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For some, the joy of fishing is the thrill of the chase. For others, it’s beating last year’s record catch. Still others love the meticulous selection of lures and other gear. But whichever is your favorite part, I’m guessing the peace and solitude are what keep you coming back.

Unfortunately, peace and solitude can be hard to find in northwest Florida… unless you head to the Forgotten Coast in late winter and early spring.

This time of year – before the tourists head back to the Gulf Coast – the water starts to get a little warmer and the fish start to venture out of the rivers and creeks, down the shallow waters of the oyster bars in Apalachicola. All along the east end of St. George Island, where the deep tidal currents run,

Shallow oyster bars and deep tidal currents make for good fishing on the east end of St. George Island, and it will only get better as the surface water continues to warm. This is the time of year to catch monster speckled trout on top of oyster bars very early in the mornings using top-water plugs. In fact, the big fish get so shallow that many seasoned anglers will actually get out of their boats to wade along the sand bars.

Catch and (careful) release is important when you do hook a big one, because these fish are carrying the future of fishing. As surf temperatures rise to 65 degrees and above, you’ll find whiting and possible early scouts of Spanish mackerel and the prized pompano.

As we get closer to spring, the winds pick up and make fishing difficult. But with steady warming along the beaches, you’ll find improving action – especially along St. George Island and the east end of St. George Island State Park.

Just like any other time of year, your best opportunities will always be in the first third of a tide change and, generally, when the tidal current is fastest. Along the beach, you’ll catch Spanish mackerel and ladyfish on top-water plugs and spoons; pompano, mackerel, and flounder on silver-headed jigs; and trout and mackerel on slow-sinking twitch baits. You’ll see more whiting and flounder very close on the beaches, just behind breaking waves; sliver-headed jigs work well here, too.

Now is your chance to get in some quiet time along Florida’s Forgotten Coast – just you and the fish – before Spring Breakers arrive.

Tight lines!

A long day at the beach, soaking up the sun and splashing in the surf, not a care in the world…that is, until you realize it’s almost time to head out for dinner, and there’s no time to rinse the salt water from your hair. Luckily, loads of popular hairstyles can be achieved with the added texture from salt water. Don’t believe us? Keep reading!

Our go-to style is a classic: loose, beachy waves. This look is beyond easy, as it just takes air-drying. The key to nailing it, though, is to combat frizz. A great method for keeping flyways at bay is to work in some leave-in conditioner to damp hair. We love this one from Living Proof. No leave-in conditioner? No problem! Just head to the kitchen! Olive oil has a litany of benefits for dry hair and is the perfect solution for frizz. Simply work a dime size drop (or less—you don’t want to make your hair too oily!) of olive oil to tame any frizz or flyways. Olive oil works wonders to rehydrate your hair after a long day on the beach.

In the island heat, you may want to get your hair off your neck. Salt-water texture is perfect for updos. Another classic (and easy!) look is milkmaid braids. All you’ll need is two hair ties (preferably smaller latex rubber bands, like these) and 4-8 bobby pins. Part hair in the middle and separate it into two even sections. Loosely braid both sections, securing each with a rubber band. Take one braid over your head and fasten it on the opposite side with 2-4 bobby pins. Repeat with the second braid, placing it on top of the first. If any section looks or feels too loose, add more bobby pins. Pull front pieces out to frame your face and finish with a light hair spray. You’re done—and adorable! For a more refined ‘do, try a beachy take on the iconic French Twist. Start by teasing the crown section of your hair for some volume, then gently pull your hair back like you’re going for a mid-pony. Go all the way to the ends of your hair and start rolling inwards until you reach your head. Secure with bobby pins in a crocheting pattern (think weaving!) so as not to flatten the look and finish with hair spray. This look is the epitome of beach elegance and is perfect for a date night or even a destination wedding!

Saltwater can be rough on your hair, so be sure to bring a deep conditioner, like our fave from Davines. And remember: regardless of how you style your hair, you’ll fit right in here on laidback St. George Island!

At Resort Vacation Properties, we’re all about accommodating our visitors with the comfiest homes and best beach and bay views on the Island! But, there’s one Forgotten Coast inhabitant that has a home far too small for guests—the sea turtle!

