The Apalachicola Bay area is a place of wonder and natural delight, and although it’s the signature destination along what’s known as the Forgotten Coast, for more than three decades it’s been no secret to folks living in the region and beyond.

Most recently, in a glowing article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the writer found tremendous peace on the island. “Emptiness is one of the major pleasures of St. George Island,” he wrote and reveled in the lack of beach umbrellas marring the view and how “no lines of wooden chaise lounges march off into the distance like a military parade.”

“The quiet and lack of bustle is a 180-degree change from more-familiar places like Gulf Shores, Destin, and Panama City,” the March 2019 article reads. “Where you sometimes feel as if you’re crammed against your new ‘best buds’ who yell at their kids to ‘Get back c’here!’ and play their music at the same levels as an F16 fighter jet taking off.” The entire article, titled “For rest and relaxation, try Florida’s ‘Forgotten Coast,’” can be found here.

Photographers flock to St. George Island throughout the year for its flora and fauna, so we’re always pleased when the island lands on Top 10 photography lists, like the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s “10 Best Beaches in Florida” collection in March 2019. The island was listed in a three-way tie for 7th, and the caption pointed out “camping, hiking and picnicking as its primary recreational activities.” Here is the slideshow.

The first sunset image in Coastal Alabama magazine’s “10 Best Secret Beaches in Florida” is of a lovely “truly unspoiled stretch of sand” on St. George Island. And in the description, it says, “You’re unlikely to encounter any other humans, but you will see plenty of migratory shore birds. Interesting fact: this area of Florida produces 90% of the Sunshine State’s oysters.” The gorgeous sunset photo can be viewed here.

Coastal Living’s love of the island isn’t relegated to just landscapes. The amazing charity concert series, Rock By the Sea, was listed in the magazine’s “Best Music Festivals on the Beach in Florida” in 2018. The writer describes St. George Island as “the perfect place to listen to live music by the beach” and tells of how the multi-day festival showcases “dozens of up-and-coming songwriters, as well as more well-known headliners like former American Idol winners.” The slideshow is can be seen here.

Readers of Birmingham magazine and AL.com caught wind of the area in August 2017 when the article “The Forgotten Coast: The beach destination you need to know about” was published. The writer was impressed with the island’s lack of high-rise condominiums, its abundance of secluded beaches, and the “laid-back, genuine vibe that keeps those who are in on the secret coming back year after year.” She was also impressed with St. George Island State Park, referring to it as, “a preserved area with untouched beach, winding walking trails, and views of the bay.” The entire article is available here.

In October 1998, a New York Times columnist took a trip to St. George Island, tuned his car radio to Oyster Radio, WOYS-FM, and headed to the beach where he found, “soft white sand, wide dunes and gentle waves.” In the piece titled “A Relaxed Grip on the Panhandle,” he called the island’s beach, “perfect for family romps” and lauded St. George for its lack of population, which led to a vacation he described as: “Uneventful, yes. Boring, no.” You can read the entire column here.

It wasn’t the first time the Forgotten Coast was featured in the country’s most prominent newspaper. More than a decade earlier, in March 1987, the Times featured an article inspired by a vague advertisement about the area. In “A Florida Shore Where Solitude Rules,” the writer toured St. George Island’s eastern neighbor Dog Island, and the greater St. George Sound.

A guest at the now-abandoned Pelican Inn, this Times writer found the island “ideal for those who want to shell, swim, take photographs of unobstructed sunrises and sunsets, hike to tidal marshes and freshwater ponds, walk along clean white beaches, seek out birds (200 species during the year), and study plants (391 species of native and naturalized plants).” The article is archived here. (https://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/08/travel/a-florida-shore-where-solitude-rules.html)

And speaking of Dog Island, when Hurricane Michael hit the area in October 2018, it uncovered several shipwrecks that were originally stranded on the island during the 1899 Carrabelle Hurricane. In total, 15 ships were grounded on Dog Island, and here is where you can see the photos of those uncovered in the wake of Michael.

