Family’s favorite beach getaway retaining its charm
Twenty-seven years ago, Paul and I first visited Cape San Blas, Fla. A friend told us the beaches were pristine and secluded and there was little commercialism.
Skeptical, we made the seven-hour trip, feeling we were out in the middle of nowhere soon after we passed Columbus. The verdict? We fell in love with the cape and the surrounding charming towns of Apalachicola and Port St. Joe. We vowed when we had children, we would bring them to Cape San Blas every year.
Our first trip with babies was when our oldest was 2 and our second child was about to turn 1. We also brought my parents on the beach trip, something we continued to do when we ventured back to the beach year after year. When the children were little, we loved to play on the beach for hours, swimming in the Gulf, building massive sand castles, burying Paul in the sand, feeding the sea gulls, taking long walks and fishing. Oh the fishing. How fun it was catching small sharks, pompano, whiting, catfish and even stingray and crabs.
We took our boat to the beach a few times. Although that added to the preparation stress, we had so much fun exploring the bay. Dolphins swam right along with us and watching young children see that sight is truly priceless.
Apalachicola is the oyster capital of America. And there are plenty of raw bars and restaurants in the sleepy town. On a recent trip, we tried a place new to us called Up the Creek. Besides the oysters, we had one of the best tuna tartares. The presentation was as amazing as the dish itself. We even met the young chef who created the dish, T.J. Elliot, who said he was a self-taught cook. Wow. That was impressive.
The cape is remote. It is probably not for those who like vacations that include putt-putt golf, water parks, high rises and fancy dining. There are no fast food restaurants on the cape, and not that many in the neighboring towns either. Grocery stores also are not plentiful.
When we used to come back years ago, there were even fewer grocery stores. I used to bring almost all of our food, giving Paul headaches as he struggled to pack the endless supplies.