Turtles are one of the most revered and storied creatures in existence. Some groups of Native Americans believed that a turtle even carries the world upon its back. In cultures from other parts of the world, they can represent luck, endurance, and long life. Here on the Forgotten Coast, where many come to nest, we don’t have a particular mythology for them, but they are among our favorite guests. To help you get to know these fascinating creatures, we’ve compiled a list of little-known facts about our friends from the sea!

They’re travelers—and homebodies, too

Sea turtles can travel over 20 miles a day! Their greatest migration, though, is to home—some travel up to 1,400 miles to lay their eggs on the same shores where they hatched.

They navigate using the earth’s magnetic field (maybe)

Sea turtles can detect both the angle and intensity of the earth’s magnetic field. A new theory suggests that they use this ability to navigate, which is how they find their way back to where they hatched after years of being away.

Their sex is determined by outside factors

Unlike most creatures, their sex isn’t determined by genetics, but by outside factors—namely, the temperature of the sand outside of their nest. Warmer temperatures lead to mostly females, while cooler weather typically yields males.

They’re team players

Because it’s almost impossible for the hatchlings to make it out of the nest on their own, the hatching of one triggers the hatching of the rest. Even with all of the babies working together, it can take up to a week to dig out of their nests!

They’re night owls

When the babies finally make their grand entrance, it’s in the dark. They emerge at night and follow the light, which traditionally leads them to the water. Development along beaches has altered this, however, and oftentimes the lights from houses confuse the hatchlings. That’s why it’s important to turn off outdoor lights during nesting season!

They breathe air

Sea turtles are most often associated with their underwater adventures, but they actually breathe air! They’re champs at holding their breath—they can last 4-7 hours when they’re sleeping or relaxing! However, during physical activity, it’s a paltry 2-3 hours at best.

They can be geriatrics

A healthy sea turtle can live to be about 80, with some even surviving to be over 100! That means some of these incredible creatures even manage to outlive the human researchers studying them.

Unfortunately, our sea turtle friends are endangered. To keep the sea turtle population in existence, there are various laws in place to protect them. If you’re lucky enough to witness a hatching, leave the hatchlings alone and avoid using flash photography or any light. It’s important for them to find the ocean on their own, and, as they follow the moonlight to the ocean, other light will disorient them.

Part of what sets St. George Island apart from other beach destinations is the lack of high-rise condos and hotels marring the exquisite coastline view. This impacts not only the skyline and landscape of the island but also the way people vacation here. Visitors get the chance to live like locals in luxurious vacation rental homes right along the pristine beaches of the Forgotten Coast.

Although St. George Island is small, there are a variety of neighborhoods from which to choose when it comes to selecting your home-away-from-home. One of these neighborhoods is the central Gulf Beaches region, which stretches for four miles across downtown and is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and its most famous resident: the St. George Island Lighthouse. As the first planned neighborhood on the island, the homes are as eclectic as they are convenient, and many feature views like this live video. Here we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite houses in Gulf Beaches:

While the name Kaki’s Cottage implies a smaller home, this beachfront ranch-style home is actually quite spacious, with three separate living areas, four bedrooms, and three full baths. The well-appointed kitchen, complete with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, is perfect for whipping up something yummy for your crew to enjoy in the large gazebo, and the flat screen TVs and DVD players in two of the living rooms are perfect for chilling out when you’ve had your fill of sun.

The remodeled bungalow Absolutely Paradise is aptly named. Surrounded by palm trees and with an unobstructed view of the Gulf of Mexico, this three-bedroom home’s most alluring attribute is the 60-foot screened-in porch with two seating areas and a six-person hot tub. If you’d rather hang around in the central air conditioning, be sure to note the original artwork in the open plan kitchen/dining/living room, or take advantage of a variety of apps for movies and music on the 65” TV. An elevator makes this home welcoming to all.

The Gulf Beaches area is known for its unique architecture, and Lighthouse by the Sea is no exception. This airy four-bedroom home’s most striking characteristic is the stargazing tower—perfect for admiring the waves by day or shooting stars at night—but that’s far from its only amenity. Spacious sundecks are perfect for al fresco dining or sunbathing, while the hot and cold outdoor shower means sand stays out of the house and on the beach where it belongs.

