The entire area of Port Saint Joe, Florida and Florida’s Forgotten Coast is awesome and I love everything I’ve experienced there but in this post I share my three favorite places to visit in Port Saint Joe. If it’s beautiful scenery with a great climate, beaches, camping, hiking, fishing, water sports, great food or whatever you expect to find on the coast it’s waiting for you now in Gulf county Florida.
Cape San Blas Lighthouse
Cape San Blas Lighthouse originally opened June 30, 1885 on Cape San Blas. The lighthouse, its two keepers quarters and oil house was relocated July 15, 2014 by truck convoy to its new location in George Core Park at 200 Miss Zola’s Drive, Port Saint Joe, Florida. For an admission fee of five dollars visitors can climb the tower and experience an incredible view of Port Saint Joe and Saint Joseph Bay. It’s easily worth the effort climbing the tower to enjoy such a beautiful area from an amazing viewpoint. Afterwards, drop by the gift shop in the white cottage near the tower to purchase framed lighthouse prints, paintings, books and memorabilia to remember your visit. Check out this link to their Facebook page.
Cape San Blas lighthouse is the first place my best friend Renda and I visited on our trip to Port Saint Joe in January 2016 and we’ve been in love with the area ever since. The lighthouse is located right near the bay and after making several great photos we walked over to the shoreline to find beautiful sea shells and made some great pictures of a derelict boat that once was stranded in the bay. By the way, Renda is travel nursing now with the opportunity to visit some amazing places and writes about her travel adventures on her blog at RRB Photography so go check it out and subscribe while you’re there.
I love the smell of the bay and inhaled deeply as I parked the car at Frank Pate Park and walked to the lighthouse. On this particular morning I arrived well before sunrise to set up the camera in hope of capturing a twilight photo of the lighthouse and was blessed with a beautiful morning to photograph. I captured this nice one showing the trees lined across the street and leading to the lighthouse in the early morning light.
As the sun rose I had moved to the other side of the lighthouse to photograph the sunrise behind the buildings and, wow, was it ever amazing. I had considered staying where I started for more twilight shots but I’m glad I moved because the sunrise that morning was awesome and followed by beautiful puffy white clouds in a blue sky. I could not have asked for weather any better to photograph this beautiful area and found several different angles I had not seen before.
Buck Griffin Lake
Buck Griffin Lake in Port Saint Joe, Florida is not something usually on a tourist agenda and you have to be somewhat of a local to know about it and fortunately, at least for a while, I was a local. It’s part of the city park system and consists of two lakes in one with wooden bridges, a fishing pier and picnic areas as well as a walking track that circles part of the lake and continues on through the middle of the residential areas of Port Saint Joe mostly along Long Avenue.
This is why I love Port Saint Joe. There are so many places like this easily accessible to relax and enjoy life in this beautiful area.
Saint Joseph Peninsula State Park
It’s time for the beach! After exploring the lighthouse, the bay and Buck Griffin Lake I was ready for the salt water. I keep a beach bag packed in the trunk of the car just for this reason and Saint Joseph Peninsula State Park is only twenty miles from downtown Port Saint Joe. Arriving at the park I paid my entrance fee and followed the meandering paved road to a public access beach point with showers and bathrooms, parked the car, grabbed my bag and followed a sandy path through the dunes to the beach. Wow! So beautiful!
The park consists of beaches bay side and gulf side so take your pick. Either is gorgeous. There are campsites available for RV travelers as well as the more adventurous looking for a wilderness site but if you really want walls between you and nature seven cabins are also available for rent but booking is probably a year in advance so call ahead. It’s a popular area.
Though it is a popular area the beaches aren’t so crowded as you might find farther west toward Panama City Beach and there were few people on the beaches today as well. I enjoyed a couple of hours on the beach and, as Renda would say, I “burnt my cracker ass”. It was a great time though and afterwards I explored another great beach, Salinas Beach, along the way to a late lunch at the fabulous Triple Tales restaurant. The food is always delicious and service is great. It’s one of my go to eateries when I’m in town.
Crossing the bridge from Port Saint Joe west on US Highway 98 I finished my beach trip enjoying the sunset on Saint Joe Beach. There was a thunderstorm off shore but those beautiful gulf coast sunset colors still shown through and it was a great way to finish another memorable trip to my favorite Florida panhandle beaches on the Forgotten Coast.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the post and make Port Saint Joe your port of call when planning your next holiday. Be sure and check back for the next post or subscribe and receive email notifications when there is a new post! Thanks for reading!