This time of year, the airwaves are full of monster movies and creature features trying to scare you, but on the Forgotten Coast, we don’t have to look any further than the waters of the Gulf of Mexico discover the weird and wacky! Did you know that although oceans cover 70% of the world’s surface, humans have explored less than 5% of them? But even that 5% has proven to be home to some eerie organisms. Here are a few of our favorite freaky fish of the Forgotten Coast:

One creepy resident is also a favorite dish of ours—flounder! This fish may be known for its tasty flavor, but it also possesses a very distinctive profile. In adults, both eyes are on one side of its very flat body. But it gets even weirder: they’re not born that way! Baby flounders have eyes on both sides of their bodies, but, as the fish grows from the larval to juvenile stage, one eye migrates to the other side!

The Sheepshead Fish looks like your average, run-of-the-mill aquarium-type fish. Its black and white stripes are both eye-catching serve as the impetus for their nickname “Convict Fish.” However, their appealing appearance ends when they open their mouths—which contain what look like human teeth! They have many rows of them, too, to help grind up their favorite foods: mollusks and bivalves.

Barracudas also call the waters of the Gulf of Mexico home. Their signature features, such as the protruding under jaw and razor-sharp teeth, are definitely creepy, but it’s their attraction to shiny things that sends shivers up our spines. If you plan to swim in a barracuda’s habitat, be sure to remove all jewelry and watches. The sheen reminds them of their natural prey, and they’ve been known to attack humans, thinking their glittering trinkets are food!

What are your favorite creepy creatures from the deep?

Go time-traveling when you explore the quaint shops and eateries of St. George Island and nearby Apalachicola. Each town offers charming spots that will make you feel that you’ve been transported to the past. Whether you’re a history buff, foodie or shopping fanatic, the Forgotten Coast is the perfect place to find a touch of nostalgia! Keep reading to learn more about a few of our retro-themed local favorites.

The Old Time Soda Fountain

Serving the Forgotten Coast since 1905, The Old Time Soda Fountain, located in Apalachicola at 93 Avenue B, offers visitors a chance to take a seat at an old-fashioned counter and enjoy delicious treats, Blue Bell ice cream and much more. Guests will also want to check out the gift shop to browse souvenirs for friends and family back home.

The Tin Shed

This local favorite has earned a sterling reputation among antique collectors, and for good reason, because it’s jam-packed with a captivating assortment of nautical treasures, including ship wheels and floats, locks, keys, maps and flags. However, the collection isn’t restricted to maritime pieces. Take a look for yourself by visiting The Tin Shed at 170 Water Street in Apalachicola.

Bowery Station

Situated at 131 Commerce Street in Apalachicola’s Bowery district, Bowery Station offers ample historic charm alongside craft beer and wine served at a classic wooden bar. Patrons will feel right at home as they enjoy live music and relax at the inviting outdoor beer garden. There’s always something happening at Bowery Station, so be sure to check out their schedule of events.

Apalach Outfitters

If you’re planning a day of shopping, be sure to visit Apalach Outfitters at 32 Avenue D. The shop offers outdoor apparel from noted brands for both men and women – just look for the distinctive, historic building with pine doors, a tin roof and many other vintage details. Interested in a fishing trip? You won’t want to miss their selection of fly-fishing and light-tackle gear before setting sail.

Peer into the Past

Enjoy a walk down memory lane by exploring the Forgotten Coast’s historic shops, restaurants and landmarks. With so many places to see, events and shopping and dining opportunities, the only difficult part of planning a trip to St. George Island with Resort Vacation Properties is deciding what to do first.

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cool summer treat on St. George Island. Our vacationers can’t resist the allure of delectable ice cream flavors paired with unparalleled ocean views. Here are just a few of our favorite destinations for ice cream and other savory desserts.

Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream

Located at 147 East Gulf Beach Drive, Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream is a St. George Island classic. Flavors vary seasonally, which makes it easy to discover new favorites, and seating is available on the deck and indoors, with air conditioning to help you beat the heat. Once you’ve finished your snack, enjoy a stroll to explore the nearby businesses, including Island Emporium and Island Outfitters.

