Cape San Blas & Port St. Joe Area..Need Your Help Please

Discussion in 'Rentals - Vacation' started by beckster, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. beckster

    beckster Beach Comber

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    Hi guys,
    Our family (including 2- 6 year olds) is making some last minute plans for our annual SoWal getaway.
    The theme this year is "Budget Price, Decent House". I've done some deep deep Googling and discovered the Cape San Blas area, which is very affordable. After seeing alot of the property pics, we like the natural appeal of it, but have some concerns. We've never been there and have a few questions:
    Are the beaches in good shape?
    Are they as pretty as SoWal area? Blue water, white sand, waves etc.
    As remote as it sounds?
    My boys are nature lovers and are pretty easily pleased, although we would love to have a pool as an option.
    How far from Panama City would it really be?
    Anything else I should know? Has anyone been there recently?
    I do have a pretty solid back-up plan if the reviews for the Cape aren't so good....found some affordable new bungalows behind Tom Thumb that should do the trick for a nice week.
    We were in Seaside/Seacrest the last week of June last year and boy, the beaches looked really sad. We're inspired by some of the recent posts and ready to come back "home".
    Thanks for your help!!
    Beckster
     
  2. Cil

    Cil Beach Fanatic

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    Hi beckster

    I live in the Port St Joe area (actually quite close to the Cape) and can attempt some of your questions.
    Panama City is about 40 minutes away.
    Hurricane Dennis hit the Cape last summer and there was some damage but everything looks good right now.
    The water here has been quite clear the past few days, there has been some June Grass but apparently not as much as in SoWal--certainly none on the actual beaches.
    The impression that I get is that the Cape's beaches are not, overall, as fine as SoWal. But I have not spent that much time in SoWal, so I dunno.
    I do know that the sand is awfully white and as I said, the water has been quite clear. Nice sandbar. Plenty of dolphins. The bayous around here are like miniature nature shows--always something to see.
    If you want a pool, you need to stay at a place that has one.
    It is pretty remote out on the Cape, but there are *some* restaurants, and there is *some* shopping. The Loggerhead on the Cape is pricey but we enjoyed the food. Coneheads has icecream. Scallop Cove has some basic necessities--but I typically just drive into PSJ or Apalachicola.
    If you like, PM me and I can go into further detail.
    I edited this and fixed the link! Thanks again SJ.
    Loggerhead Grill
     
  3. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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  4. Cil

    Cil Beach Fanatic

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    oops
    heehee
    Thanks SJ.
    That indeed was what I meant!

    And obviously y'all know more than I do about the area.
    I just visited the St Joseph Peninsula State Park for the first time two months ago.
    It's beautiful.
    The shelling on the Cape is very good; much better than were I am now, which is in between Indian Pass and the Cape.
    I just came back from a walk down the beach. This certainly is a gorgeous place.
     
  5. aquaticbiology

    aquaticbiology fishlips

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    ok, if you're going to invade my favorite beach, please be respectful of the nature around you and follow all the following rules to the letter

    there is nothing but natural beauty there - be sure its the same way when you leave

    this is not south walton or panama city beach - there is nothing but nothing there - and how wonderful that is!

    there is really no 'city' to go to locally, it is miles away and is only a small town, and is on eastern time

    privacy is everything to the other residents, and yes you can find stretches of beach to sunbathe nude if you like (some beaches are very remote) - i've never sunbathed nude, but going down the beach fishing the 'rut' i've passed people on the beach who were

    carry cellphones (that work in the area) or walky-talky radios just in case something goes horribly wrong - there is usually no one around to hear your screaming and call for help

    its turtle season, use red filters on flashlights and lamps at night and keep your house dark on the side facing the sea - watch your car headlights as well

    beware of animals on the road, especially at night - deer, possums, racoons, etc.

    go down to panacea to jack rudloe's gulf specimen company aquarium (http://www.gulfspecimen.org/Visit.html), take the tour and buy at least one book, then go on the boat tour at wakulla springs (http://www.floridastateparks.org/wakullasprings/Photos-Visit.cfm)

    eat a shovelnose at angelo's overlooking ochlockonee bay on your way to/from panacea

    this is the real florida - don't drag anything from the beach like coconuts or driftwood into your house - they will stink ritcheously and have billions of insects inside them

    there is absolutely nowhere for kids to go to 'do something' except the park store for hand-dipped ice cream, and that may be some miles away

    there is absolutely nowhere to go to eat except the grill or driving over an hour (one way, two hour+ round trip) to angelo's - bring lots of food and be sure your place has ways to cook it

    the port st joe walmart is old and smells funny

    don't get run over by a turtle watch kid on a atv - possibly a retarded person

    beware of any animals that act drunk - possibly rabid (literally, keep away from all animals, especially those that show problems with balance, etc)

    when you take out your trash, put it in the elevated bin - if it gets thrown around by animals, pick it up

    if the wind drops, there will be mosquitos that appear to be larger than a suv

    there is no such thing as boredom where you are going, just cases of having 'too much funn' with mother nature

    have funn, be safe, bring lots of sunscreen and film - at the rate its going away, this pristine wilderness will be gone in another few years - you have been given the chance to see something and be somewhere special, bear it in mind and make it the best trip ever - tell the kids so they will understand that this is probably the only time they will ever see a beach without condos and to enjoy going native with nature

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Cil

    Cil Beach Fanatic

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    Aquatic

    What Walmart in Port St Joe? Do you mean the Dollar Store(s)?
    Or the Piggly Wiggly? It's been remodeled but it's true that it's not exactly a state-of-the-art Publix. ;-)
    The nearest SprawlMart that I know of is in Panama City.

