There are no high rises, no chain restaurants or hotels, not much of anything. It's a bit off the beaten path, just the way we like it :). If you are looking for beautiful scenery, uncrowded beaches, and plenty of wildlife...this is the place to go. We have seen bald eagles, white tail deer, alligators, raccoons, skunks!, horseshoe crabs, dolphins, various rays, jellies, an assortment of smaller crabs ...I could go on and on. It gives you a little peek at what Old Florida must have been like.
|St. Joe Bay|
Down on the very end of the cape is St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, this is where we usually go. They have 2 camping areas, a day use area with access to the beach and bay, a marina to launch your boat, hiking trails, and some cabins on the bay for rent by the night. We often go down and just spend the day, but recently we decided to get a cabin and stay for 2 days since it's a bit of a drive to get there.
I was surprised at how affordable their cabins are! For less than we usually pay for a hotel room we got an entire house complete with a full kitchen, bathroom, and plenty of beds for our family.
There was a nice walk way leading from our cabin down to the bay. We had barely dropped our bags inside and the kids were ready to go exploring. I was a few steps behind them, so they reached the water before I did. I saw them freeze just before they got to the little strip of sand and start pointing at something.
The sand before them was covered in little fiddler crabs! The kids were so amazed at the sheer quantity of them...and then the crabs started running and I saw the smiles get even bigger :). I had been telling them about these crabs that I remember from my childhood and the sound they make...it's sortof a rustling noise, hard to describe.
|all...the light brownish things are fiddler crabs|
It was fun sharing that experience with my kids. I'm glad they weren't scared of the crabs or creeped out by them. They were just curious and walked slowly, marveling at the wave of little creatures that parted and made a clear path for them.
There were other things to discover along the water's edge...plenty of hermit crabs and small conchs.
|some conch eggs that had washed up on shore|
Tyler found some empty scallop shells. Have you ever tried St. Joe bay scallops? They are SO good! The only way you can get them is to go out in the bay and find them yourself (or have a really good friend that is willing to go get them and share with you), commercial harvesting isn't allowed.
The views were fantastic. It was so quiet and peaceful...
After exploring the bay, it was time to go over to the beach side. We played in the sand and surf until it was nearly dark, then we headed back to our cabin for some food and showers. It was bed time after that, we were all tuckered out.
The next morning, we woke up and did it all again! We met a family at the beach the second day and spent all day hanging out and swimming with them. The kids took turns on the boogie board, rode the floats together, gathered shells, played in the sand...all the usual. We combined all of our food things for a yummy picnic lunch and just enjoyed talking and playing with the kids.
I even learned something new...reapplying regular sunblock every hour or two isn't enough for kids that are swimming and constantly wiping the salt water from their eye area. The majority of their bodies will be protected from sunburn...all except for the area around their eyes. Think red raccoon mask faces... don't ask me how I know this ;)...