Why You Should Spend Your Florida Spring Break in Cape San Blas

Those of us who live in Cape San Blas and the areas around it know that our beaches are hands down, some of the most beautiful in all of Florida.  We also know that our Gulf Coast beach communities are friendly and welcoming and are perfect for families with kids of all ages. When it comes to Spring Break, our beaches do not attract hordes of party goers. Our miles of pristine beaches are not crowded. The pace of life is quieter here, you won’t find hectic crowds or rowdy dance clubs or loud parties on the beach. A Florida Spring Break spent on our shores is one that the entire family will adore.

A Truly Family-Friendly Florida Spring Break Has:

 

  • A naturally pristine and unspoiled beauty without the crass commercialism that you see throughout so many other areas of Florida.
  • Gentle, clear waters that offer amazing opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and boating.
  • Cape San Blas is a PET FRIENDLY BEACH! There are rules and regulations, but how awesome is it that you don’t have to leave your four-legged family members behind for you trip to the beach! We have many pet-friendly properties to help Fido feel right at home.
  • Because our beaches are less crowded, there are great opportunities to hunt for sea shells. You are likely to find rare shells that you might not find anywhere else!
  • Golfers will love Josephs Bay Golf Club, an 18-hole championship course that runs along St. Joseph’s Bay. The course has lots of wildlife residents, including alligators, so be sure to bring your camera phone with you! You never know who you might see
  • Joe’s Bay offers the unique opportunity to go scalloping in the late summer/early fall. This is one of only a small handful of areas that allow visitors to harvest bay scallops.
  • Joseph’s State Park offers visitors 2,500 acres of wildlife refuge to explore, with 10 miles of pristine beach and bay areas.
  • Cape San Blas has enacted a strict “Leave No Trace” policy in an effort to keep our beaches looking clean and beautiful every single day.
  • The shoreline along St Joseph’s bay provides a healthy, teeming habitat for a huge number of crabs, sand dollars, snails and other invertebrates. You are likely to see many sea creatures swimming around the Bay, including sting rays, pufferfish, sea horses, star fish and even sharks.
  • The St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve is one of the last remaining buffer preserves in Florida. The Buffer provides an essential safeguard that helps protect water quality, coastal landscape and critical ocean habitats.
  • Port St. Joe’s George Core Park is now home to the historic Cape San Blas Lighthouse, which, after many decades of surviving crashing waves and tumultuous seas, was moved away from the water to its new home in 2014 via an amazing feat of engineering and will.
  • Don’t miss the heart of area marine activity at the Port St. Joe Marina. Book your boating, fishing, snorkeling expeditions, dolphin and sunset cruises all in one place and enjoy the freshest seafood and unique boutiques and shops.
  • Mexico Beach offers visitor a small, family friendly, beach-town atmosphere with a big helping of Panhandle Southern hospitality

 

Florida Spring BreakWe Want You to Enjoy Every Bit of your Vacation

With our exclusive Beach Gear Included and Family Fun Pass offers, your beach vacation will be made more effortless AND affordable. Enjoy beach and recreational equipment delivered right to your door. Save money on golf, fishing, horseback riding and more with our special savings pass.

 

Avoiding another Florida Spring Break Because of the Craziness?

Don’t!  Instead, visit our beautiful Florida Gulf Coast Beaches and you will: Avoid the crowds. Avoid the craziness. Avoid the cacophony. Spend this Florida Spring Break on our quiet beaches and enjoy the very best Florida has to offer your whole family. Spend your break in Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and our other pristine beach areas. You will come away refreshed, relaxed and brimming with joyful family memories that will last a lifetime.

 

 

Fresh Scallops

Florida Gulf Coast Scallop Season Delayed

One of the most beloved annual events Florida’s Gulf County is Scallop Season. Due in large part to area climate events that occurred in 2015, the scallop season has been put into jeopardy. This year the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is undertaking a major coastal restoration to ensure that the scallop population will continue to grow and thrive for many generations to come.

scallop season delayedScallop season delayed. Better late than never.

Scallop season had traditionally been held in the late summer/early fall. Making the season earlier in 2010 to appeal to summer visitors to the region has ultimately led to immature, smaller scallops, as they are not allowed the proper time to mature and grow. Compounding all of this this was the red tide even that occurred last winter during the scallops natural spawning time.  As a result of all of these factors, the overall number of scallops in the area has decreased somewhat alarmingly over the past five years. In response, Gulf County has opted for a compromise to cancelling this year’s season. After a series of public workshops, the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to push scallop season back to it’s more traditional time. This year, the limited scallop season will begin on August 22nd and run only until Labor Day (September 5th.) The bag limit has also been reduced to 40 scallops per person and 200 per boat.