    Saw a dead river otter on 30A today. :(
    See a grey fox in the back yard quite often. :)
    There are a few decent places to eat in PSJ: Dockside Cafe (owned by the Loggerhead folks), Pepper's, and exquisite, imaginative food at a little hole in the wall called Provisions. Getting there from the Cape is not that bad.
    But it involves driving.
    There is good shrimp to be had at several places. The Raw Bar on 30A is supposed to be open but I haven't checked it out yet.
    I definitely would stock up on groceries (and liquor!) before coming here.

    It is wonderful indeed to be on a beach with no high rises.
     
  7. DD

    DD SoWal Expert

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    aquatic: i loved your post! i have just visited the cape a couple of times on a day trip, but thought it was wonderful and would love to stay there for a week or so. i could literally see no one but the wildlife for a week and be perfectly entertained. unfortunately, i am sure you are right that this won't last forever..wish it could.
     
  8. Ocean Lover

    Ocean Lover bean

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    Good info AB, you sure tell it like it is... :D
     
  9. aquaticbiology

    aquaticbiology fishlips

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    i ran out of medicine one time (dropped the dang bottle into the toilet, ruining it) so we docked at indian pass campground and took a ride with some man named joe (which i thought was fitting) in a pick-up truck to a ancient non-super-center wal-mart that smelled like a sour mop, but they did have a pharmacy, it was actually open and i was able to get my meds - thanks again, br joe, where ever you are
     
  10. Cil

    Cil Beach Fanatic

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    Wow, Aquatic, am I still mystified about the ancient walmart, but I sure am glad you were able to get your meds--thank goodness for joe and his pickup.
    It really is important to try to stay healthy around here. ;-)
     
  11. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    I can vouch for the skeeters. Camping there means you are in your tent at sundown. The coons are as big as a Volkswagon and scavenge day and night. The Alligators also are much larger and meaner on the cape and surrounding areas. I have also seen a black bear up close that was bigger than my 4runner. The wild hogs will hunt you down and remove your privates with their tusks. Beware the wolf packs that like to shred and eat children.
     
  12. Cil

    Cil Beach Fanatic

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  13. beckster

    beckster Beach Comber

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    Hey, I got twin boys. I ain't skeert o' nothin'!!!!
    Thanks for all the information. We've decided to go for it and do something different and enjoy nature. I'm waiting to hear back from the rental agency and make my booking today. We live in Houston, so driving to go somewhere for dinner doesn't effect us at all.
    From the pics I've seen, the Cape looks beautiful!! Everytime we go to Shell Island I always think how great it would be to find a place that looks like that to stay. I believe we have. We are really glad to have found this little place that sounds so special.
    Don't worry Aquatic, we'll be careful and appreciate your very informative post. The marine life tour you posted is perfect for the boys.
    I'll be checking back here for more info. I appreciate the help!
    Beckster
     
  14. aquaticbiology

    aquaticbiology fishlips

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    you will all get a blast out of it

    make sure your tour guide shows you the seahorses and make sure the kids hold the cowrie shells!

    there's cowrie shells and seahorses living in the our nw florida ocean? - yep!

    whee!
     
  15. Beach Runner

    Beach Runner beats on hood

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    One of my friends has a house at Cape San Blas. She says it's beautiful, yet a bit boring for her because there are not many shopping and dining options. On the other hand, her husband loves its remoteness, he has the money, so she doesn't rock the boat. I'd have a hard time being that complaisant.
     
  16. Cil

    Cil Beach Fanatic

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    Well, I understand how the wife feels, but I look at it two ways:

    1) Happiness comes from within. It is breathtakingly beautiful here.
    I love nature and animals, that's plentiful here, and I love swimming.
    I just came back from an absolutely *awesome* swim! I go to town almost every day, do my little thing, or I might go to Apalach; once or twice a month I head to the "big city"--as in Panama. I'm not all that big on shopping, though I'd definitely like more options. I like to cook. What I do miss are movies and museums, but at least there is the Dixie Theater at Apalach.

    2) The new town center will come.

    Making friends helps. They're only here part of the time, right?
    Tell the wife to give me a call and I'll hang out with her. ;-)
     
  17. Beach Runner

    Beach Runner beats on hood

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    I'll tell her next time I see her. Thanks.
     
  18. CJ

    CJ Beach Lover

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    It is a wonderful place. I grew up in Grayton beach, and it reminds me of Grayton in the 1960's and 70's. I took my 2 daughters, and my niece to St Joseph St. park last week. We snorkeled the grass beds all afternoon. Found lots of shells and saw all kinds of marine life. In the 1970's we used to get lots of scallops there. Then we headed over to Wakulla Springs and spent the night at the Motel. No T.V.'s., great old timey restaurant, checker boards, heard the gators bellowing in the spring all night. (mating season). Next morning had a great brakfast, then took a river tour, seeing lots of gators, snakes, wood ducks, fish, rare birds, cypress tree's-some as old as 600 years. Very educational for the kids, and quality time spent with them. If you want to experience Florida as it was say about 1940 you will enjoy this trip.
     
  19. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    Somebody forgot to log out CJ?
     
  20. CJ

    CJ Beach Lover

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    Yes sorry. I'm at work. I'm stantheman.
     

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