It’s easy to see why St. George Island is so newsworthy despite its presence at the gem of the Forgotten Coast. Experience the extraordinary aspects of our shores by planning your trip here today.

Some visitors to St. George Island are among the third and fourth generations of their families to vacation here, and while their magical traditions began decades ago, new ones are also starting every day. For those planning your first foray to gorgeous St. George, here’s a helpful guide with plenty of insider information to enhance your experience:

Let’s assume you’ve booked an amazing place to stay with a great rental company and have all the details regarding your lodging squared away. Once you’ve crossed the island’s scenic bridge, the best place to start is the St. George Island Visitor Center, located within a few steps of our historic lighthouse. Operated by the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, the center features plenty of free guides to area recreation, including fishing charters, outfitters, and gear rentals.

And while you’re on the property, pop into the Cape St. George Lighthouse Museum and Gift Shop and climb to the top of the 89-foot lighthouse, which offers a gorgeous panoramic view of where you’ll be enjoying your time over the course of your visit. Since most rental properties offer well-appointed kitchens and other comfortable amenities, consider stopping at one or both of the island’s grocery stores to get the necessary provisions for your stay.

With its own dedicated gas station, the Piggly Wiggly Xpress is a great place to top off your tanks and fill a basket with needed items. And across the intersection, the newly renovated SGI Fresh Market offers a large selection of items, fresh produce, a variety of refreshments, and a deli counter with fresh seafood.

And speaking of fresh seafood, if you’re looking for anything from fresh shrimp and oysters to an amazing, ready-to-eat seafood dip, you’d do well with either — or both — of the island’s seafood trailers. Both Doug’s and Dail’s seafood trailers have been staples on the island for more than 20 years, and both are located near the island’s main intersection and usually open seven days a week to provide the freshest of the sea’s bounty.

Once you’re unpacked and settled in your vacation home, you can start thinking about how much, or little, you want to do while on St. George Island. Guests of Resort Vacation Properties enjoy free beach gear including kayaks, paddleboards, bikes and beach games to go along with each home’s high-speed WiFi, cable or satellite. But if you’re looking for a canoe, fishing gear or a charter trip through the scenic local waterways, there are a number of outfitters to help you, including Journeys SGI and Island Outfitters.

Then there’s the beach. St. George Island has 22 miles of sandy, pet-friendly coastline with plenty of room to stretch out without folks sitting right next to you. Seashells are wonderful mementos to bring home with you, as are the unlimited sunrise and sunset photos you can create right on your stretch of beach.

Looking to get out and socialize a bit? The restaurants on St. George offer a variety of tasty meals and expansive cocktail menus for a great lunch or dinner out, and there are opportunities for live music, trivia, and karaoke almost every night. And for those who love to shop, there are art galleries on the island, and Apalachicola’s delightful shopping district is just a short drive across the big bridge, with shops offering apparel, home goods, fine art, and more. You can get amazing meals, many featuring famous Apalachicola oysters, and entertainment there, too.

And an inaugural visit to St. George Island wouldn’t be complete without a few hours spent enjoying its signature state park. With more than 2,000 acres of natural habitat, the park offers coastline on both the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay. There are opportunities to hike, bike, geo-seek, swim, camp, fish, and take in the scenic glory of untouched coastal Florida. Photographers flock to St. George Island State Park to capture the wildlife, landscapes and especially the nighttime stars which, due to little light pollution, are among the best in the Southeast. The state park will help you learn about the natural history of St. George Island while experiencing it firsthand. And the rest will be up to you!

For more ideas about what to get up to along Florida’s Forgotten Coast, click here.

One of the most beloved organizations in all of the Forgotten Coast protects and cares for the area’s many homeless and unwanted pets. The Franklin County Humane Society’s shelter was founded in 1991 and is located near the Tate’s Hell National Forest, just northeast of St. George Island. It was created through the efforts of veterinarian Dr. Hobson Fulmer so that the county “could have a facility that could better the lives of our many homeless animals.”

