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Florida Beaches Guide - St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge

Barrier Island in the Gulf of St. Mexico, offshore of Apalachicola River

Admit it. You booked a tour of Thailand after Leonardo DiCaprio stole your heart in The Beach. Still having DiCaprio dreams? Get your nature-loving self to the sandy shores, St. Vincent and continue on.

St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge is a secluded barrier island that shelters and protects a wide variety of endangered and threatened species. It's home to bald eagles, sea turtles, gopher tortoises, indigo snakes, American St. Vincent Wildlife RefugeSt. Vincent Wildlife Refugealligators and red wolves. And since St. Vincent is just off the coast of Apalachicola, you'll need a boat to get there - which cuts down on pesky tourists. The Apalachicola Chamber of Commerce provides free boat rides to the Refuge though.

Accommodations: Give your outdoorsy-self some excitement with a campsite and even hunting on the island. If you're not into hunting, enjoy one of Apalachicola's quaint B&B's or cozy cottages.

St. Vincent Local Activities: St. Vincent offers hunting, fishing, many hiking trails, nature photography, educational displays and wildlife observation. Boating is also a popular activity, but be wary of winds, currents and sudden storms.

St. Vincent Area Attractions: New seasons bring new attractions at St. Vincent. Spring features ospreys nesting around the lakes. In the summer, it's loggerhead turtles laying their eggs along the beach shore. See the Peregrine Falcons in fall and watch the alligators soak up the sun in the winter months.

St. Vincent Area Events:

  • National Wildlife Refuge Week Tour (October): Features how the preservation and recovery of wildlife is maintained.
  • Primitive Weapons Deer Hunting (October - January): Sambar and white-tailed deer, controlled by strict rules and regulations.

St. Vincent Nightlife: Nightlife in St. Vincent and Apalachicola is as primitive as the island - no surprise. If you're desperate for some culture though, catch a show at the Dixie Theatre in downtown Apalachicola.

St. Vincent Weather: St. Vincent is very sensitive to harsh storms and has a hurricane season that lasts from June through November. Summers are very hot, reaching average temperatures well over 83F. Winters are milder, reaching lows of 52F.

St. Vincent Facilities: There are no facilities on St. Vincent.

Beach Fees: The Apalachicola Chamber of Commerce provides free boat rides to the island.

For more information or help planning your next Florida getaway, visit the Apalachicola Chamber of Commerce.

Love Florida beaches? See all Florida beaches in our guide:

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I am a female USFWS volunteer on SVNWR. Most importantly, there is no camping permitted on the island unless you are a registered hunter during one of our three organized hunts (women do participate in these!). Also, to my knowledge, neither the Chamber of Commerce, nor anyone else, provides free boat access to the island, EXCEPT during the two Spring and Fall Open House days that you mention. Monthly tours are offered by the local Supporters group for a small fee. Advance reservations are required (850) 653-3904. Bird, butterfly, wildlife and wildflower watching and photography are TOPS here, once you do get across. A mountain bike or kayak for getting around is great, too. Interesting exhibits are on display at the refuge office in Apalachicola, FL. Blow their minds, and tell them that red wolf #982 (our island alpha female) sent you. Go to: http://st.vincentvolunteers.googlepages.com for more info; or, we have a flicker photo site on the web at: http://flickr.com/photos/stvincentvolunteers/sets/ Come and visit this unique freshwater barrier island in Florida, that is primarily overseen by female staff and volunteers!

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