I admit it: Pizza makes me happy. To some, it’s just bread, sauce, and cheese. But to me, it’s the perfect food.

It’s great hot or cold, fresh or leftover. And with the right selection of toppings, you can please even the pickiest eaters (just don’t ask me to add pineapple).

That’s what makes pizza the perfect vacation vittles. Whether it’s just you and your significant other, a gaggle of pre-teens, or four generations in a rented beach house, pizza satisfies everyone. And the best place to go on St. George Island is BJ’s Pizza and The Island Sushi Company.

As the name implies, pizza is kind of their thing. You can build your own with over 16 possible toppings or try one of their specialty pizzas, like the local favorite shrimp pesto pizza, piled high with mozzarella cheese, shrimp, sliced tomato, scallions and pesto on a homemade pizza crust.

Another local favorite is not quite what it sounds like: buffalo chips. It’s homemade pizza dough covered in a blanket of hot wing sauce and parmesan cheese, then baked until crispy and served with ranch dressing. Yum on all counts.

Now, I’ve heard there are people who don’t actually like pizza (though I don’t think I’ve actually met one). For those folks, BJ’s offers a whole array of subs and sandwiches, from a traditional BLT to a mushroom Swiss burger. You’ll also find salads, appetizers, calzones, and Blue Bell hand-dipped ice cream.

If you’re looking for a real departure from pizza, The Island Sushi Company is right next door with everything from basic rolls to their own specialties, like the Island Bliss: spicy tuna, cilantro, jalapeno, and cream cheese.

So if you’re tired of wasting valuable vacation time asking, “What’s for dinner?” and getting crickets in return, just pile in the car and head to BJ’s Pizza. Your smart suggestion for the best ‘za on the island is certain to make you the vacay MVP!

Camping is a fun and exciting adventure – and some of the top campgrounds across the United States are part of the state park systems. For example, the Niagara Reservation, Valley of Fire and Hunting Island are all within state park systems.

If you want to fully enjoy the beauty of nature in these pristine surroundings, there are some steps you must take. The right safety precautions help ensure you are protected against the elements, wildlife and simple accidents that can strike any time.

Let’s look at some of the most important camping safety tips to be aware of:

1) Respect Nature

This basic concept will do the most to safeguard your campsite in any state park. Before you go into the wilderness, know what kinds of animals are on the grounds, respect their space and be careful not to get too close. Most animals are not aggressive, but they can be tempted to approach by the scent of food, the sight of a fire and other cues.

2) Don’t Pick or Eat Anything

Even the most skilled outdoorsman should avoid picking or eating anything growing in a state park. In the wilderness, there’s such a variety of plants that it is easy to misidentify them, even if you are familiar with them. Besides, even taking a small amount from the environment may have an ecological impact you don’t intend.

3) Be Cautious About Fires

Especially when camping in the backcountry, it’s crucial to follow proper safety precautions with your fires. There may be specific guidelines you must follow about how to build a fire pit, where your pit may be situated and how to douse it afterward. It’s particularly essential to make sure your pit is extinguished and every ember stomped out.

4) Be Careful with Your Litter

Litter can harm animals, and food waste may draw their attention and cause them to enter your camp. When you are far from developed facilities, you also must be careful about your own biological waste. It may be necessary to bury or otherwise dispose of food and organic waste when you are done. This helps prevent scents from disturbing animals.

5) Be Alert to Weather Conditions

It’s important to be alert to the weather, especially if you are going into the backcountry. Research the area and understand the risks related to rain, snow and heat during your stay. Keep a reliable radio so you can pick up updates from ranger stations.

With these camping safety tips, you’ll protect yourself and your campsite from the unexpected. That way, you can focus on relaxing and appreciating the great outdoors in your favorite state park.

Florida is home to a variety of animals, and some of the species here are special to our area because of the estuaries and marine marshlands. St. George Island is a top destination for visitors who want to take a step back in time to enjoy a more pristine and natural island that’s not built up. The strict building codes that keep this island as natural as possible make it ideal for visitors who want a glimpse of an endangered bird or sea turtles making nests. Taking an estuarine walk is a great way to catch a peek of the natural flora and fauna of St. George Island.

