Page Includes: Scalloping, Horseback Riding, Bicycling, Fishing, Boating & Boat Rentals, Eco tours, Kayaking, Canoeing, Snorkeling, Crabbing, Golf, Shopping, Cruise Boat Tours, Diving & some miscellaneous ideas!
Riverfront Therapy. Enjoy a relaxing massage! Therapeutic & relaxation massage for stress reduction, pain and fatigue. Light or deep tissue work. Kathy brings her table right to you so enjoy a massage on Cape San Blas in the comfort of your own Barrier Dunes Vacation Rental!
*** See the Area Events Calendar page for more festivals and events on the Forgotten Coast! ***
HORSEBACK RIDING ON THE BEACH
You can actually go horseback riding on the beach in Cape San Blas! Imagine riding on the beach at sunset—it’s breathtaking (very romantic and the kids love it too!!) There are several companies and they bring the horses to Salinas park, about 1 mile past the C30 junction on Cape San Blas.
An 8 mile bay side and beach side bike trail is now open along Cape San Blas Road! It runs from Salinas Park to St. Joseph Peninsula State Park! You will also find 20 miles of bike lanes between Panama City and Port St. Joe on Highways 98 and C-30. It's a great area to bike as the roads are flat and smooth! Riding in the State Park is a lot of fun---be sure to get off and explore on the paths and the beach and bay!
7 Hills Bicycle Tour The Seven Hills to the Sea Bicycle Tour is a 283 mile loop around the "Panhandle". Each day you have one of Florida's beautiful state parks as your destination. These Parks are all equipped with campgrounds featuring all of the amenities, including showers!
Available on the beach behind the El’ Governor Motel in Mexico Beach.
You are welcome to bring your own. There is a hose under The Cape Escape I and II to wash off the salt water when you are finished. If you aren’t lucky enough to own one, you can rent them behind Toucan’s in Mexico Beach.
KAYAKING, CANOEING, BOATING
St. Joseph Bay is an outstanding place for new or experience boaters alike since the waters are so calm! You may see redfish, mullet or schools of bait fish. In the deeper channels around Black's Island you may find bottle-nosed dolphin or sea turtles. You may also see horseshoe crab, blue crab, starfish, and live shells moving along the bay bottom! We're sorry to say that The Entrance has closed (sold their land!) but you can still rent a variety of boats at the following:
- Check out Happy Ours (www.happyourskayak.com) Happy Ours Kayak & Canoe Outpost is located directly on St. Joseph Bay (AKA Cape San Blas!) & offers guided & unguided trips, & kayak sales. They specialize in guided eco-tours by a certified Florida Master Naturalist in Coastal Systems. Their guided snorkeling trips are fantastic as they introduce you to the underwater world & important habitat of saltwater bays. If you are a first-time scalloper, a guided snorkeling trip is a must to find out where & how to collect & clean these tasty morsels. Kayak fishing is the fastest growing segment of the kayaking sport & the lush grass beds of St. Joseph Bay is a haven for trout and redfish, while the sand flats attract flounder. Happy Ours is fully equipped with expert guides & fishing kayaks. Paddling instruction is offered free with all rentals, & delivery to other launch sites is available by request. Stop by and say hello to Dan and Debbie & don’t forget to visit “Regent” & “Lizzie” & “Flopsy” at their petting zoo!
- Seashorse Water Safaris
- Rents kayaks, Pontoon Boats, Runabouts and does a variety of trips.
Port St. Joe, FL
"We took a sunset cruise and a snorkeling trip at Seahorse Water Safaris in the Port St. Joe Marina. The woners were a lot of fun and educated us on the different life in the ocean." Tina Theobald, Guest
- Scallop Cove - Rents kaaks, stand up paddle boards and more. Right on Cape San Blas.
- Broke-A-Toe - Outdoor adventures, eco-tours, charter fishing, horseback riding, canoe rentals. For horseback riding, call 850-899-RIDE, for fishing call 850-899-REEL.
St. Joe Bay and the Gulf both offer great snorkeling! If you don’t have your own equipment you can buy or rent what you need at Scallop Cove or The Trading Post both on Cape San Blas! You can walk straight out from the shore or take a boat out in the ocean or the bay! Diver Down flags are provided in both condo's!
