St. George Island is located roughly about 75 miles west of Tallahassee. It is the largest of four barrier islands located on the Gulf of Mexico. The Island distribution is approximately 30 miles in length and at its highest point is 12 feet above sea level. The island is home to nearly 900 full time residents and thousands of seasonal visitors and guest. Vistors may choose from several types of accommodations ranging from luxury single-family homes that sleep as many as twenty to small motels for a quick weekend getaway.
Primarily known for its undisturbed environment the Island is one of the last unspoiled sea islands in Florida. St. George has a colorful history that is as interesting as the unspoiled riches. The island was first inhabited by the Creek Indians between the 10th and 15th centuries. The arrival of European colonists to the area in the late 1700's was followed by an intense struggle for control. In 1803, the Creek Indians ceded a large tract of land, which included St. George Island, to trader John Forbes and Company, known as the 'Forbes Grant.' Bob Sike’s Cut separates St. George and Little St. George Islands. It was cut to provide Apalachicola fishing fleets and other vessels access to the Gulf from Apalachicola Bay. During the first half of the 1900s, the Island’s pine forest was turpentined. St. George also was the location for numerous training exercises by troops from bases located on the adjacent mainland during World War II.
Neighboring Little St. George Island, located just west of St. George Island has a colorful history full of lighthouses. The first lighthouse on Cape St. George was built in 1833 until the 65-foot tall light was destroyed by storms in 1846. A second light, completed in 1848, was about 75 feet tall and made using materials from the 1833 lighthouse. It lasted three years, until it was flattened by a hurricane in August of 1851, which also destroyed the Cape San Blas and Dog Island lighthouses. The third and final light was completed in 1852. The third lighthouse stood for153 years until hurricanes, wars, and erosion collapsed it on October 21, 2005. Since then, The St. George Lighthouse Association, established in 2004 has worked with the State of Florida DEP to salvage the pieces of the fallen light. The goal is to eventually rebuild the light on safer ground where it can be visited by future generations and live on as an important part of our maritime history.
Development on the island has been primarily single family residential and the beauty of the land is protected in most areas by low -density zoning and strict building codes. Strict building codes require minimum square footages, allows only one single family dwelling per lot and limits height to 35 feet from the first habitable floor elevation (which means no high rises). Additional architectural controls in several areas, particularly St. George Plantation, ensure the integrity of the Island. Spectacular sunsets command the highest land values in the area making St. George Island one the region's most sought after investment opportunities. Use of the beaches for recreation has been the major activity of recent island visitors, especially since the completion of the bridges in 1965. Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park now occupies 1,883 acres at the eastern end of the Island. Other areas of the Island on the bayside and all of Little St. George have also been purchased by the State of Florida, thereby ensuring preservation of their natural state.