Birding Enthusiasts

Birdwatchers have documented almost 300 bird species on the island, making this a prime destination for birders. Some of these species include threatened and endangered birds. The time of year you visit can play a role in what you see because of neotropical raptors and birds that use it as part of their migration route, such as tanagers, hawks, buntings, warblers and falcons. Other birds found in this area include marsh hawks, egrets, bald eagles, osprey and herons. Four pairs of bald eagles that actively nest on the island could be spotted on your estuarine walk.

Reptiles and Amphibians

There are several reptiles and amphibians that call this area home. Some of the potential species you could see include the gopher frog, several types of salamanders, Eastern indigo snake and several turtle species.

Turtles can be a big draw to the area. Scientists believe there’s a minimum impact on the turtles that nest on the island from the humans who live here and light pollution at night, but it’s not enough to keep the turtles from returning to the area to the delight of residents. However, the turtle nests on Little St. George Island have to be protected from predators, such as coyotes.

Loggerhead, leatherback and green turtles have been found on beaches in the area. Hawksbill and Kemp’s Ridley turtle also can be found in areas around the bay and other waters, but not by the beaches. Alligator snapping turtles also are here.

Mammals

St. George Island’s estuaries also are home to a variety of mammals. You can possibly see manatees, Florida mice, two species of bats and raccoons.

You just never know what you may come across during your estuarine walk, and each day may bring something different. Contact us today to talk about booking your upcoming vacation to see all the species that can be found on our pristine island.

With so many ways to enjoy the natural beauty of the coastline, St. George Island is paradise for fitness buffs. If you’re looking for a way to stay fit during your visit, you won’t be disappointed. Take advantage of the following exercise opportunities during your stay on the Forgotten Coast.

Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Don’t settle for a run-of-the-mill workout. Get active by venturing off of the shores of St. George Island and into the Apalachicola Bay or the Gulf of Mexico on a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). You can embark on a trip alone from one of St. George Island State Park’s two boat ramps, or from the private beach of your Resort Vacation Properties rental home – or, make your way to a local shop to rent equipment and sign up for a guided tour.

Hiking at St. George Island State Park

Vacationers who prefer to exercise on foot will enjoy the 2.5-mile trail to Gap Point, which winds its way through St. George Island’s scenic state park. From this trail, you can also explore the 1-mile East Slough Overlook Trail, which offers resting benches and boardwalks for all levels of walkers to enjoy a relaxing, picturesque stroll.

Cycling on St. George Island

Avid cyclists will be delighted with the bicycle path that spans across the island, with end points at the St. George Island State Park and the Gulf Beach Drive W. and W. 12th Street intersection. In addition, cyclists may choose to extend the ride by several miles along the paved and stabilized roads at St. George Island State Park.

Your Active Adventure Destination

Ideal for the vacationer keen on staying active, St. George Island offers numerous exercise opportunities to help guests maintain a fitness routine while enjoying beautiful surroundings. Begin planning your Forgotten Coast visit by renting with Resort Vacation Properties.

When Halloween is on a weekend, it’s often observed on that day alone. But when it happens to fall on a weekday, it’s only proper form to celebrate the whole weekend leading up to the spookiest day of the year. This year, Halloween falls on a Tuesday, meaning this year is one we celebrate Halloweekend! That just leaves the question of how to spend it!

Just across the bay in Apalachicola are three different options to make your Halloweekend so much fun it’s frightening! All of these events are happening Saturday, October 28—it’s just up to you to decide!

A non-traditional way to celebrate Halloweekend is with the award-winning Autos and Oysters Auto Show in Apalachicola. Prizes are given to Top 50, Best of Show, Club Participation, and Sponsor’s Choice, but a category our guests might win is Greatest Distance Traveled. If you want to vie for that prize, head over to Riverfront Park between 9 AM and noon with your $20 registration fee. For those who just want to peruse the cruisers, admission is free, and the show is open to the public from 10 AM to 4 PM.

If you’d rather celebrate with a quiet night in, look no further than your own home away from home. You can craft something truly wonderful in the fully equipped Resort Vacation Properties kitchens, and many of our properties have DVD players so you can watch a scary (or not so scary!) movie. The Apalachicola Farmers Market is a great place to pick up fresh, local produce and seafood for a yummy dinner. Stop by to meet our local farmers, fishermen, and artisans at the Millpond Pavilion Market Street every second and fourth Saturday from 9 AM till 1 PM!