It is a non-profit entity that exists to combat the rising trend of animals being euthanized every year. According to the American Humane Association, 56 percent of all dogs and 76 percent of all cats — 10 million in total — are euthanized each year. So, the Franklin County Humane Society provides safe-haven, medical care, food, and loving attention for the pets until adoption, in the hopes of relieving animal suffering, preventing animal cruelty, eliminating animal overpopulation, promoting humane education, and enhancing the human-to-animal bond.

Before adoption, animals are spayed or neutered and given proper vaccinations, and for a nominal fee, families can take them to their forever homes and love them for years to come. After Hurricane Michael, four vans arrived from the Tampa area with volunteers from the SPCA Tampa Bay and Pinellas Humane Society to transfer all 35 cats and 14 dogs the shelter was housing at the time. The round trip took them 16 hours due to road closures, and the shelter was back up and running just six days after Michael’s landfall.

The Franklin County Humane Society is supported by events and other organizations throughout the community. During Mardi Gras each year, the Mystic Krewe of Salty Barkers donates funds raised from its Barkus Parade. And in 2018, it was estimated that several thousand people and their pets came to Riverfront Park in Apalachicola to celebrate with the Krewe.

And every year on St. George Island — where the beaches and many businesses are pet friendly — the SGI Brewfest is put on by a committee of caring island residents with the support of more than 40 breweries and sponsorship by Resort Vacation Properties. All proceeds from the festival go to the Franklin County Humane Society, and the 2018 event raised $33,000.

For more about the Franklin County Humane Society, visit Forgottenpets.org.

Grabbing your girlfriends, heading to St. George Island, and sticking your toes in the sand for a few days is not only a wonderful way to celebrate friendship in a gorgeous locale, but it can actually help you live longer. According to scientific studies, friendships can ward off dementia and increased life expectancy. It has also been proven that active friendships help make you friendlier, more generous, and more trusting.

A girls’ trip isn’t just a vacation—it’s a chance to explore the best moments of the past and strengthen relationships for a happier future. And no matter what your tastes or interests, the island has what you need to relax and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Want to start your day limber and calm? Take the group down to the beach for sun salutations with Island SUP&Yoga. And once you’ve loosened up, try something new and take a paddle board lesson from the same female instructors. A properly balanced body helps clear your mind, which will undoubtedly lead you to maximum relaxation.

St. George Island and nearby Apalachicola also have numerous art studios where you can take a painting class or even try your hands at sculpture. Sea Oats Studio offers a variety of workshops both indoor and “en plein air.” It’s the ultimate way to connect creatively with your friends and have something unique to remember your travels by. And speaking of memories, having a comfortable place to stay on the island is the best gift you can give yourselves and each other.

Whether you’re traveling with your two best friends, or a group of 10 laughing ladies, Resort Vacation Properties has the place for you. Solitude is a seven-bedroom home located on the island’s east end and offers easy access to the beach while staying delightfully private. It features a screened-in porch adjacent to the pool, which includes a six-person hot tub and private deck.

For larger groups with a bit of do-it-yourself flair, A Glimpse of Heaven features a 40-foot-long, screened-in pool with a giant dolphin fountain. The pool is adjacent to an opulent living area, complete with a half bath and an outdoor kitchen. It’s like having a giant swimming pool at one end of your amazing living room! What could be better than sipping wine on a comfy couch and then taking a quick dip before having a delicious seafood dish prepared a few feet away?

Those are just a couple of the amazing properties available on St. George Island, and they’re all within a short drive, stroll, or bike ride from some of the best restaurants Florida has to offer. You can get everything from fresh Mexican fusion dishes to pit barbecue and blackened fish caught the same day. And St. George Island features some of the top bartenders in the business for when sharing stories makes everyone thirsty.

Companionship is a priceless commodity in today’s world, and what’s good about spending time with your closest friends is that once you’re together, everything else is just the cherry on top. Which is why the number one destination on the island for our visitors is the more than 20 miles of sandy beach. All you need is a chair, an umbrella, and some sunshine — plus the people you enjoy being with more than anyone else.