Sweet Surf

A more recent addition to St. George Island’s eclectic collection of eateries, Sweet Surf offers soft-serve ice cream along with a plethora of treats guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. Options include Italian ice, root beer floats, milkshakes and much more. Sweet Surf is conveniently located at 41 East Gulf Beach Drive, right next to St. George Island Trading Co. and just a few steps from the St. George Island Lighthouse.

Off the Island

When you explore the nearby city of Apalachicola, you’ll also discover mouth-watering desserts. Visit The Old Time Soda Fountain at 93 Market Street for ice cream and treats, or stop by the Apalachicola Chocolate & Coffee Company to enjoy homemade gelato, as well as chocolate, pastries, cookies and other irresistible sweets.

Come to the Forgotten Coast

For travelers and their taste buds, St. George Island has plenty to offer. Experience the sweetness of the Forgotten Coast by booking your stay with Resort Vacation Properties today.

For a picture-perfect destination wedding, look no further than St. George Island. With endless stretches of white sand, the unspoiled barrier island is a stunning natural backdrop, with numerous locations to say “I do.” In addition, the island is home to a full slate of event-related businesses, including caterers, photographers and more, ready to provide any service you’ll need to make your big day meaningful and memorable.

St. George Lighthouse Park

Nothing complements St. George Island’s maritime theme quite like the recently constructed Cape St. George Lighthouse at the center of the island. The picturesque tower is a one-of-a-kind setting for a wedding ceremony; also, both the lighthouse’s Lantern Room and the surrounding park itself can be reserved for the event, although space within the lighthouse is limited. However, the park’s first-come, first-serve beachfront pavilions can’t be reserved, so they’re better suited to more casual gatherings.

St. George Island State Park

Three covered pavilions are available on the grounds of the St. George Island State Park, and many of our brides and grooms choose to say their vows right on the nearby beach. Your guests are sure to love the park’s natural setting and stunning views. To rent a covered pavilion, contact the park by phone.

Your Resort Vacation Properties Home

Our lavish St. George Island vacation homes are available to groups of all sizes, from wedding parties to family reunions. Whether you’re seeking one extra-spacious house or a handful of houses in close proximity, these homes provide a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and easy access to the waterfront. If you’d like to hold your ceremony on the grounds of a Resort Vacation Properties home, reach out to our group event coordinators, or learn more about scheduling your special event at Resort Vacation Properties by perusing our special event FAQs.

Experience The Forgotten Coast

Whether you’re tying the knot or simply searching for a relaxing getaway, don’t settle for a location that’s anything less than perfect. Book a stay on St. George Island in Franklin County, Florida, with Resort Vacation Properties today.

As much as we consider St. George Island to offer the epitome of “island living,” one of the best aspects of the Forgotten Coast is that there is more than one isle to visit.  Stand at the easternmost point of St. George Island State Park and there in the adjacent St. George Sound you’ll see Dog Island.

Known locally as “the island that time forgot,” Dog Island has a tremendous local history and even enjoyed a bit of national publicity in the 1980s thanks to advertisements run in large northern markets such as New York and Chicago. An article published in the New York Times in March 1987 made a point that, “Dog Island is indeed secluded and everyone on the island wants to keep it that way.”

And on the island, such seclusion isn’t a negative, but one of the goals for visitors. There’s no magnificent bridge connecting the mainland—you have to take a water taxi to the island, which sits 4 miles south of Carrabelle. And the average day tripper is known to disembark with hiking boots, shell bags, a camera, and binoculars.

Dog Island measures nearly seven miles long, 1,800 acres, with approximately 60 percent of the island residing in the Jeff Lewis Wilderness Preserve. Lewis, a Florida businessman, paid $12,000 for Dog Island after World War II and later sold it to the Nature Conservancy in the early ‘80s for its preservation.

The natural beauty is incredible on the island. Two hundred species of birds call Dog Island home at some point during the calendar year and can be found everywhere on the island. Permanent residents such as egrets and herons share space with migratory shore birds like black-bellied and snowy plovers.