If you’re a fan of a more ghastly Halloween celebration, Apalach has you covered, too. Saturday evening from 6:30 to 8:30, the Apalachicola Area Historical Society hosts its biannual Ghostwalk in the Chestnut Street Cemetery. Wander through history as locals regale the stories that make the Forgotten Coast so unique, all while dressed in creepy cool attire from the time period. All proceeds go to the preservation of this historic cemetery.

However you choose to celebrate, it’s sure to be an epic Halloweekend on the Forgotten Coast! Ask one of our friendly team members for further insight to what you can get up to while you’re here this fall!

For centuries, people have sought out the healing benefits of hot water, and it’s no wonder, as soaking can decrease swelling and inflammation, support sore limbs and improve circulation. While St. George Island may not have been blessed with natural hot springs, we have the next best thing: hot tubs in scenic locations. Here are a few of our favorite properties that include hot tubs!

1 Beach Memory’s 6-person balcony hot tub offers breathtaking views of the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but that’s just one of many amenities. This beautiful home, just steps from the sugar-white sand beach, is perfect for the chef in you, with Pro-Series stainless appliances in the kitchen and a fantastic gas grill on the upper level deck. After dinner, play some pool at the 9-foot professional pool table or binge watch to your heart’s content on any of the flat-panel satellite-equipped HDTVs.

Over on the bay, Waterbird Watch is a nature lover’s dream: the whole property has been protected by MosquitoNix, an insect control system safer than DEET, meaning you can enjoy Apalachicola Bay sunsets from the open air porches without even a nibble from a buzzing pest. Beach days are a breeze with the provided chairs and umbrellas, but the screened in pool is perfect for days you want to stay bayside. When you want to unwind after the kids are asleep in the custom-built kids’ bunkroom, a 5-person hot tub, surrounded by the sounds of cicadas and calling birds, awaits you. There’s even a library stocked with birding books to help you identify your neighbors!

The casual coastal décor and open floorplan of Shooting Star offer prototypical beach house vibes. Drop off your things and you’re ready to relax by the private pool or take a stroll down to the beach, which is accessed by a shared walkway. And, after a long day at the beach, rinse off in a private outdoor shower and changing room. The 4-person hot tub at this property is nestled among soaring pine trees and lush greenery, providing a stunning setting for a tranquil soak. An added bonus of this property is the elevator, making the luxurious relaxation accessible to everyone.

Each of these properties include a beach gear credit, and, like all Resort Vacation Property rentals, you don’t have to pack the whole house: They each come with a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, linens and towels, wireless internet, and a starter supply of consumables, like coffee filters and garbage bags.

The Forgotten Coast is the ultimate place for beachcoming adventures! If you love collecting seashells during your waterfront vacation, you’re in luck – St. George Island, Florida, offers it all. Whether you’re staying in Resort Vacation Properties’ West Gulf Beaches, East Gulf Beaches, St. George Plantation or the East End neighborhood, you’ll enjoy exploring our beautiful sandy shores. Here are some common and rare seashells that you’ll be able to discover and add to your collection from St. George Island.

Common Seashells

When roaming the northern shores of the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll come across a variety of shellfish coverings. Oyster shells are often larger and are marked by a whitish-gray outer coloring. Scallop shells can be found in a variety of colors, and boat-shaped, ark clam shells are plentiful along the coastline. Cockle and broad-ribbed cardita shells are also prominent on St. George Island.

Rare Finds

After a storm, you’re likely to discover more exotic specimens, one of which is the fighting conch. Typically found after windy weather conditions, fighting conch shells are characterized by several spines along the top ridge, and protruding, yet smooth, outer edges. Lightning whelk, fig, olive, pen and baby’s ear shells may also be found on the Forgotten Coast. Rarer yet, the treasured murex, tulip and angel wing shells may wash ashore following a thunderstorm.