The warmer months help us forget the previous seasons until, like melted frost on a summer day, they are out of sight and far out of mind. But hurricane seasons like that of 2018 leave a lasting impact on our hearts and, in the case of the Florida panhandle, our communities.

Those of us in the area stand with our coastal cousins in the wake of Hurricane Michael and have supported disaster relief efforts since October 11, when he came ashore. Because we know what’s best for the Forgotten Coast is best for everyone living here year-round or just making it their home away from home.

Fortunately, St. George Island — and nearby communities like Apalachicola, Eastpoint and Carrabelle — were spared a majority of Michael’s wrath. The damaged roads, including U.S. 98, have been repaired, allowing access from the north, east and west, and the last of the debris has been cleared. And now that spring has sprung and the water temperatures are headed into the 70s and 80s, it’s the perfect time to rediscover the jewel of the Forgotten Coast.

St. George Island State Park—with its 2,000 magnificent acres—is once again open, and the charter boat captains are gassed up and running fishing tours multiple times a day. And all of the island’s outfitters have kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, bikes, and golf carts ready for rental.

And a huge positive to come out of Hurricane Michael’s churning of the Gulf waters has been the bounty of seashells that can be found for miles along the island’s southern shore. So, in addition to the sandy white beaches, natural souvenirs abound for collectors who want a few spectacular mementos of their trip to a true paradise the hurricane couldn’t tarnish.

The Forgotten Coast has a history that spans centuries, and one of the reasons the area is so beloved by residents and visitors alike is the stories from long ago. They add character to match the sparkling water, sugar-white beaches and “island time” mentality that makes St. George Island and the adjacent communities so wonderful.

And whether you have an hour or a week to dive into the rich history of the coast, there are fascinating museums ready to tell interesting tales on topics ranging from WWII heritage to maritime intrigue.

 

Apalachicola Maritime Museum

103 Water St., Apalachicola. Open Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The Apalachicola Maritime Museum provides a hands-on learning environment for all things nautical. Through programs such as boat building and restoration, historical tours, and educational programs, visitors are able to get an insider’s view into the three rivers that converge to become the largest river in Florida—the Apalachicola River. The main exhibit is the Heritage of Apalachicola, originally named the Quark, a 58-foot wooden ketch from the 1930s. Daily sailing adventures on both the bay and river are offered.

 

Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center

108 Island Dr., Eastpoint. Open Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center — or ANERR, as the locals call it — features more than 1,300 species of plants, 131 species of fish, and 50 species of mammals within 246,000 acres nestled along Apalachicola Bay. It’s great for nature lovers who enjoy sightseeing, and the more curious who want to learn more about the environment around them. ANERR features winding paths that incorporate pine flat woods, oak hammocks and freshwater marshes where cattails and sawgrass grow wild. The reserve also includes a Nature Center features 18,000 square feet of learning space including two working wet and dry research laboratories.

 

Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum

Carrabelle City Complex, 1001 Gray Ave., Carrabelle. Open Monday – Thursday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Friday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

For World War II buffs, the Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum, in nearby Carrabelle, is a must visit. The camp was opened in 1942 as a training camp for Infantry Divisions and their support units in amphibious operations. In the following four years of operation, 250,000 men trained there before shipping out to both the European and Pacific fronts. The exhibit tells the story of the United States’ extensive effort during World War II through a widespread history of those who trained there, as well as photographs of daily life in the camp. Veterans who trained at the camp also contributed memorabilia, with everything from uniforms to souvenirs.

 

Cape St. George Light Museum and Gift Shop

2B East Gulf Beach Dr., St. George Island. Open every day except Thursday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., with additional hours for seasonal full-moon climbs.