What are scallops anyway?

Scallops are members of the Phylum Mollusca. This family includes clams, snails, squids, sea slugs, mussels, oysters and octopuses. Like clams, oysters & mussels, scallops are bivalves. Scallops are capable of swimming by opening and closing their fan shaped, ridged shells using their adductor muscle. This is the meaty part of the scallop that so many of us find delectable. One of the most unique traits of the scallop is their reproductive system. Most scallops are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female sex organs. Scallops spawn, releasing eggs and sperm. Once fertilized, an egg attaches to objects along the sea floor with byssal threads. As they mature, they lose this thread attachment and are able to swim about freely. Disruptions in their environments can make spawning difficult and this is what seems to have occurred last year for our area scallop population.

Why this is all good news for scallops and scallopers alike.

The added benefiting of pushing back the scallop season is to bring a fresh new wave of tourists and visitors to the area. The weather is still amazing, warm and beautiful, but the big crowds will be gone, leaving stretches of quiet, undisturbed beaches, along with better prices on everything from lodging to dining. The compromise has been embraced by area residents, tourism vendors, local politicians and conservationists and the FWC alike. In working together to ensure the future of the scallop populations, everyone understands that a shortened and delayed season will ultimately lead to the preservation and survival of the region’s scallops.

Conservation rules are being enforced now and into the future. Caged scallops are being placed within St. Joseph Bay to help promote localized scallop spawning and the area will be protected from all harvesting. All of these efforts and precautions will help to ensure that there are scallops to enjoy now and into the future.

 

 

swimming sea turtle

Sea Turtles – Keep Them Safe

swimming sea turtle

May 1st marks the OFFICIAL start of turtle season here along the Florida Gulf Coast. Sea turtles are classified as a Protected Species under the  Endangered Species Act. It is the responsibility of all residents and visitors alike to ensure that these delicate creatures are not exposed to any harm, even if inadvertent,  while they nest and develop on our beaches.

Please use common sense and follow the rules below to help ensure safety for the sea turtles:

  • Shield interior lighting and turn off exterior lights at night so as not to disturb the turtles’ nocturnal activities
  • Use turtle safe flashlights on the beach at night, such as a red LED light
  • Do not use flashes when taking photos of turtles or nests (including flashes on cell phone cameras)
  • Do NOT disturb any areas marked as nesting areas on the beach
  • Remove ALL beach equipment every evening
  • Take every single thing you bring to the beach away with you. Leave no trash or any trace of your visit behind
  • Do not, under ANY circumstance,  touch turtles, nests, or hatchlings
  • Don’t dig trenches for hatchlings or otherwise disturb the natural terrain of the beaches. If you must dig, fill in any holes you create during your visit before you leave. Leave the beach as you found it.
  • Leave NO plastic on the beach. No plastic bags, containers, caps, rings; do not use any products with micro-beads

baby sea turtles

Plastics are particularly dangerous to the recently hatched baby turtles as they make their arduous journey from their nest, across the sand to the ocean. After the babies exhaust their internal food supply from their yolk-sack, they instinctively will try to find food in the sand. The babies cannot distinguish their natural foods from tiny bits of plastic. Consuming plastic is one of the leading causes of death for both adult and baby sea turtles .

The Florida Coastal Conservancy is excited to have a brand new home in Port St. Joe, opening this Spring. Every May through October, the Conservancy sends out patrols of volunteers to monitor and track sea turtle activity along the Saint Joseph Peninsula. The Patrol tracks the movement of adult turtles coming ashore to nest and then counts and monitors the resulting nests. They then mark the nesting areas so that visitors to the beach leave them undisturbed. Once the eggs hatch, and the hatchlings head out to sea, the volunteers collect as much data as they can on the nesting site to be used for future conservancy.   The new center will provide education and exhibits about the areas most special and fragile visitors to help ensure the survival of these miraculous sea creatures.

Remember, you are not the only visitors to our wonderful beaches. With a little bit of respect and attention, you can help keep our turtles safe and ensure the preservation of this ancient species for future generations to enjoy.

Breezy By The Bay logo

Third Annual Breeze By The Bay In Port St. Joe

Breeze by the Bay runnersStrap on your sneakers and get ready for the Breeze by the Bay on March 12th. This is the third year of this annual 5K & 10K event, which is hosted by the Junior Service League of Port St Joe and raises money to help provide services to the local Gulf County community. The 2016 race features a new course map, weaving on paved trails through the beautiful city of Port St. Joe, Florida. Pristine Properties is proud to be a sponsor of this wonderful community event.

