Gone Fishing

Are you ready for the 2018 scallop season? Fishing, Shucking, and Dining on the Delicacy

It’s almost scallop season again! I would like to think that most of you already know what a scallop is, but just in case you don’t…scallops are edible mollusks that make pretty shells that might just be some of the most delectable treats the ocean has to offer.

This year’s scallop season in Gulf County, FL is between August 17th – Sept. 31. Never scalloped before? Not to worry, scallop fishing isn’t all that dangerous as they mostly just sit inside their shells all day while resting in a bed of sand. Sure, you can go snorkeling from the shore or head out on a boat to get your scallops but there are easier ways to do it too! In some places, there’s shallow water that you can simply walk through making it totally accessible and fun for the whole family.

Ok, I’m interested. So, what exactly do I need to go scallop fishing?

  1. A Florida State Saltwater Fishing License is required if you are planning to use a mask and snorkel. You can buy one online with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at or pick one up while you’re here in Cape San Blas over at Scallop Cove.
  2. A regulation dive flag is required when heading out fishing. It’s for safety and simply lets boats know where you are. Again, you can easily pick one up here.
  3. A mesh bag to store all your catch. Yep, find ’em here.

Options:

  • Snorkel gear (recommended)
  • Transportation (if desired)
    • By Boat
    • Stand-Up Paddleboards or Kayaks which we include FREE with rentals and are delivered right to your front door through our Beach Gear Included program.

A good place to start looking for scallops is out in the seagrass. You can often find them lying on top in plain sight. Once taken out of the water, they should be refrigerated to keep cool and fresh. Please be responsible – pay attention to daily quotas and don’t go over the limit.

Being a mollusk does have some upside. They’ve got really hard shells to protect themselves from predators. Fortunately for us, we have opposable thumbs and really sharp knives. These two indispensable tools are what provide us with the ability to shuck.

Shucking? Like shucking an ear of corn?

Well, sort of, only much harder and maybe a bit more dangerous. Follow this basic outline and you’ll be shucking in no time –

  1. Insert shucking knife into the hinge
  2. Twist the knife to pop open the shell
  3. Run your knife along the inside edge to separate it from the meat
  4. Remove the meat from the shell with the edge of your knife
  5. Separate scallop with fingers and rinse with water

Good work, you’ve caught and shucked a bounty of scallops. So, what next? Time to get busy in the kitchen of course! Doing an online search for “best fresh scallop recipes ever” ought to return more than a few results. Missing any key ingredients needed to prepare your dream dish (think butter, garlic, and lemon)? Not to worry, we can call our friends at Getaway Groceries to pack and deliver all your groceries. Alternatively, you can call them at 844-867-5310 or visit their website and let them do the work for you!

How to Unwind in Cape San Blas

How to Unwind in Cape San Blas

Time to unwind? So, just where exactly is Cape San Blas again?

Located near Port St. Joe and linked to the Florida panhandle by a tiny sliver of land, Cape San Blas is home to some of the most scenic and peaceful beaches in the state including those at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. The area’s unique geography provides for both relaxation and recreation opportunities in one of the most beautiful locations the Gulf Coast has to offer. While Cape San Blas might not have the restaurants and nightlife of Panama City, what it does offer is a myriad of ways to kick back, enjoy nature, and unwind.

Nature Trails

No matter what the weather is doing, there’s no shortage of things to do. The neighboring state park a peaceful place with lots of wildlife. The narrow peninsula separates the Gulf from the bay and is a great beach to walk while watching eagles fish. With nature trails like St. Joseph Bay Trail and Maritime forest trail ranging from under 1 mile in length to the spectacular 14-mile-long Wilderness Preserve Trail which explores the more remote and deserted beaches of the park.

Free Rental Equipment Delivered to Your Door!