Don’t think you have to leave St. George Island to get your dose of history! The Cape St. George Light Museum and Gift Shop is conveniently located in the center of our little island. This iconic landmark has a long and storied history, with four different iterations defining the skyline over multiple decades. The last structure, which stood for 153 years, was sadly destroyed in 2005, but the museum was built in its likeness. Now, visitors can learn about the history in the museum and replica of the Keeper’s House, as well as climb to the top of the lighthouse for unmatched views of the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Carrabelle History Museum

106 Avenue B Southeast, Carrabelle, Open Wednesday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday –  Saturday 10 p.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. 

The museum opened in 2009 and is located in the Old Carrabelle City Hall, which was built in 1933 as project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The museum has four rooms full of historic artifacts, a large entry hall for special displays and a workroom/office for the volunteers to process the incoming artifacts. The displays highlight local heroes, the early 1900s steamship Tarpon and Carrabelle natives who lived in the area thousands of years ago.

 

Crooked River Lighthouse

1975 Hwy 98 W, Carrabelle. Open Wednesday – Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m, Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The Crooked River Lighthouse stood for nearly 100 years, illuminating the pass between Dog and St. George Islands. Newly restored, the 103-foot iron and steel lighthouse stands on the main land where it was originally built in 1895 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse beams nightly with an acrylic replica of its original 4th-order Fresnel lens. The tower is open for climbs, and there is also the Keeper’s House Museum and Gift Shop along with an adjacent picnic area features a 70-foot wooden pirate ship.

 

John Gorrie Museum

46 6th St., Apalachicola. Open Thursday – Monday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. year-round, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The John Gorrie Museum chronicles the life of one of Apalachicola’s most famous residents, Dr. John Gorrie. A gifted physician and committed citizen of Apalachicola who served as postmaster, city treasurer, town councilman and bank director, Gorrie’s most famous contribution was a refrigeration unit for his yellow fever patients. This machine laid the groundwork for modern refrigeration and air conditioning. The museum honors his legacy by showing how one man can impact the world.

 

Orman House Museum

177 5th St., Apalachicola. Open Monday, Thursday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

This antebellum home was built in 1838 by cotton merchant and businessman Thomas Orman on the Apalachicola River. The house features details of both Federal and Greek revival styles with wooden mantelpieces, molded plaster cornices and wide heart-pine floorboards. Adjacent to the house are the Chapman Botanical Gardens, featuring a butterfly garden, other botanical features, walkways and open spaces. And there is also the Three Soldiers Detail, a bronze replica of the Vietnam memorial statue in Washington, D.C.

 

Raney House Museum

128 Market St., Apalachicola. Open 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Originally constructed in 1838, four short years after cotton commission merchant David G. Raney moved to Apalachicola, the Raney House blends elements from Greek Revival and Federal-style architecture. The mansion, now a historic museum, is listed on the National Register of Historic Homes and contains furniture, documents, and artifacts of the 19th century.

Spring Break is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of schools being out to string together quite a few days for an adventure. But many of us across the country wince at the thought of trying to relax with toes in the sand and the sounds of the surf in our ears during Spring Break. Because many Florida beaches are overrun with high school and college students who, while as welcome to enjoy area sands as we are, don’t necessarily do so calmly or quietly.

But St. George Island is the perfect location for Spring Break, for a number of reasons. First, it’s primarily a place for families, so many of the students bent on cutting loose head for other coastal towns. That keeps the beautiful sandy beaches free from huge crowds, and the negatives associated with them.

Which doesn’t mean it’s a time for isolation, either. Just like in other peak times, the businesses around St. George Island and the Forgotten Coast are open and ready to welcome their guests. Which means live music, art events, great food, and the sense of community that makes our coast the very best.

Plus, the weather in the early spring is ideal on the island, usually breaking into the 70s, making for pleasant sun-kissed days and cool nights where a fire in the fire pit is still a great idea, as is stargazing. And many of the homes we offer through Resort Vacation Properties can include a hot tub or heated pool, so you can enjoy a little dip in your swimsuit day or night!

