Escape to Paradise: Top Things to Do in Cape San Blas, Florida

Escape to Paradise: Top Things to Do in Cape San Blas, Florida

Escape to Paradise: Top Things to Do in Cape San Blas, Florida

Escape to a hidden gem tucked away on Florida’s Gulf Coast – Cape San Blas. Nestled between the pristine waters of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Bay, this charming destination offers a trove of natural beauty and endless activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing getaway or an adventure-packed vacation, there is something for everyone among the many things to do in Cape San Blas.

Imagine sinking your toes into soft, powder-white sand as you stroll along the uncrowded beaches, surrounded by emerald waters and breathtaking sunsets. But there are so many things to do in Cape San Blas that you will have to make time to relax.

Explore the untamed wilderness of St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, where hiking trails wind through towering dunes and lush forests, leading to secluded beaches and extraordinary wildlife encounters. If hiking is your preference, some of the latest hiking gear is here.

Grab your fishing gear and experience some of the best bay and offshore fishing in the region.

Kayak through the crystal-clear waters of St. Joseph Bay, spotting dolphins, sea turtles, and a variety of bird species along the way. Unwind with a peaceful sunset cruise to watch dolphins play and enjoy the soothing sounds of nature. Check out of the latest some kayaks.

Discover nature’s beauty in its purest form and create lasting memories in Cape San Blas, Florida. Unplug, unwind, and immerse yourself in this captivating coastal paradise.

The Cape San Blas Lighthouse is a treasure of the area. Visitors soon learn the valuable history of this relic.

Exploring the Natural Beauty of Cape San Blas

Cape San Blas is clearly one of the most picturesque places in Florida. Imagine the emerald colored water of the Gulf of Mexico and the lush sea grasses of a nearby preserve.

The mirror-like waters of St. Joseph Bay includes beaches where you will be spotting dolphins, sea turtles, and a variety of bird species along the way. Unwind with a peaceful sunset cruise to watch dolphins play and enjoy the soothing sounds of nature.

Spectacular sunsets from Mother Nature greets the evenings where the moon glistens along the Gulf seemingly forever. You realize there are few places that capture natural beauty of the world like Cape San Blas.

Brief History of Cape San Blas

While in Cape San Blas you realize that you can’t be the first to see this magnificent barrier island. Some of the history if San Blas includes:

  • Indigenous Inhabitants: Long before European contact, the area around Cape San Blas was inhabited by Native American tribes, such as the Apalachee and the Timucua. These indigenous peoples relied on the abundant natural resources of the region, including fishing and hunting.
  • Spanish Exploration: Spanish explorers, including Ponce de León and Hernando de Soto, ventured into the Gulf of Mexico in the early 16th century. It’s likely they sailed past Cape San Blas during their explorations of the Florida coast.
  • Colonial Period: In the 18th century, the Spanish established missions in the Florida Panhandle, and Cape San Blas was part of this colonial presence. It was also an area of conflict between the Spanish and the English, who had established colonies in Georgia and South Carolina.
  • American Acquisition: After the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1821, Cape San Blas became part of the Florida Territory. The area was gradually settled by pioneers, and it played a role in the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) as troops moved through the region.
  • Lighthouse Construction: In 1847, a lighthouse was constructed on Cape San Blas to guide ships safely through the waters of the Gulf. The lighthouse was an important navigational aid for the growing maritime traffic in the area.
  • Civil War Era: During the Civil War, Cape San Blas was a site of strategic importance. Union forces occupied the area, using it as a base for blockading Confederate ships. The lighthouse was destroyed during the conflict but later rebuilt.

Cape San Blas was home to Confederate saltworks where 150 US bushels (5.3 m3) of salt a day were processed by evaporation of seawater. This halted in 1862, when a landing party from the Union ship, the USS Kingfisher, destroyed the saltworks.

  • Development and Tourism: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Cape San Blas area saw increased development and tourism. Visitors were drawn to its natural beauty, beaches, and recreational opportunities.
  • Hurricane Devastation: Cape San Blas has faced numerous hurricanes and tropical storms over the years, with several instances of severe damage to the area. The 1969 Hurricane Camille and Hurricane Michael in 2018, in particular, caused significant damage and destruction.
  • Cape San Blas Today: Today, Cape San Blas is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, state parks, and outdoor activities. It offers a quiet and remote getaway for those seeking a more secluded beach experience compared to some of the busier tourist spots in Florida.
  • Conservation and Preservation: Efforts have been made to preserve the natural beauty and ecosystem of Cape San Blas. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, which encompasses a significant portion of the cape, protects its flora and fauna and offers recreational opportunities for visitors.

