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Have you heard about this family vacation destination along the beautiful Gulf Coast beaches that most of the world hasn’t found out about yet?!
Meet our new friend, “the Cape.”
Our family traveled many hours to investigate this Forgotten Coast community & how far they’ve come after being battered by Hurricane Michael eight months ago!
But this travel article isn’t a typical one…..
FIRST, THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS SECLUDED PART OF THE GULF COAST BEACHES
To be honest, I was a little nervous about driving my family to the southern, secluded tip of the panhandle of Florida to enjoy a family vacation because “the Cape” looked like it was in the middle of nowhere.
And I heard that it suffered significant damage and was literally split in two by the storm.
BOY, WAS I SURPRISED!!
There were just enough shops and restaurants to take care of our every need WITHOUT CHAINS of any kind – which was a little slice of heaven, and the repair work we noticed was minimal.
The seclusion was amazing and we can’t wait to return!!
SIX FUN THINGS TO DO IN CAPE SAN BLAS, FLORIDA WITH THE FAM
This is not only an up-close and personal look at the recovery of a beautiful gulf coast beach town, and incredible locals that stole our hearts, but also a list of the many Cape San Blas things to do for families that we enjoyed!
Thanks to Blue Crab Beach House for hosting our week-long stay – as always, my honest, southern opinions are all my own.
#1 FIND THE PERFECT, RELAXING BEACH HOUSE
The manager at our Blue Crab Beach House rental had emailed excellent info and everything we needed to know about this peaceful gated community. We also found fresh flowers on the kitchen island when we arrived!
What a personal touch!
The tri-level Blue Crab Beach House was tucked into what seemed to be the quietest corner of the gated complex. Comfortable, nicely decorated, and full of all the comforts and supplies we could possibly need!
An adorable bunk room bedroom with its own bathroom, two master bedrooms upstairs with on-suite baths, and decks for every bedroom and living area?!
Tranquil colors, new furnishings and appliances, and such a quiet retreat made our time inside the townhouse completely relaxing. There was also a fully-stocked kitchen, towels, linens, toiletries to get started, and flat-screen TVs in every bedroom.
One swimming pool was just steps from Blue Crab Beach House and the other was at the clubhouse, overlooking the gulf!
#2 SPEND TIME ON THE WHITE, FLUFFY SAND NEAR THE BEACH HOUSE
The first time we took a stroll from the beach house to the beach access within the complex, my jaw literally dropped at the raw beauty of Cape San Blas. We returned to the beach early each day and again at sunset because we simply couldn’t get enough.
The clear, blue-green ocean, the sound of shorebirds, the salty smell, the beautiful soft, sugary white sand, all with a reminiscent feel of Old Florida were more relaxing than I could have dreamed!
We read, slept, went shell-hunting, shared family memories, and swam in the ocean. Then strolled along the ocean as a few other families did the same – all of us waiting to watch another spectacular sunset.
One of the best features of Blue Crab Beach House was the beach supplies and wagon located in the garage underneath the townhouse.
#3 VISIT ST. JOSEPH PENINSULA STATE PARK
When leaving Blue Crab Beach House and exiting the Barrier Dunes complex, turn left and you are mere feet from the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.
Named the best beach in America by “Dr. Beach” in 2002, a coastal scientist with famous beach lists every year, you’ll find more natural, Old Florida beauty, with even fewer crowds at this amazing state park.
Currently, the cost is $6 per vehicle and you can come and go until sunset with your paid pass. Entrance to this natural wonder with wildlife, both the gulf coast beach AND the bay are worth much more.
“Cape San Blas is our little slice of heaven!”
#4 GO GULF COAST SHOPPING
I was actually thrilled that the Gulf Coast beaches shopping was limited to Mom and Pop stores with owners that were actual locals. It really added to the “relaxing” vibe that I was craving so badly.
I lost count how many times we visited a large but intimate beachwear store named Beach Planet and The Cape Trading Post.
At Beach Planet, we bought beach shoes, suntan lotions, and great souvenirs. At The Cape Trading Post, they had the coolest T-shirts and souvenirs too.
One of our vacation days, we rode over to the town of Port St. Joe. When we turned down the gorgeous, historic main street, I was in love immediately. We shopped, we talked to locals and shop owners about their incredibly inspiring hurricane stories, and we ate great food.
I wish we’d had more time to spend in this great little town!
#5 EAT INCREDIBLE FOOD
I’ve already mentioned The Cape Trading Post and told you that we lost count of how many times we visited. That’s because connected side-by-side were places to buy hand-dipped ice cream, coffee, handmade pizzas, deli sandwiches, breakfast biscuits, hot wings, and baked-to-order fresh donuts.
Need I say more?
We thoroughly enjoyed the Sand Bucket in Cape San Blas. For a fine dining experience, we ate at Provisions in Port St. Joe. The three-cheese tortellini and Prime Rib Sandwich were to die for.
#6 TAKE TIME TO MEET INCREDIBLY FRIENDLY FOLKS OF CSB & PSJ
Cape San Blas and Port St. Joe are gorgeous. This fact only plays second to how amazing the locals are. I’m not being dramatic when I say that every. single. cashier, waiter, store owner, etc. went out of their way to make us feel welcome.
