Do Things, Rent Things

Shopping & Art

Are you looking for the perfect gift or something to take home and remember your time in the Florida Panhandle? North Florida wares can be found at the wealth of art galleries, souvenir shops, antique stores, and boutiques peppering its coastal towns.

Did you forget to pack your bathing suit? Pop into St. George Island Trading Co. right across from the lighthouse and get all you and your family need for beach days. Then, stroll into Seaside Cotton for stylish resort wear and accessories for men and women. Stop by Island Outfitters you’re in need of sports gear for that fishing trip you just booked, and for specialty fishing equipment, see about the Forgotten Coast Fly Company.

Apalachicola is a shopaholic’s dream, especially if you delight in finding treasures you wouldn’t find anywhere else. For the gift-giving guru, discover something southern and special at Betsy’s Sunflower Kitchen Store & More in the historic Bowery District. Meander into SGI Threads for locally styled and owned casual clothing or BECASA for chic collections. Visit the Deep Southern, a century-old barbershop converted to a high-end boutique. 

For a bit of aromatherapy, from candles to soaps, take a peek into Riverlily and Rose’s Botanicals. Find the latest titles or long-loved classics at Downtown Books & Purl if you need a good book to read while poolside. How about fine jewelry to commemorate your fabulous vacation? Visit Marilyn Brogan Jewelry for beautifully crafted and sustainably handmade pieces. And if you love browsing antiques, the Tin Shed may have that thing you’ve been searching for forever.

The splendid flora and fauna of the Forgotten Coast have long inspired artists and craftspeople. Their creations highlight the personality and resilience of the culture. Discover the area’s local artistry at the galleries that inhabit many of the historic warehouses of downtown Apalachicola. Visitors could spend an entire day perusing folk art, photography, sculptures, glass, home goods and more. If you enjoy contemporary art, consider The Gallery at 49 Palmetto. Or perhaps you fancy more traditional natural scenes and wildlife, drop by the collection at River’s Edge Apalachicola and the Live Oak Gallery. Explore the many galleries near Apalachicola Bay. And if you prefer performance art, you can catch a show in Apalachicola at the Panhandle Players Community Theater. The coming season features several performances in October, December, February, and March.

Nature Lovers

Nature lovers will be in heaven on the Forgotten Coast’s idyllic beaches, watching birds, sea turtles and stunning sunsets with an abundance of hiking and state parks nearby.

St. George Island is a hidden gem often ranked as a top U.S. beach. Although some people might argue that it’s one of the best beaches in the world, locals certainly would. There are over 20 miles of beach for you and your pets to enjoy, with public areas featuring pavilions, playgrounds and restrooms. For a small cost, spend the day barbecuing with the family and lounging in the soft sand at St. George Island State Park

There’s an abundance of beach opportunities to explore beyond the island, too. Catch a sunset at Old Carrabelle Beach. If you have a boat, discover the secluded treasures of Dog Island and St. Vincent Island. Or drive along coastal Highway 98, and enjoy the gulf breeze all the way to the picturesque Apalachee Bay beaches of Bald Point State Park.

One of the great joys of Florida beaches is the sea turtles that nest on the beaches. Between the months of May and October, you may encounter newly hatched turtles finding their way to the water by moonlight. And birders can appreciate the many local bird species inhabiting St. George Island and Franklin County year-round. It just so happens that SGI’s Unit Four Beach, part of the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, is a fantastic bird-watching location. Bird lovers will also be happy to learn that 12 stops along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail are just a short drive away, incorporating local state parks

See rare plants and wildflowers, bald eagles, and a tortoise or two when hiking at Tate’s Hell State Forest. Travelers are often seen grabbing a photo in front of its retro entrance sign. Hiking, camping, fishing, and boating are available in the area’s forests.

Outdoor Adventures

Whether you’re a major outdoor enthusiast or you are only looking for a recreational amount of sun and water on your skin, Florida’s Forgotten Coast is an adventurer’s playground. For fun and a bit of exercise, paddle your way along the area’s paddling trails systems. Rent a canoe or kayak, and explore miles and miles rivers, creeks, and coastline.

Boats are a way of life along the coast. From fishing to exploring to pure recreation, the opportunities are endless. Franklin County makes it easy with plenty of access to boat ramps and marinas. Right here on the island, you can launch from the popular St. George Island boat ramp. Additionally, Journeys of SGI offers boat tours and sunset cruises. Across the bridge, there are myriad options for charters, tours and fishing.

As for fishing, there are few better places in Florida to cast your reel. You’ll hook snapper, grouper, sea bass, mahi-mahi and more saltwater fishing in the Gulf. Your bounty from the freshwater of Apalachicola Bay might include flounder, whiting, redfish, speckled trout and others. One of the many local, experienced fishing captains offers services to guide your angling journey.

Old Florida

Franklin County was founded in 1832. While the area has undoubtedly evolved through the years, when traveling in some parts – it appears suspended in a time when palm fronds far outnumbered tourists and traffic. Over the centuries, the region’s abundant store of oysters and crabs attracted traders along the banks of the Apalachicola River. This led to the need for lighthouses.

Visitors can see two lighthouses in Franklin County, the Cape St. George Lighthouse, an icon of St. George Island and the Crooked River Lighthouse at Carrabelle Beach. St. George Island’s Lighthouse was initially constructed in 1833. It served as a navigational tool for incoming ships until 1994. Both lighthouses have been restored from their original structure and welcome visitors for viewings and perusing their respective museums and gift shops.

Apalachicola Historic District is roughly bounded by the Apalachicola River, the Apalachicola Bay, and 17th and Jefferson Streets. The area includes more than 900 buildings styled from Greek Revival to Queen Anne to Folk Victorian, along with Shotgun homes and Bungalow architecture. Some notable places include the Raney House and Trinity Episcopal Church near Gorrie Square. Get a feel for the colorful character of this waterfront Florida community and experience the many buildings and sites with the city’s historic walking tour. Overlooking the Apalachicola River, a restored 1830’s cotton warehouse houses the 5000-square foot Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art. And as you stroll downtown from there, you might see the Ghost Light at the restored Dixie Theatre.

Rentals

SGI Premier has partnered with VayK Gear to compliment your upcoming vacation at a participating property. Rent popular, top quality beach gear items like bikes, chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, paddle boards, corn hole, beach carts, boogie boards, and more. Plus, VayK will deliver and pick-up your vacation gear. It’s so easy. Learn more.