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St. George Island vs. Cape San Blas, FL: Which Beach Should You Visit?

Beaches of Cape San Blas and St. George Island side-by-side on sunny clear days

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St. George Island and Cape San Blas are two of the Florida panhandle’s premiere beaches. And they have very similar feels! But when comparing St. George Island vs. Cape San Blas, how do you know which vacation to choose for your family?

Main Differences Between St. George Island and Cape San Blas

St. George Island

  • Old-Florida vibes
  • More restaurants and shops
  • Closer to Apalachicola

Cape San Blas

  • Newer community
  • Less restaurants and shops
  • Closer to Port St. Joe

Both beaches are dog-friendly!

Low angle of seashells on Cape San Blas
Seashells on Cape San Blas

St. George Island vs. Cape San Blas

Location & Size

St. George Island and Cape San Blas actually are VERY similarly located. Both are barrier landforms (one a barrier island, one a peninsula) off the coast of the Florida panhandle in the Gulf of Mexico.

And both have very similar sizes. St. George Island is 28 miles long and 1 mile wide while Cape San Blas is 17 miles long and less than a mile wide.

If you’re using the North Florida town of Apalachicola as a reference point, Cape San Blas is about a 30 minute drive to the west while St. George Island is about a 20 minute drive to the east. You can actually see the Apalachicola Bridge from some parts of St. George Island.

So there is not much difference in their size and location.

The only big difference is the direction they face. Cape San Blas is west facing, so you will get AMAZING sunsets from the beach. But St. George Island faces mostly south, so the sunrises and sunsets will be on either end of the island.

Bright Orange and Ret Sunset on Cape San Blas
Cape San Blas Sunset

Beaches

The beaches at both Cape San Blas and St. George Island are beautiful. They have fine white sand and great water. But there are some differences.

I’ve found St. George Island beaches tend to be wider, however the sand isn’t quite as fine in my experience. I think this has to do with the fact that the beaches at Cape San Blas have had to be re-made due to storm damage and erosion.

I have also found that the water at Cape San Blas tends to be a bit clearer than St. George Island, although depending on the the weather and tide, this isn’t always the case.

But what about crowds?

There are spots on both beaches that get crowded for sure. Toward the center of St. George Island, beaches are more crowded because there is a public beach as well as a few small hotels. The East End can also get crowded because there are some condos with a higher population density.

But generally on St. George Island, the areas further away from the center of town aren’t crowded at all. The exception is near the condos on the East End.

Cape San Blas follows a similar pattern: more population density (i.e. more houses) means more crowded beaches. But Cape San Blas also doesn’t have the hotels or condos that St. George Island has, so overall can be less crowded. Although, I’ve definitely been in spots on Cape San Blas that felt too crowded for me, and spots that felt deserted.

Boardwalk to beach with kayak next to it on St. George Island
Boardwalk to Beach on St. George Island

Accommodations

For the most part, both Cape San Blas and St. George Island mostly have rental beach houses for accommodations. You can rent these houses through VRBO or local rental companies.

On Cape San Blas, your only option is going to be renting a house.

However, on St. George Island there are a couple of small hotels (like the St. George Inn and the Buccaneer Inn) as well as condo rentals. However, a beach house rental is still the best way to go!

Gray House on St. George Island with screened-in porch
House on St. George Island

Here’s a map of places you can stay in St. George Island:

Here’s a map of places you can stay in Cape San Blas:

Restaurants and Dining

Because both of these beaches are relatively small, dining options are somewhat limited. St. George Island does have more options than Cape San Blas though.

Plus, you can easily drive to Apalachicola from St. George Island or Port St. Joe from Cape San Blas for more dining options.

And BOTH places have one of my favorites — Weber’s Little Donut Shop.

Dining on Saint George Island

  • Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe — This is the best place to eat on St. George Island! They have all your favorite beach food, a lively atmosphere, and you get to eat outside looking out over the beach.
  • Paddy’s Raw Bar — The best place to go for oysters. It also has a laid-back vibe during the day, live music at night, and looks out onto the Apalachicola Bay.
  • Harry A’s Bar and Grill — This restaurant serves seafood and is a popular hangout spot for both visitors and locals.
  • Mango Mike’s — This restaurant has a huge outdoor seating area under a tropical hut (no beach views though). And of course they have lots of seafood options.
  • BJ’s Pizza and Subs — The best to get pizza on the island. Perfect for a casual dinner, or get pizza to go and take it back to your beach house.
  • Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream — The best spot to get ice cream on the island!
  • Weber’s Little Donut Shop — I LOVE these donuts. Get there early in the morning though before they open! There is always a line and they close when they sell out. And bring cash! They don’t accept cards.
Sign at top of Aunt Ebby's Ice Cream Stairs saying "You have just climbed off 1 scoop worth of calories."
Sign at Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream

Dining on Cape San Blas

  • Cone Heads — An essential Cape San Blas restaurant. They serve burgers, fries, and of course seafood.
  • Peachy’s Beach Eats — Casual beach dining. Peachy’s is known for their tacos.
  • The Smokehouse on Cape San Blas — Here’s where you can get some BBQ at the beach!
  • Indian Pass Raw Bar — Technically in Indian Pass (right next to Cape San Blas), this spot is the most well-known spot to get oysters.
  • Weber’s Little Donut Shop — Definitely plan on grabbing breakfast here one day! And just like on Saint George Island, line up early and bring cash!

