St. George Island, Florida, a Florida beach without crowds, located approximately 75 miles from Tallahassee, is easily reached by bridge and causeway from US 98, the scenic route along the panhandle coast.
The Island, 29 miles long (including Little St. George) and no wider than a mile at any point, is bordered on the south side by the clear warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Apalachicola Bay, one of the most productive commercial and sport fisheries in Florida, with the oyster industry being the most well-known, borders the north side.
A rare sea island, St. George Island has a history as vividly colorful as its unspoiled native flora. It was first inhabited by the Creek Indians between the 10th and 15th centuries. The arrival of European colonists to the area in the late 1700?s was followed by an intense struggle for control. In 1803, the Creek Indians ceded a large tract of land, which included St. George Island, to trader John Forbes and Company, known as the ?Forbes Grant.? The historic 78 foot-high St. George Island lighthouse originally built in 1833, still stands today on what is commonly called Little St. George, across Bob Sikes Channel from St. George Island. The channel, used by the fishing fleet from Apalachicola, provides an access to the Gulf waters from the bayside. During the early and mid-1900?s the Island?s pine forest was turpentined for the production of naval stores.
The Island was the location of numerous training exercises during World War II by troops from bases located on the adjacent mainland.
Use of the beaches for recreation has been the major activity of recent island visitors, especially since the completion of the bridges in 1965. Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park now occupies 1,883 acres at the eastern end of the Island. Other areas of the Island on the bayside and all of Little St. George have also been purchased by the State of Florida, thereby ensuring preservation of their natural state.
Development on St. George Island has been orderly and the beauty of the land has been well protected by low density zoning regulations. Strict building codes require minimum square footages, allows only one single family dwelling per lot and limits height to 35 feet from the first habitable floor elevation (which means no high rises). Additional architectural controls in several areas, particularly St. George Plantation, ensure the integrity of the Island.