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Reported: May 2016

Paddling Apalachicola Bay from  St. George Island State Park

The Apalachicola Bay System, in the Florida Panhandle, covers about 208 square miles. It's separated from the Gulf of Mexico by four islands (St. Vincent Island, Cape St. George Island, St. George Island, and Dog Island). St. George Island is the only one accessible by car. Here, we paddled from St. George Island State Park. (Detailed map and photos below)



View Larger Map
Distance: Various
Location: Franklin County
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: St. George Island State Park (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: St. George Island, St. George Island State Park (links, above right)
Nearby Points of interest: Apalachicola, St. George Island State Park, St. George Island Lighthouse

Within St. George Island State Park, there are two launches. The hardened ramp at East Slough is used mostly by power boats. More popular with paddlers, we launched from the sand beach ramp at the Youth Camp. Kayak and canoe rentals are available here as well. With some shelter from the wind, we feel this area offers the best paddling on Apalachicola Bay. The water is usually clear and shallow. Fishing and wildlife viewing are popular.

Apalachicola Bay in good years produces 90% of the oysters in Florida (12% of all in the U.S.), but water quality and the industry are under attack from increasing salinity caused by factors such as drought, agricultural water usage, and domestic and industrial water usage along the rivers feeding the Bay (Apalachicola, Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers). Learn more at Apalachicola Riverkeeper.

Paddling on Apalachicola Bay at St. George Island State Park
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
Launching from the Youth Camp site, we paddled around East Cove - past Gap Point to East Slough to the east, and past Goose Island to Rattlesnake Point to the west. It was a windy day, but protected in this area. We hit rougher water approaching Rattlesnake Point.
St. George Island State Park Launches
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Youth Camp ramp/launch area
Rental kayaks and canoes picked up here
East Slough ramp/launch area
Trailer parking, view is eastward on East Slough
Paddling at East Cove
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Launching from
Youth Camp
View of launch and parking area East from launch Gap Point In the distance, sand dune "mountains" gulfside
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We saw a lot of splashing and a tailfin - then this big
redfish surfaced!
West from launch area,
toward Goose Island
View of SR 65 bridge Rougher water
on the Bay at Rattlesnake Point
St. George Island State Park
St. George Island State Park has parking, restrooms, playgrounds, beaches, two boat/kayak launches, fishing, hiking, camping... and some spectacular sand dune "mountains." The park roads are bikeable, plus a 5-mile nature ride by permit only.
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Beach parking/ restrooms/picnic Beach Sand dune "mountains" Biking on park roads Sensitive environmental area, access by permit
St. George Island
St. George Island is a 22 mile long barrier island between the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay. It features a 6-mile bike trail that provides easy access to the island's famous beaches. The St. George Lighthouse is a notable feature.
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4-mile bridge to
reach the island
St. George Island Lighthouse 6-mile biking/
walking trail
Beach access is just a block off the road Beach

More information on paddling on Apalachicola Bay at St. George Island (opens in a new window):

- Florida State Parks - St. George Island State Park
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Apalachicola River - Paddling

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