Another major benefit to Spring Break vacations on the island is all of the incredible outdoor activities St. George provides. On any given day visitors can enjoy fishing — offshore and inland — kayaking, hiking, bicycling, window shopping and more, all within a few minutes’ drive. And there are several wildlife preserves, including St. George Island State Park and the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve across the bay, where birding and other observations help you revel in the natural diversity of the area.

Finally, one of the best and most underestimated pleasures of Spring Breaking on St. George Island is the ability to stay in. Our properties offer all you need to prepare an exquisite meal, especially with fresh seafood a short drive away and nearby stores offering all the fresh ingredients you need. And you can host an incredible movie night or even a get-together with neighbors, should you feel so inspired. Our homes have great decks, outdoor barbecue areas, and a host of gaming opportunities, all within sight or a short walk of the waterfront.

This Spring Break, the question shouldn’t be “Why should we?” but “Why shouldn’t we?” The entire island awaits you and the entire family, with all the positives and none of the negatives. To make it work, all we need is you.

A pair of signature Resort Vacation Properties homes, located inside the gated St. George Plantation, are among the highlights of this year’s St. George Island Tour of Homes. They are “Chasing the Sun” and “Camelot.”

According to the St. George Lighthouse Association, which sponsors the tour, its homes “showcase the distinct architecture, décor, landscape and vistas on the island, from the gated St. George Plantation on the West to the beautiful gulf views on the East End.”

The beautiful sunshine yellow beachfront home, “Chasing the Sun,” is a star of the Plantation, and was redecorated and renovated in Spring 2018. It features four levels of style and surprises, including peak floors, fireplace mantels recycled from a Kentucky barn and amazing beach vistas combine for comfort and dazzle.

Nestled in lush tropical vegetation, the warmly decorated “Camelot” is truly a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the real world. It is all elegant curves and unexpected angles. Rich furnishings, original art and a secret grotto evoke the feel of a mythic castle. It also features a beautiful lagoon pool and rock fountain.

From the St. George Island Tour of Homes:

The third home in the Plantation, “Pelican Peace,” is a lovely, lively, full-time home. The rooms are decorated in South African and Mexican themes, and include bright artwork throughout. Marble stairs, leather furniture, a black cypress dining table and an enviable kitchen exude elegant warmth.

“Eventide” is a brand new, elevated, two-story home designed to fit its coveted bayfront lot. Inside, the inviting and ingenious space is crafted to optimize every inch for leisurely living. Nautical and nostalgic décor create a serene space throughout, perfect for enjoying the days and glorious nightly sunsets.

“Rock Me On the Water” is a remodeled 1960s beach house filled with custom pieces made from reclaimed wood, metal siding and roofing. Opening a closed porch and combining four rooms created a large front room and sweeping porch facing the Gulf of Mexico and overlooking the custom pool.

The homeowners of “HappiNest” say “this is our before-and-after house.” Originally a three-room house, it is now a spacious, peaceful space with modern finishes. Sea green-blues and rust-coral accents add pleasing splashes of color. An Old Florida ambience still permeates this transformed home.

“East of Eden” is a grand house with an island heart. The main living area is a host’s dream featuring a rough-edged pine table and chef’s kitchen. Views from every floor are simply stunning. Outdoor luxuries include a seating area, second kitchen and full bath with galvanized tub.

The Plantation Clubhouse is once again on the tour and will present an exhibit of mixed media art by Beth Appleton, Jane Broddus and Judy Ehrhardt. Also open to tour participants is the Cape St. George Lighthouse and the Keeper’s House Museum and Gift Shop.

The SGI Tour of homes will be held Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are available online at sgitourofhomes.com or at the Lighthouse Gift Shop at the center of St. George Island. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the tour.

When you arrive on St. George Island, the one thing you can be sure of is that everyone wants you to have the best, most fulfilling vacation ever. From the shop owners to the park rangers and your fellow visitors, when we’re all happy, life is wonderful.