Our waiter at the Sand Bucket acted as if we were his only customers and shared photos on his phone of encouraging recovery after the hurricane.
When we visited a beautiful boutique in Port St. Joe, she told us it was only their second day open since the hurricane. We were shocked because standing in that beautiful store, there was no indication of damage. They, and the rest of the community have pulled up their bootstraps alongside each other and put everything back in place.
She told us stories of faith and perseverance that happened in the midst of Hurricane Michael and afterward. It was all we could do to hold it together and not tear up about the touching stories of some very amazing humans.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT BLUE CRAB BEACH HOUSE
FAQS ABOUT GULF COAST BEACHES ABOUT CAPE SAN BLAS
The “Cape” is a geographical term that describes a peninsula that creates a bay and protects the mainland from perils of the sea. This area fits that description as part of a peninsula in Gulf County, Florida that extends and separates St. Joseph Bay from the Gulf of Mexico.
“San Blas” was given to the area – named by the Spanish explorers after a monk from the middle ages that became a saint – “Saint Blase.”
The name evolved to be Cape San Blas over the years.
The Forgotten Coast is typically referred to as the small communities like Carabelle, Apalachicola, St. George Island, Port St. Joe, and Cape San Blas that are east of the tourist-y areas of Panama City Beach and Destin along the Florida Panhandle .
Some say that the Forgotten Coast is the last part of Old Florida that hasn’t been taken over by strip malls and high-rise condos as a tourist trap.
Besides the six Cape San Blas things to do that I mentioned above, there are also plenty of opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, crabbing, scalloping, sailing, and boat tours.
WHICH OF THESE TWO GULF COAST BEACHES ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO VISIT?
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO INFO & LINKS
Blue Crab Beach House – 119 Sapodilla Lane, CSB, FL
St. Joseph State Park (T.H. Stone Memorial) – 8899 Cape San Blas Rd. PSJ, FL
Cape Trading Post – 4975 Cape San Blas Rd PSJ, FL
The Sand Bucket Smokehouse & Grill – 980 Cape San Blas Rd, CSB, FL
Provisions Restaurant – 222 Reid Ave, PSJ, FL
Boutique by the Bay – 319 Reid Ave, PSJ, FL
Ahhh this looks like somewhere I could hang!!
It’s incredibly family friendly and we can’t wait to return!!
You had me at “no chain restaurants of any kind”! I’d love to eat my way through the Cape!
Right, Marta?! We adore local “Mom and Pop” restaurants where the locals are the owners – the food is always better and so is the conversation! You should check it out for a future vacation! 🙂
Oh wow, that beach looks so beautiful!
It was GORGEOUS! Couldn’t get over the super thick and fluffy white sand. Ahhhh, take me back! LOL
I’m so ready to go to the Gulf Coast with girlfriends. I’m overdo for sure. This area looks awesome!!
Yay, Kimbery! Sounds like a fun trip that you have planned. Y’all should check this area out for the next time! Have a great trip!
What a gorgeous place to visit. I heard the waves THROUGH the pictures. Lovely!
Haha! Love it.
I’m totally pinning this for our 2010 travel planning. I mean, you can’t get better than the beach!
That’s awesome, Amanda. I’m guessing you meant 2020…it will be here before we know it.
This is so informative! I would love to plan a beach vacation but have no idea where to begin. I’ll have to refer back to this post 🙂 Thank you!
My pleasure, Jenna. Glad it was helpful. Let me know if I can answer more questions or help!
I would love to visit here someday. It looks lovely!
Yay! We are in love!!
The beach looks sooo refreshing. A great place to relax! Thanks for sharing.
It was! My pleasure. 🙂
We are going down to Destin in 2 weeks so will have to check out some of these spots. 🙂
Yes, you should! Enjoy, Amber!
That is so amazing that this community was able to come together and repair so fast and beautifully. It looks amazing, definitely need to visit someday!
cute & little
Yes, such wonderful people. Hope you are able to visit soon, Kileen!
I can never get enough beach vacations and this place looks beautiful. Definitely adding to my travel list!
Yay, Sarah! I feel the same way. Especially gorgeous and secluded!!
You’re right … I’ve never heard of it. It would be the perfect spot for our family to vacation before the big kids move out next month.
Don’t worry, I’d never heard of it until I looked on a map. Bless your Mama heart on the “moving out” part. It is such a wonderful family friendly spot!
I haven’t heard of these, but I have been dying to plan a trip to the gulf!!
Yay, Rachel. You should check it out for sure!!
Thank you Rachel. We have been going to the Cape for the last 10 years. It’s our favorite place to go. I love it when I hear when someone else gets the beauty in the way it is one of the most relaxing and beautiful places to go. Not to mention the stars at night are amazing. Thank you for your post. Unless you have been there you will never truly get the beauty of Port St Joe and Cape Sam Blas. Every place you mentioned is exactly as you described. The people at Scallop Cove in Cape San Blas and Peppers in Port St Joe are also amazing!!! I can wait until next year to return!!!!
My name is actually Shan, but thank you so much for your kind words, Kelly! It makes my day that you are a CSB visitor and loved how I described it. We are definitely in love with this area now ourselves. thanks so much for your input!
Great recommendations Babe