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Winter at the beach brings a quiet serenity that’s perfectly suited to the introspection of a New Year’s resolution, the reawakening of the early spring, even the romance of Valentine’s Day.

No matter what you’re celebrating, you won’t find a more perfect place to toast the sunset – or the sunrise (hey, we don’t judge) – than St. George Island on Florida’s Forgotten Coast.

I can certainly recommend a few places to find a quiet place with a view of the Gulf, but honestly you’d have a harder time finding a place that doesn’t sparkle with coastal magic.

  • Up the Stairs in Apalachicola, an upscale, quiet dining location to get away from the bustling crowds (21+ only).
  • Gormley’s at the Gibson, set in the Historic Gibson Inn in downtown Apalachicola.
  • Apalachicola Ice Company, where you can enjoy a beer and some live music in the courtyard
  • Bowery Station, complete with outdoor beer garden and live music.

Of course, these are just a few of your options. All along Highway 98 – otherwise known as the Big Bend Scenic Byway Coastal Trail – you’ll find a string of quaint, small towns that feel like you’ve stepped back in time to old Florida: from Port St. Joe to St. George Island, Apalachicola and Carrabelle. Each one offers its own unique selection of bars and restaurants that are peppered with patios, balconies, verandas, terraces and decks perfect for you to behold the sunset, the surf or just the people walking by.

And if you really want to get away from the crowds, grab a bottle of bubbly and settle in somewhere cozy on St. George Island. You can drink a toast to new beginnings with someone you love. Our selection of rental homes is rife with decks and patios ideal for reflecting on all that the new year holds in the glint of a perfectly blush-colored sunset set to the melodies of rolling waves. Cheers!

Few things are as romantic as a beach sunset with your sweetheart. The sun slips beneath the horizon, the waves roll up on the shore, reflecting the brilliant hues of the last light of day, and—all at once—time seems to stand still. It’s hard not to feel like a love-struck teenager again in those magic hours between day and night, especially in a place as striking as St. George Island, so we’ve gathered our favorite romance spots for sunset seekers.

A classic sunset date is, of course, dinner. On St. George Island, it’s never a matter of choosing whether or not to witness the stunning water surrounding you, but rather choosing between the Gulf of Mexico or Apalachicola Bay. The view from The Blue Parrot’s patio is unparalleled for the Gulf, whereas Paddy’s Raw Bar offers stunning sunsets over the Bay. Back on the mainland in Apalachicola, the no-children policy at Up The Stairs makes it a great spot for a quiet, romantic night out, and their balcony offers a stunning view of downtown and the river.

Another romantic option is a sunset picnic. Pick up some local-caught steamed shrimp (and maybe a bottle of wine!) from the Piggly Wiggly or SGI Fresh Market and then stroll down to the beach. There are plenty of picnic facilities on the public beach, but we recommend doing as the locals do by bringing a blanket or towel. Aside from more options for location, sitting in the sand offers the opportunity to cuddle up and sneak a kiss.

While viewing the sunset from land is always lovely, you can attain a truly magical vantage point from the water. If your honey is on the adventurous side, consider renting a kayak from Journeys of St. George Island or St. George Island Outfitters for an evening on the Forgotten Coast you’ll remember forever.