We look forward to seeing all of the race participants and their support crew for the race. We have a variety of lodging options so you can be well-rested before the events and relax after you cross the finish line. Simply choose your arrival / departure dates, and number of guests. Clicking Search will show you results for those dates and also give you the ability to choose which Area in which you want to stay: St. Joe Beach, Indian Pass, Cape San Blas or Mexico Beach, FL.

You can grab your run-packet on Friday night and and participate in the pre-race workout and party,  Vino & Vinyasa, which is included with your race registration. Enjoy a session of runner’s yoga, led by local yogi Tammy Miller, while watching the sun set over St. Joseph Bay. Then enjoy a glass of wine and live music from the Thirsty Goat. Your non-running friends and family are welcome to join in this fun evening for $15. Also included with your registration is an awesome sea-foam green race t-shirt with a gray logo. Registration fees go up after February 26th and that is also the deadline to get your t-shirt on race day.

Early March is the perfect time to visit the Florida Gulf Coast, before Spring break! The weather is perfect for running or anything you want to do on our beaches, not to mention that pre-Spring Break rates are lower. We still have availability for the race weekend of March 12th. Check out our vacation rentals here. You can also take advantage of our Beach Gear Included program when you rent from us. Explore the water and beaches with bicycles, kayaks, paddle boards and more. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of our Family Fun Pass, which includes seasonal complimentary admissions/fares to some of the area’s most popular attractions.

Make your plans now to visit us on Florida Gulf Coast;  shake the cold out of your bones and warm up at the Breeze by the Bay!

Sandman Santa on the Beach

Florida Gulf Coast Holidays; All The Holiday Spirit Without The Freezing Cold

Traditional Holiday celebrations often mean cold and snow, with Mr. Frost nipping at your nose a
and such. Enjoying a conventional holiday doesn’t mean you have to shiver! Check out some of the best of what is happening along our beaches see why Florida Gulf Coast Holidays are the best holidays!

  • Begin your 2015 holiday adventure with the Apalachicola Christmas Celebration, which lights the historic town the day after Thanksgiving, November 27th, beginning at 4 pm. Luminaries line the streets and shops stay open late as carolers fill the air with merrineSanta Houndss. A shrimp boat arrives at 4 pm  carrying Santa. This is a traditional coastal holiday celebration that is not to be missed.
  • Apalachicola Santa doesn’t forget those four-legged kids on this naughty and nice lists. On Saturday, November 28th, from 1:00-3:30 Santa devotes himself to hearing howliday wishes from his furry friends.  There will be a pet costume contest at 3 pm and special treats for dogs. Get your pet’s photo taken with Ol’ St. Nick and  make a donation to the Franklin County Humane Society.
  • Enjoy the ringing sleigh bells along Reid Avenue in HistorXmas on the Coastic downtown St. Joe as Santa arrives for the holiday tradition of Christmas on the Coast on December 12th. Be a part of the festivities and enter your float, boat, car, truck, golf cart, walking unit or even a band as part of the annual Christmas parade which coincides with a boat parade along the Coast! The parade begins at 6 pm and Santa will be available for pictures after the marching stops.
  • Celebrate Twice Often feel that you have not had quite enough New Year’s revelry with just one celebration? Head to Gulf County and celebrate twice! Port St. Joe will hasten in 2016 ala the Eastern Time Zone and one hour later, the whole party begins again just a short journey west to Mexico Beach, which calls the Central Time Zone home. There will be free shuttle buses running from Port St. Joe to Mexico Beach and everywhere in between. Literally, you can have twice as much bang for the buck, as two firework shows will be set off in celebration of the New Year in both locales! New Years is twice as nice on our beaches, there is no arguing that!

No matter what your favorite holiday activity is, stay in one of our fabulous beach rental homes. Why is building a sandcastle so much more fun than building a snowman? NO MITTENS NEEDED!

 

Top 5 Things To Do On The Florida Gulf Coast

When you plan a vacation to the Florida Gulf Coast, the reasons are obvious. You want to sit on the beach and RELAX. When your fancy turns to being a little more active, here is just a tiny sampling of things to do on the Florida Gulf Coast. Don’t worry, your beach chair will be waiting for you when you get back!