You can book a snorkel trip, among other things, with Seahorse Water Safaris.
Our kids are too young to get certified, but we can’t wait! John and I enjoy diving when we have a chance, but haven’t made it on one of our Cape trips yet! There are several options for dive charters:
- Daly's Dock & Dive Dive charters, equipment and full service marine center. Port St. Joe. 850-229-6330.
- Seahorse Water Safaris They also rent equipment and boats!
- Half Mad Charters (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) (850-819-4112).
Turtle season in Gulf County runs from May 1 to October 31. The Cape San Blas beaches are prime nesting grounds for Loggerhead and Greenback turtles. During the first have of the season, pregnant sea turtles drag themselves up on the Gulf County beaches to lay their eggs. During the second half of the season, thousands of tiny hatchlings hatch and make their way to the Gulf of Mexico! If you see a square area marked off by warning tape, it's a turtle next! Please stay clear and keep your dog clear! If you take a walk in the evening or early morning, you might be lucky enough to see some!
See our comprehensive Golf Page for details and more courses from Panama City to Tallahassee:
St. Joe Bay Country Club offers an 18-hole championship golf course located along the beautiful St. Joseph Bay--10 minutes away. Visitors are welcome. 850-227-1751.
St. James Bay Country Club is an 18 hole, resort-style course. 850-697-9606.
Wildwood Country Club - 18-hole, PAR 72 course at 3870 Coastal Hwy in Crawfordville. 850-926-4653.
Putt n Fuss Fun Park: If your "short people" feel the need to play putt putt, try Putt n Fuss in Eastpoint!
There is wonderful fishing in the area—from the shore, from a boat, in the ocean or bay or one of the fresh water ponds in Barrier Dunes! The waters of the Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico from Carrabelle to Mexico Beach are know to be among the richest in marine life in the world due to the nutrients carried down on the Flint, Chattahoochee, Oclocknee, St. Marks and Apalachicola Rivers! What can you catch?
In the Gulf and Bay: Pompano (March to October; Redfish (July to March); Flounder ( March to October); Tarpon (May to August) and Silver Trout, Speckled Trout, Sheephead, Red Snapper, Blue Fish, Amber Jack, and Drum all year round.
If you would like a fishing guide, there are quite a few to choose from! Here are just a few places you can try:
- Book Me A Charter Join us for a fun filled day on the water! Do you prefer Inshore fishing in the Apalachicola or Port St. Joe Bay, or Offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico? Local and Native to the area, this is our backyard. We offer both full and half day charters. We are a family friendly guide service.. Give us a call 850-653-2622 we would love to hear from you.
- Fishing Port St. Joe with Captain Gary Goodrich Fishing, sightseeing, eco tours and boating makes Port St Joe top on the list for a "real Florida" vacation. Call Captain Gary Goodrich at 850-229-3474.
- Premier Sportfishing Adventures
- Tall Tales Fishing with Captain Tim Harvey who was born and raised in the Apalachicola and St. Joesph Bays. He has over 30 years experience catching the inshore species in the Forgotten Coast area, including Redfish, Trout, Shark, Tarpon and Tripletail. See our website for more details!
There are a wide variety of shells and other treasures on both the Cape San Blas beaches and the St. Joseph Bay side of the Cape! I would recommend going down to the Cape San Blas lighthouse area (take your first right after you pass the "stump hole" if you are coming from Barrier Dunes). This area has HUGE shells, especially after a storm!
Birding seasons are Fall through Spring! Enjoy Northern Gannet, White and Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, Herons, Egrets, Geese, Blue Winged Teal, Bald Eagle, Dunlin, Northern Harrier, Black Bellied Plover, Snowy Plover, Wilson's Plover, Royal Tern, Forester's Tern, Caspian Tern, Geese, and America Kestral to name a few!
Apalachicola, Florida (about 25 minutes from Cape San Blas):
- Apalachicola Antique Mall- 118 Market Street, Apalachicola, FL. 850-653-3894. Antiques, collectibles and funky vintage Florida!
- Avenue E- 15 Avenue E, Apalachicola, FL. 850-653-1411. Unique home furnishings and antiques.
- Betsy's Downtown. 67 Commerce St., Apalach. 850-653-1290. A unity bookstore.
