Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce, 941-964-0568, bocagran dechamber.com.
St. George Island
St. George is a long, skinny barrier island in the northern Gulf of Mexico near Apalachicola. Separated from the mainland by a four-mile-long bridge, it is 28 miles long but only two miles wide at its widest point. To get there: Take I-75 north to I-10, west on I-10 to U.S. 319 (Tallahassee), south on U.S. 319 to U.S. 98. Go west to Eastpoint, the mainland end of the causeway to St. George. Closest major airports are Tallahassee Regional, 59 miles northeast, and Panama City-Bay International, 61 miles northwest.
Known for its serene setting, the island has miles of uncrowded beaches and a laid-back lifestyle. Inland are forests of slash pines and live oak hammocks. Swimming and sunning are favorite pastimes.
Bird-watchers can spot a variety of migrating birds during fall and spring. Redfish, sea trout and pompano await anglers (a salt-water fishing license is required).
The eastern nine miles of the island are a state park, which offers hiking trails, boardwalks, observation platforms and two boat ramps. There is a campground on the bay side of the park. During World War II, the island was used for military training.
Visitation is seasonal; few guests come in winter.
Where to stay:
*A number of agencies offer rentals of houses, beach cottages, condos and town houses, usually rented by the week for $550 to $7,000. One is VacationRentals
*Buccaneer Inn, 100 rooms/suites, beachfront, has conference center, $55-$205 per night; 1-800-847-2091 or 850-927-2585, buccinn .com.
*St. George Inn, 17 rooms/suites, recently renovated, 850-927-2849, $108-$190, stgeorgeinn.com.
Where to eat:
Apalachicola Bay is one of America's great oyster grounds, and area restaurants offer them in many dishes in season. Off island, it's a short drive to Eastpoint and Apalachicola, both of which have a variety of restaurants.
*Blue Parrot, St. George Island, upper moderate prices; 850-927-2987.
*That Place on 98, Eastpoint, moderately priced; 850-670-9898, thatplaceon98.net.
*Owl Cafe, Apalachicola, moderately priced; 850-653-9888.
Forgotten Florida, forgotten-florida.com or St. George Island State Park, 850-927-2111, florida stateparks.org/stgeorgeisland/default.cfm.
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