1. Collecting Sea Shells along the beaches on Cape San Blas: Add to your burgeoning shell collection while enjoying  the sheer beauty of “The Cape’s” pristine natural surroundings. Embrace the sugar white sand with your bare toes as you scour the gentle surf for that one of a kind shell

Port St. Joe Lighthouse (1)2.Visit the Cape San Blas Lighthouse in Port St. Joe: Steeped in history, the famous Cape San Blas lighthouse was erected over 130 years ago. In 2014, the entire structure was relocated to its new home in George Core Park in Port St. Joe.

3. The Annual Florida Scallop and Music Festival. Fall brings one of the premiere events in the country to Port St. Joe. The Florida Scallop and Music Festival features a weekend of great food and music, bringing national acts from all over to play at this one of a kind beach party. This family friendly event hosts chefs and food vendors who work their magic on that treasure of the Gulf Coast, the scallop. Eat and dance to your heart’s content.

4. Go Shopping In Mexico Beach. If you enjoy finding that one of a kind treasure, away from big box and chain stores, opting instead for unique independent shops, Mexico Beach is the perfect place for you. Explore the numerous gift and novelty shops that line Mexico Beach’s thoroughfare and find that special watergift or beach memento you didn’t even know you were looking for.

5. Go Scalloping along St. Joe’s Bay: The whole family can participate in this one of a kind ocean exploration. Whether you like to swim, float, snorkel or simply explore shallow waters on foot, there is not a large skill set or amount of equipment needed for scalloping. You do need a license and you must adhere to the daily limit.

This is just a small sampling of all of fun and wonderful things waiting for you along the Florida Gulf Coast. Call us today at 850-227-1100 to find your perfect beach getaway for the vacation you will not soon forget.

 

 

Salt Air Market Logo

Salt Air Market – Fresh Produce For You Through November

Fresh ProduceThis Saturday is one of just a few Saturdays remaining for the Salt Air Farmer’s Market in City Commons Park in Port St. Joe. Grab your big shopping bags and enjoy a lovely morning stroll  in downtown Port St. Joe as you shop for the freshest local produce, unique regional vegetables, artisan baked goods, meats and cheeses and fresh out of the water seafood.

The Salt Air Market is held on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month through November. The freshest produce of the moment is yours for the taking from local farmers and growers. Lucky Salt Air Market goers get to partake of peak produce long after most farmer’s markets have shuttered for the season. Now is the perfect time to find your Halloween Jack-O’-Lantern or even better, pie pumpkin!

In addition to seasonal, just picked fruit and veggies, there is a literal cornucopia of hand made fresh foods and goods for your winter larder or to eat as you walk around the market. Jams, honeys, baked goods, canned at the peak of freshness produce, fresh meats and cheeses, eggs, ice cream and locally caught fresh Gulf seafood are just some of the choices. There is everything you need to eat well now, and throughout the winter months.

The Market also hostsSalt Air Market Goods extremely talented local artists and crafters. Want to get a jump start on your holiday shopping this year? Stop by the Salt Air Market and find that perfect, one of a kind gift you just will not see anywhere else! There is something for everyone on your list, one of a kind clothing and knits, leather-work, paintings and drawing, sculpture and textiles, unique home goods and one of a kind jewelry, pottery and wood-work.

The Salt Air Market is held every 1st and 3rd Saturday at City Commons Park in Port St. Joe. from 9-12.

Scallop Festival Logo

The Florida Scallop & Music Festival Featuring Phil Vassar

Get your taste-buds ready! The 19th Annual Florida Scallop & Music Festival is October 2nd –  3rd at George Core Park along the shores of St. Joseph Bay in Port St. Joe, Florida. In addition to the mouthwatering seafood delicacies, you ears will delight to the dulcet tones of county music superstar, Phil Vassar along with other artists and performers such as Charlie & Dana Black, John King, Amanda Cook, the Bo Spring Band, Koncrete Soul and Buddy Hamm and many more.

There will be craft and artisan vendors, educational exhibits and activities for kids; there will be more than 50 purveyors of fine foods and wares to choose from for all of your culinary and shopping needs.

Of course, you are there for the SCALLOPS! This Florida Gulf treat is only available for a short season Fresh Scallopseach year. As a result, any opportunity for gluttony is welcome by the initiated and the soon to be initiated alike! Enjoy scallops prepared by true experts in the creation of sumptuous scallop dishes. You are guaranteed to leave hardly being able to wait for NEXT year’s festival! Enjoy other unique and delicious seafood and non-seafood fare.

The BEST part of this entire event is the price. General admission is only $5 on Friday and Saturday until 5pm. After 5pm it’s $10. Kids under 6 and active military personnel are FREE! Evening tickets include admission to all concerts. What a bargain for so much yummy food, fun and MUSIC!

