicola bay.
El Jalisco – Eastpoint – I know it sounds crazy, but this Mexican restaurant is known for having some of the best breakfast around!
Honorable mentions: Mango Mike’s, Paddy’s Raw Bar, The Grill, Family Coastal Restaurant, Hong Kong Bistro
Sometimes, it’s nice to take a break from the hot sun and go for a shopping spree.
On the island, it’s fun to walk through the SGI Trading store (you can’t miss it as soon as you arrive) and buy a t-shirt to commemorate the trip. If you have kids, you won’t escape without buying some sort of knick-knack displayed at the front counter. We always seem to leave with a toy car. This store is about as “touristy” as it gets for St. George Island.
Most times, we make the drive to Apalachicola and walk through downtown looking at all of the different shops. We always make a point to stop at The Grady Market, Apalach Outfitters, and River Lily. There’s such an old town feel and feels like a step back in time. Life surely slows down in this little town! While you’re there, drop in Apalachicola Chocolate and Coffee Company for some of their homemade gelatos.
Your first priority has to be to enjoy the intimacy of the relaxing St. George Island beaches. Something I love best about this island is the privacy you can get on your slice of the beach!
Here are a few other things to add to your list to do when you visit:
Brave the line for donuts at Weber’s Little Donut Shop. Yes, it’s worth it. Cinnamon sugar is my favorite. Pro-tip; go on Saturday mornings! Saturdays are turnaround days for most rental homes, so visitors don’t have time to run for donuts. Otherwise, during the busy season, prepare to wait in line for nearly an hour.
Rent bikes and ride the trail across the island or through the plantation.
If you need something to do on a rainy day, visit the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. This little aquarium showcases the habitats in the different waters of the estuary. An estuary is where a river meets the ocean. There are aquaria inside the reserve where you can see some of the live wildlife that lives in the salt waters and freshwaters. Surprisingly, a lot of people aren’t aware of this little gem because it’s a bit off the road. It’s definitely a unique learning experience for the area.
Visit Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream located on the island for hand-dipped ice cream! You’ve gotta eat it quick. It won’t last long in the heat and is a great way to cool off.
Climb the St. George Island Lighthouse and play on the nearby playground.
We have so many memories on this little island. We honeymooned here. When Judah was only a week old, he went to SGI for the first time. Call me crazy! This year, we celebrated his 5th birthday at the beach. This time last year, we were at the beach for our annual family trip and the day after we got home, Joanna was born. Call me crazy again!
Have you ever been to St. George Island? What are your favorite things to do here? What special memories do you have of the island?
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