And considering it’s a barrier island like St. George, shell collectors are in heaven throughout Dog Island’s white sands. In terms of flora, there are almost 400 native and naturalized plants, including two species of orchid, 15 species of fern, and dunes filled with oak scrub, sea oats, and rosemary. Along the old Jeep trail, you can still see slash pines with horizontal gashes in their trunks, made by early 20th-century turpentiners gathering tree resin to be made into turpentine.

As Hurricane Michael revealed in 2018, Dog Island was once a place of shipwrecks, thanks to another hurricane — one that rocked Carrabelle in 1899. During that disaster, 15 ships ran aground on the island as the Category 2 storm wreaked havoc all the way to St. Teresa Beach. After Hurricane Michael hit the Forgotten Coast as a Category 4 storm, the hulls of the shipwrecks once again saw the light of day, offering yet another photo opportunity for visitors and residents alike.

Speaking of residents, there are about 100 cottages on Dog Island, which are mostly used during the summer and as rental properties. There are around 30 full-time residents on the island, one of whom chose to ride out Hurricane Michael in the 2,000-square-foot house he built in 2003 to withstand such storms.

Bradlee Shanks, a University of South Florida art professor, said he wanted to see how his home would perform during a hurricane, and later told the Tallahassee Democrat, “It’s performed marvelously.”

Ever come back from a less-than-stellar fishing trip and hear that tired, old phrase, “That’s why they call it ‘fishing’ instead of ‘catching?’” It may be true, but we’d rather wow folks with our bounty than rest on excuses.

And the way to do that is to know where and when to go and what to use once you get there. Luckily, the Apalachicola Bay area is flush with outfitters who not only have the bait and tackle you need, but the expertise to point you in the right direction to catch one of the hundreds of species of fish we’re blessed with around St. George Island.

When it comes to fishing, our clients traditionally like a mix of experiences. There are so many good charter companies that can take you to destinations more than 50 miles offshore in search of grouper, snapper, cobia, amberjack, and even trophy fish like mahi, wahoo, and mackerel.

But if you want to do it yourself, even rent a kayak to take you into the bay or river, here are the places you want to visit for gear and fresh bait. How else are you going to land the speckled trout, redfish, flounder, pompano, and tripletail that flourish throughout area waters?

The Forgotten Coast Fly Company offers fully customized flies using small-batch artisan materials, right in the heart of downtown Apalachicola. You can find them on the web at forgottencoastflycompany.com.

Right down the street, you’ll find Apalach Outfitters, one of the most popular retailers in town and home to everything from men’s and women’s clothing to light and heavy tackle for experienced anglers and happy kids, alike. You can find them on the web at apalachoutfitters.com.

Located at the south end of the St. George Island Bridge, Fishermen’s Headquarters is owned by Doug McKinney, whose seafood trailer has been an island mainstay for 25 years. Doug knows seafood, and his shop has the saltwater bait and tackle you need. And if you’re staying on the island, they also offer hardware and plumbing supplies. You can reach them at 850-927-4004.

The folks at Survivors Bait & Tackle like to boast that they’re 60 miles from the nearest Walmart and have been supplying anglers on St. George Island since 1983. They offer rod and reel combos at affordable prices and have live and frozen bait and traps for fishing and crabbing, respectively. They can be found on the web at survivorsbaitandtackle.com.

A one-stop shop for lots of gear and rental equipment, Journeys of SGI offers the aforementioned charter tours and guides, and also kayak and paddle board rentals. They also have lures, tackle and other accessories needed when you want to spend hours enjoying the natural wonder that is St. George Island and Apalachicola Bay. You can find them on the web at sgislandjourneys.com.

Another mainstay on SGI that features kayak and paddle board rentals in addition to tackle and clothing is Island Outfitters. They also rent fishing carts, which can be a blessing if you’re sand casting and wanting to make your way throughout the island’s coastline. And if you need frozen or artificial bait, there’s a wide selection to help you land both inshore and offshore species. They can be found on the web at sgioutfitters.com.

One of the newest and most enjoyable shops to offer outfitting services on St. George Island, Island Dog Beach and Surf Shop also offers art and apparel. They specialize in rentals and shopping, so if you need a t-shirt to go along with your fishing cart and/or kayak, you’ll find them all here. You can find them on the web at islanddog.dog.

