Silence is golden at the eastern tip of St. George Island, the barrier island that defines Apalachicola Bay at the mouth of the Apalachicola River.
The island is blessed with brilliant white sand, flecks of ancient quartz carried down from the Appalachian mountains to this spot.
It’s a beautiful getaway where, thanks to Dr. Julian D. Bruce St. George Island State Park, nearly 2,000 acres are forever preserved from development.
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Address: 1900 E Gulf Beach Dr, St. George Island
Fees: $6 per vehicle
Restroom: At the beach and campground
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM to sunset daily. Leashed dogs permitted but not on beaches.
From Apalachicola, take US 98 east 5.2 miles across Apalachicola Bay to Eastpoint. Turn right on CR 300 (Bay Shore Rd) to loop south of Eastpoint and drive 5 miles, across the long causeway and bridge to St. George Island. On the island, turn left on E Gulf Beach Dr in front of the lighthouse. Follow this road for 4.2 miles through the beachside community. It enters the park gates and becomes the park road.
About the Park
Along the narrow strip of land between Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, the beaches go on for nine miles.
The park drive threads the needle between coastal pine flatwoods along the bay and significantly tall dunes along the shoreline.
Enjoy a starry nights beneath towering slash pines on a backpacking trip out to Gap Point, or settle into the 60-site developed campground at Sugar Hill, where the trail begins.
By its name, you can assume a healthy coastal scrub is a central feature of this high ground on the island.
There are dune crossovers to protect the lines of dunes and their delicate plants, but this park is very low-key compared to most beaches on the Florida coast.
Being closer to the entrance gate, East Slough Beach tends to be busier. At the end of the park road, Sugar Hill Beach is an easy walk from the campground.
A boat launch in East Cove provides direct access to St. George Island Sound for both boaters and paddlers.
Explore East Cove and Rattlesnake Cove to its west, with a loop around Goose Island between them. Bank and kayak fishing are permitted.
Beyond the many miles of beach to roam, the park has three marked trails.
The East Slough Trail kicks off with an accessible boardwalk and overlook over this saline slough edged by pine forest.
It interconnects with the Gap Point Trail to shorten your distance out to the point and its primitive campsites on St. George Island Sound.
For a day hike, start at the kiosk at Sugar Hill Camping Area to walk the length of the peninsula created by East Slough, a 5 mile round-trip.
A ten mile round-trip challenge lies at the end of the park road, best tackled by bicycle.
Starting from Sugar Hill Beach behind a gate, the trail leads out to the very eastern tip of St. George Island on the high ground.
See our photos of St. George Island State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.