Plan Your Shelling Adventure on St. George Island

Bring home one-of-a-kind souvenirs by combing the white sand beaches of St. George Island for seashells during your next vacation. At Resort Vacation Properties, we offer a range of vacation rentals, including beachfront homes, so you can search for both common and rare seashells to your heart’s content. For more information about St. George Island or our rental properties, give us a call at 877-272-8206.

For some, breakfast is just a habit, a quick bite with coffee to get you up and running. For others, it’s a way of life. If you fall into the latter category, you’re in luck—the Forgotten Coast loves a yummy start to the day! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite breakfast spots to check out during your stay on St. George Island.

First up, we have a new addition to the island. Weber’s Little Donut Shop opened just a few months ago, but they’re quickly becoming a favorite of locals and visitors alike. They offer a wide variety of pastries with innovative flavors, like Fruity Pebbles and cookies and cream. But don’t worry about being overwhelmed with options; at just $1 a pop, it’s easy to try them all. It’s not uncommon for there to be a line before they open at 8:00 A.M., so get there early for the most options. And don’t forget cash! Weber’s is a card-free establishment.

Next is more of a St. George Island classic: The Beach Pit. Now in their sixth year, The Beach Pit is the top spot for traditional breakfast, with everything from bagels to crepes. A favorite dish is the signature seafood omelet, which comes with a choice of shrimp or oysters. If you like your breakfast with a little “hair of the dog,” this is the spot for you—The Beach Pit’s full bar starts serving when they open at 7:30 A.M.

Although it’s just across the bridge, the flavors of Apalachicola’s Café Con Leche will transport you to Latin America. The owner, Tamara Suarez, blends Venezuelan classics such as arepas and fried plantains, with classic breakfast dishes to create an experience as unique as the Forgotten Coast itself. Customers rave about their coffee, and, if you take your cup of joe with the digital edition of your favorite newspaper, you’re in luck—Café Con Leche offers free Wifi.

Of course, if you’re more inclined to stay at home for breakfast, that’s an easy option, too. All Resort Vacation Properties come with fully appointed kitchens, right down to coffee filters, and no dress code means pajamas are the perfect attire. Happy breakfasting!

One of the most exciting parts of vacation for endorphin enthusiasts is the chance to switch up our exercise routine. St. George Island is a fitness lover’s dream, with 17 miles of paved bike trails and our greatest resource for adventure—the Gulf of Mexico. Needless to say, many of our activities are water-based, but one company in particular stands out with its unique offerings.

In just five short years, young entrepreneur Sam Fortunas’ Island Fit SUP has become a fixture on the Forgotten Coast fitness scene. Her mission to spread her love of standup paddle boarding brought her back to the same area where decades before her great-grandparents immigrated to pursue the American Dream by way of sponge diving. That heritage of deep respect for Apalachicola Bay and St. George Island is apparent in her fitness offerings, which all take place outdoors, giving access to pristine surroundings while working up a sweat.

In the way of paddle boarding, Island Fit SUP has a variety of options, making it accessible to every level of fitness and background with the sport. Beginners can get a taste for paddle boarding with lessons covering everything from standing on the board to holding the paddle. Both private and small group lessons are available, ensuring you get lots of one-on-one time with your certified instructor. More experienced paddle boarders will enjoy the signature guided paddleboard excursions and eco-tours, led by St. George Island area experts. You choose the setting: explore the intricate estuary eco-system of Apalachicola Bay or seek out dolphins and sea turtles on the beachfront trips. And anglers will love the challenge of the paddleboard fishing trips!

If you’re looking for a more relaxing way to keep up your fitness regimen while on vacation, Island Fit Sup has you covered with their beach yoga classes. Imagine greeting the day on the beach with a yoga flow, with the waves rolling in sand and the gulls calling overhead serving as the soundtrack to your vinyasa. Soft morning sun caresses your skin, and there’s no need for a mat as a beach towel on the sugar white sand provides all the support necessary for this gentle session. Classes meet at the Lighthouse Public Beach every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, from March to September. Private lessons are available. Please bring a beach towel and cash; classes are $15.

Whatever your preferred activity is on the mainland, consider expanding your horizons with Island Fit SUP! You won’t get bored (no pun intended) with this one-of-a-kind way to get out and get active while experiencing gorgeous St. George Island!