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 an enigma, a place unto itself and unlike any other, a haven for misfits and nonconformists, where those who march to the beat of their own drums can find solace in their peculiarity being matched by their neighbors’. It’s no wonder, then, that the area is home to shopping as unique as its residents. A prime example of the Forgotten Coast’s eclectic flavor is The Tin Shed, home “the most comprehensive maritime collection east of the Mississippi” tucked away in an eponymous shack in downtown Apalachicola.

You might recognize this spot from its iconic Buoy Wall. Aside from being a favorite photo opportunity for tourists and locals alike, it’s also popular with national publications. It was used as a backdrop for a shot in the 2012 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and, more recently, was featured in Garden and Gun.

Inside, it’s like a museum where the relics are available for purchase. Everything nautical you can conceptualize is here: buoys, flags, signs, carvings, old charts, and more. You could spend hours perusing and barely scratch the surface. Unlike many souvenir shops, these items are authentic instead of kitsch, each with a long history and distinctive flair, so whatever you purchase is a one-of-a-kind addition to your home. It’s that attention to detail that has made for almost 20 years of success for The Tin Shed—they’ve even provided the decorations for several restaurants across the country!

So swing by The Tin Shed, get a shot of the Buoy Wall, and pick up something special to commemorate your trip. You’re guaranteed to find something as unique as the Forgotten Coast itself in this truly extraordinary shop!

The Tin Shed is located at 170 Water St. in Apalachicola and is open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Artists of all mediums are inspired by the beauties of the Forgotten Coast. In addition to the many shopping opportunities in the region, our guests will discover eclectic art galleries and gift shops featuring unique offerings from local artisans, from sea-inspired jewelry to stunning photography that captures the island’s scenic landscapes. Keep reading, and we’ll dig into all that the region’s art scene has to offer.

Art On The Island

Eager to get a taste of the Forgotten Coast’s art without leaving the island? You’re in luck. Sea Oats Gallery, located at 128 E. Pine Ave, is a longstanding St. George Island favorite that displays an extensive collection of art created by dozens of local talents. The gallery was initially intended to house the work of local artist Joyce Estes, but eventually expanded to include the diverse work of other local figures.

Outfitted with a similarly diverse collection is Island Dog Beach and Surf Shop, situated at 160 E. Pine Ave. This popular island shop displays local art in the form of original paintings, photography and more, which visitors can purchase to bring home a piece of the Forgotten Coast itself.

The Cape St. George Lighthouse Gift Shop is a great place to find a variety of original artworks and unique souvenirs of your trip. The historic lighthouse, with its 92-step wooden spiral staircase, offers spectacular views of the sunset and full moon during its popular Full Moon Climbs (reservations are recommended; call 850-927-7745). The lighthouse also hosts arts festivals and other cultural events throughout the year.

Finally, local photographer Chip Sanders has made a name for himself with his stunning shots of the Gulf Coast’s waters. View his work in person by visiting his gallery at 139 E. Gorrie Drive.

Art Off The Island

If you’re willing to venture into the nearby community of Apalachicola, you’ll discover even more local artistry. Richard Bickel Photography at 81 Market St houses the excellent work of the business’s namesake, focusing on an array of photographs depicting the historic downtown district of Apalachicola. In addition to shots of local scenery, you’ll find striking images from around the world.

Jeweler Marilyn Brogan creates one-of-a-kind pieces from recycled gold and silver and re-purposed gemstones. View her creations in her one-woman studio at 118 Commerce St. in Apalachicola.

The Gallery at High Cotton is the creation space for artists Jenny Odom and Beth Appleton. Browse their studio at 230 Water St. in Apalachicola from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday.

Schedule a Visit to St. George Island

Experience the artwork of the Forgotten Coast with a sunny getaway to St. George Island. Resort Vacation Properties offers a massive selection of vacation homes catering to all group sizes and budgetary needs, and each rental is outfitted with amenities that will make your stay as comfortable as can be. Browse our properties to get started.