Elegant Shell Bee is the epitome of laidback luxury. Three of the five bedrooms are beachfront master suites, including one with a walk-in shower and jetted tub, and all have direct access to the beautiful sundeck. The first-level beachfront bathroom makes beach days even easier, and the fenced-in yard is perfect for pups or tots. This property even includes a private pool!

All Resort Vacation Property rentals include a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, linens and towels, wireless internet, and a starter supply of consumables, like coffee filters and garbage bags. Almost all of these homes also include a credit for free Beach Gear, with choices ranging from bicycles and kayaks to umbrellas and lounge chairs—delivered straight to your door. And don’t forget Fido! Many of the properties (and all the ones mentioned in this post) are pet-friendly!

While the name Kaki’s Cottage implies a smaller home, this beachfront ranch-style home is actually quite spacious, with three separate living areas, four bedrooms, and three full baths. The well-appointed kitchen, complete with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, is perfect for whipping up something yummy for your crew to enjoy in the large gazebo, and the flat screen TVs and DVD players in two of the living rooms are perfect for chilling out when you’ve had your fill of sun.

The remodeled bungalow Absolutely Paradise is aptly named. Surrounded by palm trees and with an unobstructed view of the Gulf of Mexico, this three-bedroom home’s most alluring attribute is the 60-foot screened-in porch with two seating areas and a six-person hot tub. If you’d rather hang around in the central air conditioning, be sure to note the original artwork in the open plan kitchen/dining/living room, or take advantage of a variety of apps for movies and music on the 65” TV. An elevator makes this home welcoming to all.

The Gulf Beaches area is known for its unique architecture, and Lighthouse by the Sea is no exception. This airy four-bedroom home’s most striking characteristic is the stargazing tower—perfect for admiring the waves by day or shooting stars at night—but that’s far from its only amenity. Spacious sundecks are perfect for al fresco dining or sunbathing, while the hot and cold outdoor shower means sand stays out of the house and on the beach where it belongs.

Elegant Shell Bee is the epitome of laidback luxury. Three of the five bedrooms are beachfront master suites, including one with a walk-in shower and jetted tub, and all have direct access to the beautiful sundeck. The first-level beachfront bathroom makes beach days even easier, and the fenced-in yard is perfect for pups or tots. This property even includes a private pool!

All Resort Vacation Property rentals include a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, linens and towels, wireless internet, and a starter supply of consumables, like coffee filters and garbage bags. Many of these homes also include a credit for free beach gear, with choices ranging from bicycles and kayaks to umbrellas and lounge chairs—delivered straight to your door. And don’t forget Fido! Many of the properties (and all the ones mentioned in this post) are dog-friendly!

There’s nothing quite like celebrating the Fourth of July at the beach. The hot dogs, cold beers, and all around good times we associate with America’s birthday are accompanied by the red of the sunset, the white of the sand, and the blue of the ocean. Apalachicola Bay residents love the holiday so much we celebrate for two days! Here are our favorite ways to spend Independence Day:

If you’re like us and can’t wait for the Fourth, head across the Bay to Apalachicola for the 6th Annual Independence Eve celebration on July 3! The party kicks off at 5 P.M. at Downtown’s Riverfront Park with food, beverages, a parade, and kids’ activities while musical guests Johnny and the Loveseats, featuring Voice contestant Johnny Hayes, rock out on the main stage. The evening finishes with a bang as a fireworks show illuminates the beautiful Apalachicola River.

For the holiday itself, there’s no better place to be than St. George Island! The annual parade welcomes anyone (including visitors!) with a costume or decorated vehicles and encourages all to join in the fun with water guns. Get your golf cart decorated, your trailers hooked up, and your squirt guns filled!

The St. George Island 4th of July Parade will start at 10:00 am in front of The Beach Pit on W. Pine Ave.
The route will proceed east down Pine Avenue, passing Paddy’s Raw Bar and turning right (south) on 3rd St. East.  It will turn right again on E. Gulf Beach Drive to head west and complete the route! Line-up starts at 9:30, with roll-out at 10:00 am sharp. Be safe and we’ll see you there!

