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Florida Coastal Access Guide - Gulf County at a Glance Quicklinks

Gulf at a Glance

Coastal Cities Port St. Joe
Popular Spot St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
Sandy Beaches 29 miles
Public Accesses 27
Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail 3 sites
State Parks & Lands Acres
Constitution Convention Museum State Park 13
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park 2,716
Apalachicola Bay State Aquatic Preserve (Franklin) 800,000
St. Joseph Bay State Aquatic Preserve 73,000
St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve 5,019
Federal Lands Acres
Eglin Air Force Cape San Blas 750
St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge (Franklin) 12,490
Bays & Inlets
Indian Lagoon, St. Joseph Bay
Rivers & Paddling Trails
Apalachicola, Brothers, Chipola, Jackson rivers, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

Gulf County is predominately rural and less developed than Panhandle counties to its west. Once dominated by the paper industry, its miles of snow-white beaches on the Gulf of Mexico have made it easy to transition to a tourist and water sport-based economy. It is a favorite destination for scalloping July to September and sport fishing year-round.

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, one of Gulf County's greatest assets, covers most of the ten-mile Cape San Blas Peninsula. Considered one of the best beaches in America, it has nine-and-a-half secluded miles of snow-white beaches, 30-to-40-foot-high dunes, 8 cabins, 120 full-facility campsites, three nature trails, and primitive camping in the park's Wilderness Preserve. The park is a popular spot for fishing, snorkeling, scalloping and birding with 243 recorded species.

Next to the state park, Cape San Blas has privately-owned areas with beach homes to rent. The Cape San Blas Lighthouse protrudes from its southernmost point surrounded by the 73,000-acre St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve, one of the most pristine, diverse and productive natural habitats in Florida. It is host to the most abundant concentration of seagrasses in north Florida. East of St. Joseph Bay, St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve is sanctuary to 5,018 acres of slash pine, black needle rush marsh, old dunes, cypress swamps and bogs.

The Apalachicola River forms most of Gulf's eastern boundary; its western boundary is partly defined by St. Joseph Bay, the only bay on the eastern gulf with no influx of fresh water. Gulf's coastline has 23 miles of mainland coast on St. Joseph Bay and 19 more miles of peninsula with the bay on its east and the Gulf of Mexico on its west.

The St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge is a nationally protected barrier island in Gulf and Franklin counties. It offers sanctuary to threatened and endangered species such as American alligator, bald eagle, indigo snake, red wolf and sea turtle.

The city of Port St. Joe is the county seat and the largest city in Gulf County. It has a deep-water port overlooking St. Joseph Bay. This historic city is the site of the 1838 drafting of Florida's first constitution. The Constitution Convention Museum State Park and Monument commemorates the event.

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Last updated: February 15, 2012


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