Top Things You Can't Miss in Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, & Mexico Beach

Nestled on the Florida Panhandle, Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach are among the best beach holiday destinations in the United States.

Sitting on the so-called Forgotten Coast, these three seaside communities are close to Saint Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, providing access to breathtaking natural beauty and incredible outdoor activities.

Wherever you go, there will always be a stunning and quiet stretch of sand to unwind on and the opportunity to engage in fantastic water activities. But that's not all; the Forgotten Coast is also home to great historical gems for you to learn more about the region and see it with refreshed eyes.

First time traveling to the Forgotten Coast? We've got you covered with a well curated list of the top things you can't miss in Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach.

Are you ready to discover the Forgotten Coast's magical sand-scapes? Let's dig right into it!

Top Things You Can't Miss in Cape San Blas, FL

1. Discover beaches and wildlife at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

The number one thing to do when traveling to the Forgotten Coast is to reach its pristine beaches. Whether you're more active and want to engage in several water activities like kayaking, fishing, and paddleboarding, or just lounge on the white sands reading a book and admiring the crystal-clear waters, St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is the perfect spot in the region.

This incredible state park, stretching 20 miles into the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is not only known for its stunning beaches and beautiful sand dunes but also for being a wildlife sanctuary. From different species of birds to sea turtles and the endangered St. Andrews beach mouse, one of the highlights of St. Joseph Peninsula is exploring its trails and spotting these wonderful creatures. Sunsets here are unmissable, too.

Note: St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is easily reached from Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach. From Cape San Blas, it's just an 18-minute drive, while from Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach, it's a 31-minute and 47-minute drive, respectively.

2. Find a private stretch of sand at Cape Palms Park

Along the Gulf of Mexico shore of the St. Joseph Peninsula, Cape Palms Park is home to uncrowded sands and a dream-like stretch of beach for you and your entire family to enjoy Florida's sunny weather.

If you have kids in tow, the clear blue waters are great for swimming thanks to a sandbar offshore keeping the wave action down. You can also explore the rich wildlife and spot ghost crabs, hermit crabs, gulls, and gorgeous pelicans. When soaking in the sea views, keep your eyes open since it's not uncommon to spot dolphins jumping on the horizon. Beachcombing is also a popular activity since you can find lovely shells along the beach.

Adding to the fun and convenience of your visit, the park has a covered pavilion, picnic tables, grills, a playground, and clean bathrooms and showers. Cape Palms Park is also pet-friendly. If you are traveling with your furry companion, this is the ideal place for you and your best friend to enjoy one of Florida's most unspoiled sceneries together.

3. Create unforgettable memories with Broke-a-Toe Horseback Riding on the Beach

Believe us, this is truly an unmissable activity in Cape San Blas. Broke-A-Toe horseback riding excursions on the gorgeous coastline of Cape San Blas are one of the most family-friendly attractions in the region offering a great opportunity to soak in the mesmerizing seascape in a different way.

Broke-A-Toe has been operating for more than 20 years, providing extremely professional guides and instructors, gentle and friendly horses, and unique experiences. The riding experience is catered to people of all ages and all levels. They include a brief lesson covering mounting and dismounting, and the rest of the time is for you to enjoy unbeatable views on horseback.

A great standout from Broke-A-Toe rides is that, unlike most horseback riding tours, family members are allowed to ride alongside each other — it truly makes the experience more magical.

Speaking of magic, here's a tip: book a sunset tour and experience the dusk hours in a completely different way. While you ride, keep your eyes peeled to the sea since you can see dolphins jumping in the water.

Extra tip: Broke-A-Toe also offers see-through canoe guided tours and photo packages of your horseback ride. If you want to plan in advance, they also accept online bookings.

Top Things You Can't Miss in Port St. Joe, FL

4. Learn the history of Cape San Blas Lighthouse

Dating back to the early 1900s, the Cape San Blas Lighthouse is actually located in the town of St. Joe, as it was moved from its original location after being damaged several times by storms, hurricanes, and erosion. Considered a National Historic Site, the lighthouse is an incredible example of resilience and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the region.

Climb the winding spiral staircase to the top of the tower and indulge in dazzling views of the Gulf waters and of the park where the lighthouse is located, boasting lush fields, woodlands, and scenic ponds. Make sure to explore the grounds where you'll also find the charming historic keepers' quarters and experience a serene atmosphere where you can relax and immerse yourself in a time-gone-by feel.

Golden tip: Visit the visitor's center and ask for the Full Moon Climbs schedule. Climbing to the top of the lighthouse on a full moon night is simply a memorable experience!

5. Stroll along Downtown Port St. Joe

After engaging in many outdoor activities and experiencing the breathtaking natural beauty of the Forgotten Coast, all you need is a good place to eat, grab a refreshing drink and recharge your energy.

Along the charming Reid Avenue and the nearby streets you'll find great local gems where you can have a pleasant meal before continuing your exploration. Some great options include Uptown Raw Bar & Grill, The BrickWall Sports Bar & Grille, and The Joe In Port Saint Joe Coffee Shop — all offering good food, beverages, and friendly southern hospitality.