Later in the day is the fireworks show, lighting up the sky and reflecting vibrant sparkles of color upon the water and sand. Our favorite spot to watch the show is from the deck at Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe where you can enhance the fireworks with a yummy seafood dinner, specialty cocktails, and live music.

And if you’d rather spend the Fourth of July celebrating America’s natural splendor, look no further than Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park—the go-to spot for kayaking, fishing, and swimming in the pristine waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The park closes at sundown, so you have all day to play in the sun, sand, and surf!

Check out our available listings for a home-away-from-home to retreat to once the Fourth of July festivities have ended! Our vacation rentals selection is accessible here.

Spring break marks the beginning of beach season, full of some of our favorite things—sun on the skin, inhaling the sea breeze, and squeezing sand between our toes. In prepping for a day at the beach, snacks are an important aspect to consider. However, it can be all-too-easy to derail your beach body diet with the temptations of unhealthy treats. Here we’ve compiled three of our favorites snack options that are certain to keep you full, satisfied, and focused on the most important part of any (and every) St. George Island beach getaway: having unforgettable experiences on the Forgotten Coast!

Trail Mix

Trail mix is a staple snack food, and for good reason. It’s packable, can be adapted for almost any allergy or preference, and, most importantly, it’s delicious! Our version focuses on getting lots of vitamins and minerals that support weight loss, such as vitamin A, protein, fiber and calcium. For an added treat, roast the almonds with a little sea salt first to cull out their filling flavors.

Ingredients:

½ cup dried apricot

½ cup dried mango

½ cup almonds

½ walnuts

½ dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a one-gallon zipper bag. Shake to mix. Toss into your beach bag. GO!

Baked Kale Chips    

Every healthy diet should be full of lots of kale—it’s tasty and so good for you! An easy way to enjoy it on the go is with kale chips. These homemade kale chips are high in fiber and low in sodium, making them a perfectly delicious answer to traditional chips.

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp chili powder (optional)

1 tsp olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Tear leaves from stems into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and chili powder. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges are brown. Let cool before enjoying.

Fruit Kebabs

Fruit is a great way to fill up with a boost of fiber, and fruit kebabs make portion control a breeze. Simply pick your favorite fruits (we suggest cantaloupe, which has metabolism-boosting vitamin A and a high water content, and berries, which are low in sugar and high in fiber, but the fun part of these is that they’re completely customizable to your tastes) and slide them onto 4-inch skewers, and you’re done! As an added bonus, the skewers make it easy to dip in Greek yogurt, which will provide a blast of probiotics to help maintain a taut tummy.

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and if Facebook is any indication, daycares and elementary schools all over the country are celebrating by prompting children to dress up as their favorite Seussian characters. But the good Dr. isn’t just for those among us who can still get away with wearing jelly sandals! Most of us grew up reading his beloved classics, many times feeling inspired afterwards to hop on our own pops or request green eggs and ham from our moms. Even as an adult, reading The Lorax might just get you in the feels. With spring’s renewing warmth just on the horizon, take your Dr. Seuss reverence one step further with St. George Island’s Resort Vacation Properties’ One Fish Two Fish house!

This two-level beachfront cottage pays homage to the Dr. Seuss classic with its bright blue exterior and vibrant red shutters. You’ll find little hints of Seuss influence throughout the home—from the blue walls to the Kay and Jay decals in one of the bedrooms.

With three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gorgeous sundeck, and a screened-in porch, up to 10 people can relax right on the coast, all the while enjoying front-row seats to sunrises and dolphins diving in and out of the glistening Gulf waters.

 

The first-level summer kitchen is equipped with absolutely everything you’d ever need to whip up dishes from grilled fresh-caught fish to green eggs and ham! You’ll find a private pool with optional heating so members of your family can feel like little red and blue fish themselves. Take a relaxing soak in the hot tub on the sun deck or teach the family to play pool at the billiards table. And as a dog-friendly property, you can even bring the furriest member of your family along for the fun!

Located at 400 West Gorrie Drive, this West Gulf Beach bungalow is the perfect place to celebrate Dr. Seuss while spending time with your favorite folks. For more information, call 877-272-8206!