Cape San Blas continues to be a place of historical significance and natural beauty, attracting visitors and residents who appreciate its unique coastal charm and rich history.

things to do in Cape San Blas remote beaches
This aerial shot is a remote beach in Cape San Blas one of many

What Are the Top Things To Do in Cape San Blas

If you can get off your lawn chair and decide to do more than admire your natural surrounding, here are some of the top things to do in Cape San Blas:

  1. Relax on the Beach – Cape San Blas is renowned for its untouched, uncrowded beaches. Spend your days sunbathing, swimming, shelling, and taking leisurely strolls along the white sandy shores.
  2. Visit St. Joseph Peninsula State Park – This state park offers hiking trails, birdwatching, and the opportunity to explore unique coastal ecosystems. The park also has campgrounds for those who want to stay overnight.
  3. Cape San Blas Lighthouse: Visit the Cape San Blas Lighthouse, which has been relocated to Port St. Joe. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the area.
  4. Horseback Riding: Experience a unique beach adventure by going horseback riding along the beach. Several local outfitters offer guided rides.
  5. Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Explore the calm waters of St. Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico by kayaking or paddleboarding. Rentals and guided tours are available.
  6. Fishing: The area is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, both in the bay and offshore. Charter a boat and head out into the Gulf of Mexico for a thrilling day of deep-sea fishing. Reel in trophy fish like red snapper, grouper, and king mackerel, while enjoying the breathtaking views of the coastline.
  7. Scalloping: During scallop season (typically July to September), enjoy snorkeling and collecting scallops in the bay waters. It’s a fun and rewarding family activity.
  8. Dolphin and Wildlife Tours:** Take a wildlife tour to spot dolphins, sea turtles, and various bird species. The coastal waters are rich in marine life.
  9. Cape San Blas Historic Society Museum:* Learn about the history and culture of the area at this local museum, which features exhibits on the maritime history of the region.
  10. Dining: Enjoy and explore fresh seafood and local cuisine at the area’s restaurants and seafood shacks. Don’t miss trying the famous Apalachicola oysters, which are often featured on local menus.
  11. Sunset Views: Cape San Blas offers stunning sunset views over the Gulf of Mexico. Find a quiet spot on the beach to watch the sun go down and the moon become the light shinning across the water.

Remember to check for local events, nature programs, and festivals, which can add extra enjoyment to your visit. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, wildlife, or simply relaxing on the beach, Cape San Blas has something to offer for all types of visitors.

things to do in Cape San Blas restaurants
The local community is friendly and the restaurants like this one are colorful. Longbill’s Pizza.

Other Things to Do Near Cape San Blas

While there are many things to do in Cape San Blas, should you want to venture to attractions and towns nearby, here are a few suggestions:

  • Port St. Joe is less than 10 miles away. This cute historic town has been a deep-water port throughout history.
  • Apalachicola is less than 30 minutes away. This Gulf Coast town has historic buildings, quaint shops and waterfront restaurants serving mouth-watering seafood.
  • If you get really adventuresome, Tallahassee, Florida’s capital is two hours away. Just west along the coast is Destin, Florida and it’s Harborwalk full of fun.
  • The panhandle of Florida is populated with Natural Springs that are fun to visit and a change of pace from the beach life.
  • If wildlife and Mother Nature’s creatures interest you, the Apalachicola Wildlife and Environmental Area is just minutes away. Here you can see the forests and lowlands of Florida.

Florida is a big state with amazing things to see and do. The panhandle area is especially well-covered in attractions, forests, beaches, springs and history that keeps visitors and locals engaged.

Relaxing On The Uncluttered Beaches of Cape San Blas

The beaches of Cape San Blas are truly a slice of paradise. With their powder-white sand and clear turquoise waters, they offer the perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. Unlike some of the more crowded beaches in Florida, Cape San Blas provides a tranquil and uncrowded experience, allowing you to unwind and soak up the natural beauty in peace.

Set up your beach chair, lay back, and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin as you listen to the gentle lapping of the waves. Take a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters or go for a leisurely walk along the shoreline, collecting seashells as you go. The beaches of Cape San Blas are also pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along for a day of fun in the sun.

things to do in Cape San Blas Shells
We show this stretch of beach in the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park only to show the shells that wash up on many beaches daily.

Wildlife Encounters in Cape San Blas

If you’re a fan of snorkeling or diving, you’ll be amazed by the underwater world that awaits you. The clear waters of St. Joseph Bay are teeming with marine life, from colorful tropical fish to curious sea turtles. Explore the vibrant coral reefs and submerged shipwrecks, and get up close and personal with the diverse array of species that call this area home.

If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, consider embarking on a dolphin-watching tour. Cape San Blas is home to a thriving population of dolphins, and there’s nothing quite like seeing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Hop aboard a boat and cruise along the bay, keeping an eye out for playful dolphins as they swim alongside you. This magical encounter with nature is sure to leave you with a sense of awe and wonder.