Grocery Stores

Because both St. George Island and Cape San Blas are somewhat remote beaches, planning for your groceries is essential.

Whenever I visit either island, I like to bring all of my groceries with me in the car to avoid worrying about it there. However, you can get groceries there if you need to.

The best place to get groceries near St. George Island is the Piggly Wiggly in Apalachicola. However, they may not have everything you’re looking for. (I know this is a smaller grocery store than where I usually shop at home.)

There is also technically a Piggly Wiggly on St. George Island, but it is extremely small and mostly good for picking up essentials.

It is easier to get groceries near Cape San Blas. (I still don’t like to because I have no interest in grocery shopping while I’m on vacation, but you *can*.) The best option near Cape San Blas is the Piggly Wiggly in Port St. Joe, which is a more robust store than the one in Apalachicola.

On Cape San Blas, you can also pick up essentials at Cape Trading Post.

Shopping

Neither Cape San Blas nor St. George Island are particularly known for their shopping. It’s all more about getting out on the beach and enjoying nature!

But there are a few spots to shop in each place.

St. George Island Shopping

  • St. George Island Trading Co. — A huge warehouse store of souvenirs and t-shirts.
  • Beach Planet St. George Island — Here’s where you can go to get forgotten beach gear and swimsuits.
  • Seaside Cotton — Boutique clothing store. It sits catty-corner from the lighthouse in the bottom of a condo building.
  • Island Emporium Inc. — A gift shop with local art, home decor, and souvenirs.
  • Island Outfitters — The spot for outdoor gear for your beach days. You can also rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from them.

Cape San Blas Shopping

  • Beach Planet — The spot for beach gear and necessities like swimsuits, sunscreen, beach toys, and more.
  • Scallop Cove General Store — Here you’ll find some souvenirs, limited groceries, and bait and tackle. They also have a small cafe with pizza and sandwiches.
  • Cape Trading Post — This is the best spot to get groceries on the Cape (although selection is limited). They also have t-shirts, souvenirs, and beach supplies.

Activities and Attractions

Looking up at St. George Island white lighthouse
St. George Island Lighthouse

While enjoying the beach is definitely the best thing to do on both St. George Island and Cape San Blas, both spots do have other fun activities.

Things To Do on St. George Island

  • Visit the Cape St. George Lighthouse — You can climb the lighthouse on the center of the island for some great views!
  • Visit St. George Island State Park — Visit undeveloped beaches and enjoy a day at the state park.
  • Rent Bikes — Riding bikes is a super popular activity on the island, and they have great sidewalks and trails across the island for you to enjoy.

Here’s our complete list of things to do on St. George Island.

Things To Do on Cape San Blas

  • Go for a Walk at Salinas Park — This beautiful little park has boardwalks you can enjoy for great bay views.
  • Visit St. Joseph Peninsula State Park — Enjoy a day in this park with undeveloped beaches and tall sand dunes.
  • Go Horseback Riding — There are several stables on the Cape that offer beach horseback riding.

Here’s our complete list of things to do on Cape San Blas.

Salinas Park boardwalk surrounded by pine trees on Cape San Blas
Salinas Park Boardwalk on Cape San Blas

General Vibes

These beaches have very similar feels, since they are both small beach communities without the high-rises. But they still have different vibes.

St. George Island has more of an old Florida feel. The houses and restaurants here have been around longer.

I also think St. George Island feels more secluded, like you are really “getting away from it all.” There is just something about driving across that bridge from Eastpoint and being on an actual island.

Cape San Blas has a slightly newer and more polished feel. And it tends to be slightly less crowded (although neither one is crowded when compared to beaches like Pensacola or Destin).

However, Cape San Blas also has fewer restaurants and shops. But it is within easier driving distance of conveniences in Port St. Joe.

Kids Playing in the water at Cape San Blas
Fun in the Water at Cape San Blas

St. George Island vs. Cape San Blas: Which Beach Should You Visit?

So which beach should you visit?

Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong either way. I have taken multiple vacations to both beaches and have loved my time at each one. My personal preference is St. George Island (actually recently named the best beach in the US!). But I also think some of that is nostalgia based since I’ve been going to St. George Island since I was a baby.

So here’s what you should consider for your beach trip:

If you want a classic old Florida-feel, more restaurants, and don’t mind being further away from a good grocery store, visit St. George Island.

If you want to stay in a newer beach house, don’t mind less restaurants, and care more about just being at the beach, visit Cape San Blas.

More Beach Trip Info


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