This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Visit Gulf County. All opinions are 100% mine.
I just returned from an epic family road trip to Gulf County Florida. My father ended up having to work so my aunt Michy came along with my mother and I. We wish my father could have made it but this turned out to be the best girls trip ever! In fact, we enjoyed it so much that I am considering moving there or purchasing a summer home. Gulf County, FL has captured my heart!
The first thing we did was stop by Coastal Joe Vacation Rentals on Cape San Blas to pick up keys to our accommodations for the next three nights. The office staff is full of the sweetest people and we were quickly all set with keys and maps in hand. We also went to the Scallop Cove General Store next door to grab groceries for dinner and the staff was so kind and had fun chatting with us. It was not the typical store experience at all so by this point we knew we were in a special place. Next we made our way to Beachy Keen, a spacious vacation rental home in Indian Pass. Situated right across from the beach and a community pool, is a cute yellow home full of surprises. From outside the property you would never guess it is so large inside. Beachy Keen boasts 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 screened porches, kitchen, living and dining room, laundry room, deck off the master bedroom plus a loft and open deck on the third floor. Vacation home perfection!
The next morning we were all in for a new adventure. We went kayaking for the first time! We had a half day rental at Happy Ours Kayak & Bike Outpost on Cape San Blas. Debbie, the awesome owner, gave us such a warm welcome. Happy Ours has been open since January 1, 2000 and Debbie’s husband Dan built much of the property. Aside from kayaks and bikes, you can also rent other items you may want but have forgotten such as water shoes, snorkel gear, and more. After Joel talked us through Kayaking 101, we put on our life vests, hopped in our kayaks and headed out.
I went solo and my mom and aunt partnered up in a tandem. The water of St. Joseph Bay is shallow even in a mile out so you can actually hop out and stand in the water. The kayaks are very sturdy and well maintained. Once you get in you will feel extremely safe. If you’re a first timer, have no worries and just enjoy yourself. Not being a strong swimmer, I was both nervous and excited beforehand but the moment I got out on the bay I was immediately taken by the tranquil nature surrounding me. There were moments I would stop paddling just to sit and appreciate the beauty of where I was. I think my main concern was if my 56 year old mom would enjoy the experience. Well she absolutely loved it and wants to go again! Kayaking is definitely our new favorite thing.
Before leaving Happy Ours we made friends with the horse, donkey and chickens that live there. They are part of Debbie and Dan’s family and we can see why. They are so sweet and playful. I immediately adored Roxy because I love horses. There is even a cute little lizard that lives in a tree by the water. On our way out a few locals dropped by to say hello to Debbie. They introduced themselves and one of them, Melissa, happened to work at the fire department. We ended up staying an extra 20 minutes chatting with everyone and Melissa suggested we grab lunch down the road at Cone Heads and ask for Denny.
Melissa was absolutely right because Cone Heads Sandbar, Grill & Ice Cream is great and Denny is a complete sweetheart! We asked him where we should spend the rest of our day and he told us to go to the end of the street to the park for snorkeling and fun on the beach. We headed straight there and when we arrived I screamed with excitement. Because of the Gulf County Adventure Guide I already knew before hitting the road that I wanted to visit St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. That just happened to be the exact place Denny recommended! This place is wonderful and I feel we were there at the perfect time in the late afternoon and early evening. It wasn’t crowded, it wasn’t too hot and the beach area of the park was the perfect way to unwind from the adventures of the day.
On our way home we stopped for gas and met a local police officer who chatted with us a bit. After we told him how much we were loving the town, he gave us his card and told us it would be great to have us join the community. This is the normal in Gulf County, FL. The locals wave as they drive by, say hello, love to chat and want to know if you need anything. It is wonderful!
On Sunday we headed into town to visit Port St. Joe Marina after getting advice from Gulf County concierge about where I could snap tons of photos of boats for my father. I practically grew up on a boat, in fact the last few years is the only time I recall my father not owning one. We simply couldn’t be in an area like this and leave without boat pictures for him! You can rent boats, paddle boards and kayaks at the marina as well as go on eco tours, sunset cruises and diving with Seahorse Water Safaris. After exploring and taking photos, we decided to grab a bite to eat at Dockside Seafood & Raw Bar. We will never forget the view at the marina while enjoying a delicious meal. By the way, Dockside will cook your catch! Seriously, it’s on the menu.
I wanted to stop by the Cape San Blas lighthouse even though it was not open for the day. I am quite obsessed with lighthouses so I wanted to see it anyway knowing this was the last full day of our trip. Due to erosion this lighthouse, built over 130 years ago, was safely moved from Cape San Blas over to it’s new home in Port Saint Joe at George Core Park in 2004. I can’t wait to climb this gem during my next visit!
Afterward we did a bit of shopping before wandering. Mom and I like to “get lost” which is our version of roaming without a plan at least once per trip to see what we find. With our map of Gulf County, FL in hand we picked a direction and drove. We ended up at Windmark Beach. It turned out this was more than a beach. There is a beautiful community with condos, shops and trails for walking and biking.
We wanted to reach Mexico Beach shown on the map but it was getting late so we headed back to our vacation rental to take a dip in the pool, eat dinner and relax on the sundeck before it was time to start packing for our departure the next morning. Speaking of the next morning, we did not want to leave the Beachy Keen rental home. With a view like this can you blame us?
After returning our rental home keys we planned on jumping straight into our nearly 6 hour drive home but we pulled over to The Stump Hole by the rock wall on Cape San Blas. It was the perfect place to reflect on our days in Gulf County, FL and say our temporary goodbyes to this beautiful place.
I highly encourage you all to plan a trip to Gulf County, FL whether it be for a few days, a week or more! The Gulf County concierge and Adventure Guide can help you make the most of your time. While you’re at it enter the Never Have I Ever Contest for a chance to win a week-long getaway! You can literally reach water, wildlife and adventure within 15 minutes from any point in the area. Simply driving through Gulf County is scenic view upon scenic view. During my next visit I plan to visit Blacks Island, climb all the lighthouses, ride horses on the beach, learn to fish and so much more! Of course I’ll also go kayaking again because an experience in Gulf County is never the same twice since these adventures are nature based. This is the perfect place for family and friends to visit and the prime season continues after summer. During our long weekend we explored, we relaxed and we fell in love with this community. We made friends here. We pushed ourselves to new exciting limits here. We bonded with each other here. The memories we made in Gulf County, FL will never be forgotten.