No need to go out looking for the gear you need to do the activities you want. If you’re staying with one of our participating properties, just let us know what gear you want and we’ll deliver it right to your door! Our Beach Gear Included program offers all of the following:

  • Beach Cruisers
  • SUPS
  • Kayaks
  • Beach Chairs
  • Beach Carts

Too hot sun? Had enough of the beach? Consider a dip in the pool or playing some board games to escape the mid-day heat. Interested in a trip to the spa? How about calling A Day Away Spa Services or Spa Pur to help with some rest and relaxation?

Free Activity Offerings

Do you know about our Family Fun Pass? Enjoy unlimited free movie rentals every day of your stay and FREE access to horseback rides, St. Joseph Bay Golf Course, and deep sea fishing.

How about Dining?

Feel like cooking an amazing meal? We can call our friends at Getaway Groceries to have to pack and deliver all your groceries. Alternatively, you can call them at 844-867-5310 or visit their website and let them do the work for you!

Like eating out? Head to Port St. Joe and take your pick from a wide array of places to dine. While you’re there, come to see the iconic Cape San Blas lighthouse Thursday through Saturday, 11:00 pm EST to 6:00 pm EST. And yes, you can climb it!

Eco Tour Florida

Amazing Eco Tours on the Dead Lakes, Florida

When you think of Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe,  Mexico Beach Florida or anywhere along the Gulf Coast, you picture beautiful beaches, white sands and the sound of waves rolling in.  Did you know there is a whole different kind of beauty that can be found less than an hour inland?  It’s called the Dead Lakes near Wewahitchka.  The Dead Lakes are fed by the Chipola River and eventually empty into the Apachiciola River.

The Dead Lakes were formed when a dam across the Chipola River caused the hydrology of the area to change, and many of the cypress and tupelo trees died.  Today, the area is full of life and offers great fishing, bird watching, and scenic kayaking and boating.  Photographers, adventurers and nature enthusiasts love to visit the unique and picturesque Dead Lakes.

Dead_Lakes_Florida_Eco_Tour

Our friends at Off the Map Expeditions, offer guided kayak tours and pontoon boat tours of the Dead Lakes.  Kayak tours can be customized for your group and suitable for beginners or seasoned paddlers.  The pontoon boat tours allow your group to sit back, relax and just enjoy the scenery around you while the knowledgeable captain speaks about local flora, fauna, and history.

This spring, we have partnered with Off the Map Expeditions to offer our adventurous or nature loving guests the opportunity to enjoy an eco tour* for 15% off!  To enjoy this special offer, call our reservations team directly at and we will assist you in scheduling your discounted tour.

Browse our collection of Florida Gulf Shore vacation homes and begin planning your adventure today!

Cape San Blas Holiday Vacations

Holidays in Cape San Blas,FL

Cape San Blas, Florida is a perfect place to getaway for the holidays.  Enjoy warm temperatures, sometimes hovering around 70 degrees and uncrowded quiet beaches.  Visitors who stay with Pristine Properties can explore Case San Blas by land or sea with complimentary beach gear, including kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and beach cruisers, that can be delivered to your home upon your arrival.

Gulf County Holiday Events include:

  • SaltAir Christmas Farmers’ Market – December 2, 2017
  • Christmas on the Coast Parade – December 9, 2017
  • 8th Annual Jingle Bell Golf Tournament – December 9, 2017
  • Get In The Spirits Christmas Crawl – Merchants Open House – December 16, 2017
  • New Year’s Eve Celebrate Twice – December 31, 2017

Don’t miss your opportunity to experience fun holiday events, including the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s twice!  Start in the Eastern Time Zone in Port St. Joe and then travel west just five minutes to Mexico Beach and celebrate again in the Central Time Zone.

Treat yourself or the whole family to a holiday beach vacation in Florida’s Gulf Coast!  Even better, take advantage of Cape San Blas Vacation Rental Specials including our End of Year Sale and stay 4 nights for the price of 3 through December 31, 2017!

 

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.