Exploring the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

Cape San Blas is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering ample opportunities to observe and interact with a variety of species. The area is home to an abundance of birdlife, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.

Grab your binoculars and head to the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, where you’ll find a rich diversity of bird species, including herons, egrets, and pelicans. Take a leisurely stroll along the park’s trails, and keep your eyes and ears open for the melodious songs of the resident birds.

This is one of our favorite state parks at FloridaTravel Blog. The beach is a world class we love the remoteness and silence of just Mother Nature.

If you’re lucky, you may also have the chance to spot sea turtles nesting along the shores of Cape San Blas. These magnificent creatures return to the area each year to lay their eggs, and witnessing this natural phenomenon is a truly awe-inspiring experience.

Join a guided turtle watch tour, and learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect these endangered species.

For a unique and educational wildlife encounter, visit the St. Joseph Sound Aquatic Preserve. This preserve showcases the diverse marine life found in the local waters. Get up close to fascinating creatures like seahorses, stingrays, and horseshoe crabs, and learn about the delicate balance of the coastal ecosystem.

Where to Stay in Cape San Blas

places to stay in Cape San Blas things to do
While there are many options to stay in Cape San Blas, one of the very popular ones is to rent a cottage on the beach -and we mean right ON the beach.

Cape San Blas offers a range of accommodation options to suit every preference and budget. Whether you’re looking for a cozy beachfront cottage, a luxurious vacation rental, or a family-friendly resort, you’ll find it in Cape San Blas. Many of the accommodations in the area offer stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico or St. Joseph Bay, allowing you to wake up to the sights and sounds of the ocean.

If you’re seeking a more immersive experience, consider camping at one of the campgrounds in the area. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park offers both tent and RV camping options, allowing you to sleep under the stars and wake up surrounded by nature. Fall asleep to the sound of the waves and wake up to the sight of the sun rising over the Gulf – camping in Cape San Blas is a truly unforgettable experience.

One of the places to stay in Cape San Blas is one of the unique cabins at the Peninsula Park. Take a refreshing swim in the Gulf, snorkel along the shoreline, or simply soak up the sun while listening to the waves tickle the shoreline. All of this could be outside your room.

There are numerous hotels, motels, VRBOs and condominium rentals throughout the area.

No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll be treated to warm hospitality and a laid-back atmosphere that is characteristic of Cape San Blas. The area is known for its friendly locals and welcoming community, ensuring that your stay is as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.

The Best Restaurants in Cape San Blas

After a day of adventure and exploration, you’ll want to refuel at one of the many excellent restaurants in Cape San Blas. Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, juicy steaks, or flavorful international cuisine, you’ll find a variety of dining options to satisfy your taste buds.

While there are restaurants throughout the area, we are listing a few of the notable ones. Seafood may be on you mind with the rich resources of the Gulf of Mexico at your doorstep in Cape San Blas Florida.

Indian Pass Raw Bar: Known for its laid-back, rustic atmosphere, this iconic seafood shack offers fresh oysters, shrimp, and other seafood. It’s a local favorite for its relaxed ambiance and delicious seafood.

Cone Heads 8020: This casual eatery serves a variety of beachy favorites, including fish tacos, burgers, and sandwiches. It’s a great spot to grab a quick and tasty meal.

The Smokehouse & Grill: This family-owned restaurant in nearby Port St. Joe offers a mix of barbecue and seafood dishes. Their smoked meats and flavorful sides make it a favorite among locals and visitors.

Peppers Mexican Grill and Cantina: If you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, Peppers in Port St. Joe is a good option. They offer a range of Mexican dishes and margaritas.

Krazyfish Grille: Another restaurant in Port St. Joe, Krazyfish Grille offers a mix of seafood and other eclectic dishes in a comfortable and relaxed setting.

Longbills on Cape San Blas: Fun pizza and Italian food in Cape San Blas. Family friendly with takeout and seating. Longbills also has other locations we have visited along Route 30A.

Scallop Cove Market: This combination market and snacks offers a great selection of groceries, and a dining area with views of the bay.

Nearby Port St. Joe has additional restaurants that range from fine dining restaurants to quick service delis.

Things to do in Cape San Blas birdwatching
The natural beauty of the Cape San Blas area is stunning. Even a simple view over the salt flats is amazing.

Planning Your Trip to Cape San Blas Florida

You will be heading to one of the most beautiful spots in all of Florida. The entire Gulf Coast in the panhandle is teaming with places to go and things to see.

However, this is Florida. Weather is always some to relish and make sure you are prepared for rain showers. Always check the weather information when traveling to make sure your day is the best!

Things to do in Cape San Blas will keep you busy but take the time to embrace the sights and sounds of this barrier peninsula along the Gulf Coast of Florida.

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