You can also engage in some shopping therapy visiting the sidewalk gift, antique, and clothing shops. Here are the locals favs: Joseph's Cottage, Go Fish Clothing & Jewelry Company, Boutique By the Bay, No Name Books & Gifts.

6. Get acquainted with local history at Constitution Convention Museum State Park

Port St. Joe is known as "The Constitution City" because, in 1838, Florida's first constitution was drafted here when it was still called St. Joseph. For a greater understanding of the local history, a visit to the Constitution Convention Museum is a must.

The museum displays artifacts from early Port St. Joe and the Florida State Constitutional Convention, as well as a replicated convention hall transporting visitors back in time. This life-size replica features audio-animated mannequins, allowing visitors to experience a realistic demonstration of the convention debates and the process of drafting the constitution. The professional guides can provide extra information and tell interesting stories that will enhance your visit.

7. Find more magical seascapes on St. Joe Beach

Just a short drive from downtown Port St. Joe, St. Joe Beach is another excellent beach for swimming, sunbathing, and soaking in the natural splendor of the Forgotten Coast.

The beaches are covered with shells, making it a fantastic spot for beachcombing. Also, since the shoreline faces west, you're assured of spectacular sunsets. Another great advantage is that St. Joe Beach is close to great seafood restaurants where you can savor fresh coastal flavors just a few steps from the sea.

Near to St. Joe Beach is Windmark Beach, where you can explore miles of paved walking and biking trails along the water. Nearby you'll also find the Gulf County Veterans Memorial Park at Beacon Hill, boasting stunning panoramic views, vast lawns, and a pavilion with picnic tables.

Top Things You Can't Miss in Mexico Beach, FL

8. Walk on a geological marvel on Mexico Beach

Yes, Mexico Beach boasts all the qualities you expect to find on beaches along the Forgotten Coast, but there's something about this beach that is truly exceptional. The pristine shores of Mexico Beach are made of pure, evenly-sized quartz crystals—a true geological marvel.

These sugar-like sands are also very reflective, which keeps the beach cool even during the hot summer months. Swimming in the cool and transparent turquoise waters, as well as snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding, are must-do activities while on Mexico Beach. Since the shore is vast, you can always find a tranquil spot to enjoy the scenery in privacy, even during busy months. Sand dunes covered in sea oats and other native vegetation protect the coastline and make it even more beautiful.

Wildlife lovers can spot seabirds, crabs, and occasionally dolphins offshore. The area is also known for being a sea turtle nesting spot during certain times of the year.

9. Explore the underwater world

Mexico Beach holds the title of the "Artificial Reef Capital of the World" thanks to the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association, which has created over 1,000 patch reefs offshore. You know what that means, right? Superb diving opportunities!

Since the 1970s, MBARA has been intentionally submerging ships, barges, and other structures to establish a thriving artificial reef system. These reefs attract a wide variety of marine life and fish that you can explore.

There are fantastic dive sites offshore, including historic wreck sites, industrial junk, concrete rubble, and prefabricated concrete and limestone artificial reefs—all home to colorful and captivating aquatic life.

10. Experience Florida's Forgotten Coast like a local

Swap out the cookie-cutter hotel room for a vacation rental bursting with personality. Picture yourself in a cozy beach cottage adorned with a porch swing, or perhaps a waterfront condo boasting breathtaking views. These accommodations embody the essence of the local community, offering an authentic experience you won't find elsewhere. Plus, with a kitchen at your disposal, you can whip up delicious meals using fresh ingredients sourced from nearby farmers' markets or local seafood straight from the docks.

The beauty of staying in these rentals is that the owners are often locals themselves, eager to share their insider knowledge. They can point you to hidden gems like secluded shelling beaches, picturesque kayaking spots, or secret sunset viewpoints that only the locals know about. With their invaluable tips, you'll discover the area beyond the typical tourist attractions, creating memories that truly capture the essence of the forgotten coast.

Top Things You Can't Miss in Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, & Mexico Beach

The Forgotten Coast is full of surprises. While you explore these unmissable spots we just mentioned above, chances are you'll find new places boasting the quintessential tranquility and beauty of this Florida gem. If you do, don't forget to tell us about them!

Looking for more tips on Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach? Check out our local destination blog. We've covered everything from the best places for a night out to where to take your furry friends and where to grab the best cup of coffee in town. There's always more on the way, so keep your eyes peeled for new blogs!

In addition to our blog, we've also included tips and suggestions on what to bring on your trip, some information on local weather, as well as on wildlife ordinances and regulations.

Where to stay when visiting Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, & Mexico Beach?

Stay like a local by booking a vacation rental with Pristine Properties. We are proud to offer a selection of Cape San Blas Vacation Rentals, Port St. Joe Vacation Rentals, and Mexico Beach Florida Vacation Rentals. are well-located, just steps away from beautiful beaches, great dining options, and an array of outdoor pursuits. That's the secret to a perfect holiday on the Florida Gulf Coast!are well-located, just steps away from beautiful beaches, great dining options, and an array of outdoor pursuits. That's the secret to a perfect holiday on the Florida Gulf Coast!

Our properties are well-located, just steps away from beautiful beaches, great dining options, and an array of outdoor pursuits. That's the secret to a perfect holiday on the Florida Gulf Coast!

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