- Betsy's Sunflower. 14 Avenue D. Apalach. 850-653-9144. Kitchen, Garden and Gourmet.
- Chez Funk- 88 Market Street, Apalachicola. 850-653-3885. Antiques, gifts and painted furniture.
- Smokehouse Antiques- 16 Ave. E, Apalach. 850-653-3550. Antiques, art, photography, fountains, ironwork.
- The Chestnut Tree- 79 Market Street, Apalach. 850-653-2084.
- Taylor's- 10 Avenue D, Apalach. 850-653-9133. Antiques, collectibles and funky vintage Florida.
- Tin Shed Nautical's- 170 Water Street, Apalachicola, Florida. 850-653-3635.
Mexico Beach, Florida (about 25 minutes from Cape San Blas, Florida):
- Beachwalk - Beach & Giftware. 13252 Highway 98. 850-648-4200. Fine gifts and clothing.
- Driftwood Inn Gifts. 1701 Hwy. 98. 850-648-5126. T-Shirts, and gift items.
- Gulf Food and Gifts. 900-A Hwy. 98. 850-648-5129. Souvenir, beach beach wear and accessory needs.
- LadyFish. 2802 Hwy 98, Unit B. 850-648-4847. Women's boutique specializing in unique, fun and preppy clothing, jewelry and shoes.
- Two Gulls at the Beach. 2802 Hwy. 98. 648-1122. Souvenirs, t-shirts, ladies and mens resortwear and shoes.
- Prickly Pears Gourmet Gallery. 101 S. 36st St.. 850-648-1115. Gourmet Food, art, chocolate, cheeses, kithenware and cooking classes.
- The Shell Shack. Hwy 98. 850-648-8256. Great shell jewelry and accessories plus a seafood market.
- Toucan's Gift Shop. 812 Hwy. 98. 850-648-5861. A vast assortment of t-shrits, souvenires and givts. They carry swimsuits for all ages.
Family Fun and Great Eating! You can do this on the beach and in the bay--one of our favorite places is at the end of Indian Pass.
What you will need:
- Fishing line, string or twine
- Chicken Necks (any part of the chicken really)
- Stick/pole or something to secure the line to
- A long handle net (not too long or it gets in the way)
- Bucket that will hold water and is deep enough the crabs can’t crawl out of. Deep cooler works too!
- A family ready to have some fun!
My kids look forward to crabbing each time we go to the beach almost as much as the beach itself! We stop at the Piggly Wiggly on the way through Port St. Joe and buy some chicken necks or wings and freeze them—we freeze them after each time and use them all week.
We have the bases of palm fronds that we use for sticks and have the string (about 25 ft) already tied to them and wrapped around the fat end of the palm branch because it means less wrapping!
Gather up your gear and a few drinks and snacks and pick your favorite spot! We like the end of Indian Pass so far, but have heard success stories from St. Joseph State Park, the surf in front of Barrier Dunes on a calm day, the Stump Hole on Cape San Blas (the skinny part of the Cape with the rock wall) and the last Bridge before you get to Indian Pass Raw Bar (don’t get in water here—alligators are a possibility).
Throw your line out about 15 feet and wait a few minutes! When you pull the line a little and feel some extra weight—he’s there! Pull him in slowly and have a net waiting! Scoop him up and put it into your bucket of water!
When you get home—only cook the live ones. All you do is drop them into boiling water with Old Bay Seasoning and wait for it to boil again. They’ll turn pink—a lot like cooking shrimp! Dump them out and dinner is ready!
Scallop season runs from July 1 to September 10 each year. If you can swim, float or walk-since you can go 2 miles or more in a foot or 2 of water, you can scallop. Scalloping is a perfect activity for families because scallops are found in shallow, grassy areas making them easy targets for kids!
What You’ll Need:
- FL Saltwater Fishing License. Not needed if you are not using mask and snorkel. . You can purchase one by calling 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA or www.floridaconservation.org. You can also pick one up in Scallop Cove on Cape San Blas!
- Regulation Dive Flag (must be flying before anyone gets into the water, even if wading out from shore!) --we did provide dive flags, but they kept disappearing, sorry. You can rent them or buy them at Scallop Cove right on Cape San Blas, FL.
- Snorkel Gear - Not required, but helpful!
- Mesh Bag - To put all those scallops in!