 

catfish swimming

What Is Going On Along The Florida Gulf Coast In September? Lots!

Yes it is true. Summer is rounding the far turn and getting ready to become a memory. Do not despair! The sun is still bright, the sand is soft as ever and the water is still clear and inviting in Cape San Blas and all along the Florida Gulf Coast and there is still a lot of fun to be had!

triathletes running into waterSeptember 12th brings the Beach Blast Triathlon and Duathlon. Join athletes from all over the world as they bike and run along the gorgeous beaches of St. Joe and Beacon Hill and swim in the warm Gulf waters. Whether you are an extreme athlete, a casual competitor or someone who simply wants to cheer for those crazy enough to try this extreme event, come on out to Veteran’s Memorial Park in Port St. Joe for this popular and renowned competition.

There are still several Saturdays remaining of the Saltair Farmer’s Market in City Commons Park in Port St. Joe. Grab your big shopping bags and enjoy a lovely morning stroll  in downtown Port St. Joe as you shop for the freshest local produce, unique regional vegetables, artisan baked goods, meats and cheeses and fresh out of the water seafood this Saturday and the first and third Saturdays of every month through November.

Looking for a truly unique experience? The Curtis Anders Memorial Florida Catfish Classic is on September 25th and 26th at Gaskin Park Landing in Wewahitchka (try saying that 3 times fast!) There is even a Kids Classic for acatfish swimmingspiring young catfisher-men/women under 14. Test out your skills against these wily Gulf Shore creatures and see if you have the whiskers to take them on!

Maybe you’re into fishing for something a little more, um, RelaxingontheBeachtraditional. The Gulf County Sheriff’s Office Annual Bass Tournament runs September 26th-27th this year in Port St. Joe. Anglers from all over come to try out their skills at this annual catch and release tournament.

Early fall is the perfect time to visit the Florida Gulf Coast. Enjoy one of our Florida Gulf Cost beach homes and forget that winter is coming your way as you relax on the beach. Check our last minute specials and enjoy the smaller crowds and perfect weather today!

Fresh Scallops

Let’s Go Scalloping!

scallop shellsLooking for a late summer adventure the entire family can enjoy along our beautiful Florida Gulf Coast? Try scalloping!

Some of the best scalloping in the world can be found in St. Joe’sBay. Visitors come from all over the world to try their hand at this relatively easy to master sport. Scalloping is seasonal; the season runs from July 1st – September 10th. During this time, the tasty morsels are plentiful.

What is a scallop you ask? According to Wikipedia, a scallop is an edible bivalve mollusk with a ribbed fan-shaped shell. Scallops swim by rapidly opening and closing the shell valves.  Scallops have fan-live scallopshaped shells, often with ridges which are frequently what comes to most peoples’ minds when they think “seashell.” Many say that scallops have a “sweet,” instead of a “fishy” flavor, and when prepared properly are tender and moist.

Here are some basic rules and guidelines for scalloping:

  • The best method for scalloping is to use a snorkel mask and fins, but you can still find lots of great scallops by simply wading near areas with plentiful sea-grass. Scallops do swim, so be prepared to chase them down once you spot them. They are not terribly fast.
  • A Florida saltwater fishing license is required to harvest bay scallops for those ages 16-65.
  • Recreational scallopers on foot are limited to two gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or one pint of bay scallop meat, per day.
  • Aboard a boat or other vessel, scallopers may have no more than 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or a half-gallon of bay scallop meat, at any time AND the daily bag limit per person still applies. (e.g If there are two people on a boat there can be no more than four gallons, however, if there are five or more person there can be no more than ten gallons.)
  • Bay scallops are only to be harvested or with a landing or dip net and may not be harvested for commercial purposes.
  • Whether snorkeling from a boat or wading for scallops, a dive flag is required.

snorkel gearYou can find out loads of information here.

The equipment needed to scallop successfully is fairly minimal. You will need a mesh-type of bag for collecting scallops, an ice chest for storing freshly caught scallops, a scallop knife and neoprene or other water shoes that will stay on your feet. Licenses and supplies are available at local outfitters up and down the bay.

To make scallops easier to open, place them on ice just prior just to cleaning, which encourages the muscle that holds the shells together to relax. A knife, or even cooked scallopsa teaspoon, is usually all that is needed to open the shells. Cut the white muscle free while discarding the shells and unwanted soft parts.

Here are eight easy to prepare scallop recipes to help you enjoy your fresh harvest.

Don’t miss out on scallop season. Visit us today and find the perfect Florida Coastal vacation rental to serve as home base for your scallop adventure!