And nothing can turn a good day bad like trouble. Just like traffic officers enforce the rules to ensure safe passage on area roads, beach officials use a flag system to communicate the levels of safety, and danger, that exist in the Gulf of Mexico. After all, the safety and enjoyment of our public beaches are affected by changes in tide and surf conditions.

The warning flag system was developed by the United States Lifesaving Association, in conjunction with the International Lifesaving Federation to be an easy-to-understand guide to possible water hazards. The flags come in multiple colors: red, double red, yellow, green and purple.

Red flags are the most serious of the beach warnings and warn beachgoers of severe hazards in the water. A single red flag indicates the surf is high, there are dangerous currents in the water, or both. It’s still possible to swim under red flag conditions, but swimmers are expected to use extreme caution. A double red flag means that the water is closed to swimming due to conditions too dangerous for any swimmer.

Yellow flags indicate rough, but not life-threatening, conditions requiring caution. It means there’s the potential for high surf and dangerous currents and/or undertow. Swimmers in the water under a yellow flag should only swim near lifeguards and be mindful of their instructions.

Purple flags are specifically related to dangerous marine life, such as sharks, jellyfish and other creatures. It’s possible the purple flags can be flown along with another colored flag, and they are only put in place when dangerous sea life has been spotted. A purple flag does not mean the water is closed to swimming, but anyone entering the water should use caution and be on the lookout for dangerous sea life.

Green flags are our favorite, because they indicate conditions are clear. But it’s important to remember the environment can change quickly, so make sure you keep an eye on children, heed lifeguard instructions, and use general caution at all times.

Want an easy way to check the current water conditions before you head to the beach? Check out our Live Beach Cam, and the Current Weather Conditions!

Look around the homes of most St. George Island vacationers, and you’d be hard pressed not to find a sunset family photo, framed and prominently on display. It’s only the most seminal image of any beach vacation, after all. And considering our island has some of the most amazing vistas, who wouldn’t want to preserve an amazing memory with their family on the sugar-white sands?

But how many times has this happened to you: the sun’s nearing the horizon or has just gone under, the skies are ablaze with colors straight off Monet’s palette, and everyone in the picture is drowned in shadow. So you do what everyone would, you edit the photo digitally to lighten up the faces and immediately lose the colors that took your breath away to start with.

Or maybe even worse, you leave it as is, and each time you look at the picture, you’re having to remind yourself who was there with you, because you just can’t tell.

The solution is so simple that you’ll never again have to deal with the problem. And better yet, your family photos taken at sunset will be nearly as breathtaking as the memories they chronicle.

First things first: whether taking the photo with a phone or a real camera, turn on the flash. It may take a few shots to get it right, but even a selfie can turn out great if you have what the pros call “fill light.”

What if you have a group larger than a selfie can capture, and you’re in a spot that’s secluded (which is exactly why you came to St. George, by the way). For less than $20, you can get a tripod that will hold either a cell phone or a camera. That way you can fit everyone in! Use the timer, and you don’t have that awkward pose where everyone can tell exactly who was holding the phone.

And if you can at all help it, don’t use a phone. A real camera, whether it’s a point-and-shoot model or a DSLR, can be purchased for a reasonable rate. After all, since you’re in the business of making incredible memories, don’t you want to capture them in the best way possible?

For the more discriminating eye, an on-camera flash is too much. It can flatten the subjects in the image, and in some early evening light, it can cast an abnormal pall on those being illuminated. So if natural light is preferable, consider a reflector. You can buy one on the cheap, but if you don’t want to go that far, consider a white towel or sheet.

Any reflective surface can do the trick, just move it around until you see the light brighten the areas you’re looking for.

Lastly, take a bunch of pictures. Even if you’re laughing or some folks aren’t looking at the camera, you’d be surprised how the most beloved images are the ones that don’t look forced and are far more candid. You came to St. George Island to relax, so all the pictures of you taken here should reflect that! Consider making it a tradition to snap that obligatory sunset photo, and prepare to be amazed at how your family grows and changes over the years of visiting gorgeous St. George.