The SGI State Park - Where it All Began
This week has been a tough week for us because this is normally the week we take our family vacation to St. George Island and (recently) stay at Serene Dream. At the time this blog is being published, we’d be getting ready to pack up all of our stuff and head home after an awesome week on our home away from home. We cancelled our trip this year because we are going to a big family reunion in the Smokies, but I MISS THE BEACH!
For me, my journey to St. George Island began with the state park. For a couple of years while I was in college, a group from our church would go down to St. George Island 1-2 times per year for a day trip. I had found my happy place!
In case you somehow didn’t know, Dr. Beach, from the USA Today, has ranked the St. George Island State Park as high as the #3 beach in America. This listing by Dr. Beach resulted in a lot of notoriety for the island, and the island was discovered by many people as a result.
The state of Florida purchased the 1,962 acres of land in 1963. The bridge that crosses Apalachicola Bay between Eastpoint and St. George Island was completed in 1965 which led to increased usage of the island’s beaches. Park construction (including the road through the park) was completed in 1980, and, soon after, it opened to the public.
The state park is arguably the best spot on the island to find shells and sand dollars. I have been to the state park when I’ve found literally hundreds of sand dollars. I have spent several hours diving and grabbing sand dollars that were under my feet. Most of the time you can find a spot on the 9 miles of beaches in the park where you won’t see a single beach umbrella in either direction. It’s like a private beach all to yourself. Please remember though, that there are no lifeguards in the state park.
On our last trip to the island in December we took a trip to the state park. Like I said, we were literally the only car in the whole state park. One of my favorite parts about the park is the sand dunes on the north side of the street (between the street and the bay). The dunes are huge and the sand is the whitest sand I’ve ever seen. My buddy, Adam (the photographer that has traveled to other countries to take pictures), said it was one of the top three things he’s ever seen.
While there isn’t a lot of wildlife in the state park, there are an incredible amount of birds that love to hang out on the untouched sand dunes.
There are six large shelters where you can stop and have lunch at the park. There are a lot of picnic tables, some park-style grills, showers and restrooms near the parking lots. There are also two boat ramps that provide access to Apalachicola Bay.
At the very end of the street through the state park you will come to a gate that allows entrance to sensitive protected area on the easternmost part of St. George Island. I’ve never been past this gate, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful. (If you’ve been to the eastern edge of the island, please tell me about it in the comments section below.)
According to the Florida State Parks website, it’ll cost you $6 per vehicle to get into the state park. (Click here to find out more information.) Whether you’re staying in a vacation rental home or just making a day trip to the island, it’s time well spent!