St. George Island, Florida—our other playground

St. George Island is a barrier island located approximately 4 miles off Florida's Gulf of Mexico coastline. Access to the island is via a newly constructed bridge which spans Apalachicola Bay from the mainland at Eastpoint. St. George Island offers a relatively small residential community along its 28 miles of serene beaches and marshland.

The island is comprised of three distinct areas: the Gulf Beaches, the East End, and the St. George Planation. The Gulf Beaches area is located in the center of the Island which expands approximately 4 miles from West 12th St. to East 11th St. The architectural focal point here is the Cape St. George Island Lighthouse which was rebuilt in this location in 2008 and which hosts many full moon climbs. In general, the Gulf Beaches is characterized by an island village atmosphere with shops, restaurants and lodging all within close proximity to a varied selection of residential properties including single family homes and condominiums. Residential lot sizes in this area are approximately 1/3 of an acre and can be found on both the beach side and bay side of the island.

In contrast, the East End of St. George Island is defined by larger residences and home sites and the undisturbed dunes and sandy coves of the Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park, which was voted one of the top three beaches in America by Dr. Beach in 2015. Spanning 9 miles of undeveloped shoreline, bay forests and salt marshes, the Park offers hiking trails, boardwalks, picnic shelters, camp sites, two natural boat ramps for small boats and ample opportunity for beach or bay fishing. Sea turtles and shore birds such as the Snowy Plover, Least Tern, Black Skimmer and Willet nest in the park during the summer, and many migratory birds also use the island as a stop-over.

The third of the three defined areas of the Island is the St. George Plantation which is a private gated community of 1200 lush acres comprising the west end of the island. Incorporated in 1977, the Plantation is not a "cookie-cutter" development and has been gradually built-out over the last forty years. There are 900 privately-owned single family home sites in the Plantation with approximately 515 homes built of which less than half are rental properties. Amenities include a 3800 foot landing strip for private planes; 24/7 security; underground utilities; and a clubhouse complex with a large swimming pool, tennis courts, and a 24 hour fitness center. Accessibility to the natural world played a key role in the development of the Plantation—with twenty-six over-dune boardwalks leading to the Gulf of Mexico, miles of bike and walking paths, and fantastic shore fishing at the beach or off the jetties of Bob Sikes Cut on the western tip of the island.

St. George Island offers a special balance of nature and wildlife, active living, and peaceful solitude. Here, too, Franklin County imposes development guidelines and building height limits ensuring that high-rise condominiums or hotels will not be a part of the landscape.

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