- Boat - not required as you can walk out from the Bay side beach of the State Park! We used kayaks and had lots of fun!
Once you have everything you need, get your boat, or wade into the water. Once you see a few scallops lying on top of the sea grasses, start collecting. Be sure to store the scallops on ice immediately after harvesting. This opens the shells and makes cleaning easier.
You are allowed 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or one pint of scallop meat per day. Depending on the number of people on board a vessel, they’re limited to a maximum of 10 gallons of whole scallops in the shell, or ½ gallon of beat on board a vessel at any time.
BE A RESPONSIBLE SCALLOPER…DON’T GO OVER THE LIMIT!
If you would like to book an organized Scallop Trip, contact Seahorse Water Safaris.
FITNESS AND EXERCISE
I often get asked if there is a workout room at Barrier Dunes, but there is not. If you are interested in staying in shape, and walking, biking, swimming and snorkeling won't do it for you, you can contact Coastal Fitness in Port St. Joe. Located at 2775 Garrison Avenue - Phone 850-229-1900.
You can also enjoy a low-impact aerobics and body toning class in the firestation just a mile or so down the road from November to March. This class is run by Cheryl Bullerdick (a 5x winter resident of Barrier Dunes). You can call Cheryl at 850-229-2521 for the times and dates! This fitness class has gotten rave reviews from those that have attended in the past!
Things our kids love to do in Cape San Blas, Florida: Building Sandcastles, Digging in the Sand, Skimboarding, Going on Crab Hunts at night, feeding the turtles and fishing from the back deck, playing football on the beach, Playing "slay the waves" on our big raft, watching the dolphins, picking up shells and finding sand dollars....this is the type of entertainment that Barrier Dunes and Cape San Blas has that makes the best memories!
Apalachicola Estuary Tours. 301 Market Street, Apalachicola. 850-653-8687. River Cruises.
Island Air Tours: 8 airport Road, Apalachicola. 850-653-2222. Air tours and scenic flights.
Shell Island Shuttle. Shell Island is a natural, undeveloped island located in Panama City. It's home to one of the highest concentration of bottle-nosed dolphins and the islands pristine beauty and abundant wildlife make it an enjoyable day! Shuttle, Snorkel package and kayak rentals.
Please click here for our Area Events Calendar (includes Festivals, Special Events, Fishing Tournaments etc.)
NEED THE ACTION OF PANAMA CITY? It's only 50 miles away!
GULF WORLD MARINE PARK:
Need a little more entertainment? Gulf World Marine Park is in Panama City. Park Admission Includes dolphin, sea lion and parrot shows, turtle, shark and alligator exhibits and special programs that include: swimming with a dolphin, trainer for a day and dolphin day camp (RSVP's required for special programs. Gulf World is open daily, rain or shine at 9:00 am. Learn more at Gulf World Marine World or call 850-234-5271.
Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. Opening Spring 2006. Intersection of Front Beach Road, Thomas Dr. and Middle Beach Road in Panama City Beach. 850-230-6113.
Ebro Greyhound Park: Come for Dinner, go home a winner! Fun for the whole family. Year-round simulcast wagering. Play casino poker. Call for a current racing schedule! Hwy 70 & 20. 850-234-3943.
Shipwreck Island Water Park: 12201 Middle Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL 32407. 1-800-538-7395 or 850-234-3333. Panama City Beach's ONLY waterpark!
Most seasoned winter visitors recommend newcomers get involved in their winter community. Join a club, volunteer at a school or hospital or your church.Noah's Ark is probably the best place for Snowbirds to find interesting activities.
The Snowbird Club sponsored by the Noah's Ark Ministry is one of the oldest and was founded in 1973. Noah's Ark Ministry has some 1000 club members. Winter activities are open to all winter visitors. The club is led and financed by its members, and is for the recreation, fellowship, travel, enjoyment, and worship needs of its members. The member desk is open November through March from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.Noah's Ark is located at:1902 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL 32417, Tel.: Local 950-234-6062 Toll Free: 888-438-5561.
We have spent many wonderful days on St. Joseph Bay! Scalloping, kayaking, watching dolphins, snorkeling, fishing or just enjoying the beautiful bay and view of the end of the Cape!
See our other 3 CAPE SAN BLAS PET FRIENDLY BARRIER DUNES RENTALS