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.

Whether your passion lies in creative writing or recreating natural scenery on canvas, St. George Island offers a winning combination of natural beauty and serendipity. Keep reading to learn about a few of the island’s most unique locations, each of which is sure to inspire your inner artist.

The St. George Island Lighthouse

The St. George Island Lighthouse’s prominent silhouette is well suited for the background of a watercolor painting – or as the setting of your budding romance novel! The iconic lighthouse is surrounded by a tranquil park, where you can relax at a bench or a picnic table and get your creative juices flowing; it’s also just a few steps away from a pristine beach.

St. George Island State Park

No visit to SGI is complete without a trip to St. George Island State Park, and for good reason – who can resist the chance to explore miles of undeveloped beach? You’ll have more than enough space to relax and take in the park’s unbeatable coastal scenery and endless stretches of pristine white sand. You’re sure to find additional inspiration when you explore the 3.5-mile trail through the park’s dunes and bay forest, featuring unspoiled, natural views.

The St. George Island Fishing Pier

Perhaps the only thing more enticing than gazing out at the sparkling water of Apalachicola Bay is spending a few relaxing hours enjoying the ocean breeze on the St. George Island fishing pier. This massive pier measures 600 feet, offering creative vacationers plenty of space to observe the water, as well as the impressive Bryant Patton Bridge.

Fuel Your Creative Side

Seeking to rekindle your artistic spirit? Look no further than St. George Island. Come delve into all that the island has to offer by booking a stay with Resort Vacation Properties today.

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.

If you have small children, had small children, or have ever seen small children from a distance, you’ll understand the desire to occasionally dine away from said children.

Don’t get me wrong; I love kids (I even have some), but sometimes you just want to enjoy a meal without your kids… and without anyone else’s kids either. Up the Stairs in Apalachicola gives you that opportunity.

But the real appeal at Up the Stairs isn’t just the lack of children (that’s just a bonus!).

Nestled above shops in the quiet fishing village’s historic district, this fine dining establishment combines fresh seafood, exceptional service, extraordinary signature cocktails, and a growing wine list to create an unforgettable dining experience.

House favorites like the crab bruschetta and crawfish as well as the shrimp and sausage gumbo reflect the unique flavors of Up the Stairs, where the freshest ingredients meet in the most interesting combinations. Shrimp Sambuca, Petit Curry Pot, and beef carpaccio also make an appearance on this anything-but-ordinary menu.

Up the Stairs is situated right in the heart of the village, convenient to shopping, museums, and the waterfront. So it’s a great place to refuel any time of the day or night. And if you’re not quite up for the whole dining experience, you can always choose to eat in the lounge, where you’ll find most of the same delicious dining room selections in smaller portions.

If you’re spending time on The Forgotten Coast – taking advantage of all the hidden gems you can uncover in the calm of winter – don’t miss Up the Stairs. The real star there is the food.

Or maybe the cocktails. Or the wine list. No, it’s definitely the food. I can’t decide; stop by for a bite yourself and let me know which one you decide.

Lunch and dinner served Wednesday through Saturday. Sunday brunch served 11am-3pm.

76 Market Street in Downtown Apalachicola.

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.

Nothing beats autumn at the beach. The emerald water turns a little grayer, the sun is a little lower, the breezes are a little cooler. The crowds are even a little sparser.

But the best part of fall in the Panhandle is the Florida Seafood Festival.

Now in its 54th year, this two-day celebration is the state’s oldest maritime festival, drawing thousands of visitors to the historic town of Apalachicola on November 3rd and 4th!

The Festival is held at the mouth of the Apalachicola River under the shady oaks of Battery Park. This confluence of the river and the Gulf of Mexico form an estuary that gives the local oysters their distinctive salty-sweet taste. Some call these the best in the country, and in fact, nearly 90 percent of all oysters served in Florida come from this spot.

Of course, oysters are king at the Seafood Festival, but there’s more to it than just eating (though that’s really enough, isn’t it?). The festival also features arts and crafts exhibits, plus other seafood-related events including the Oyster Eating and Oyster Shucking contests, Blue Crab Races, a downtown Parade, 5k Redfish Run, and the Blessing of the Fleet.

There’s also musical entertainment with headliners I Am They, a Christian music group performing Friday, and country music star Jerrod Niemann on Saturday.

The entire event is free and open to the public, so just head over to Apalachicola and enjoy the fun!