Forgotten Coast Area Info

Discover What to Do and See During Your Vacation in Florida's Forgotten Coast


We are delighted that you have selected a vacation home managed by Sunshine Vacation Rentals of the Forgotten Coast for your vacation retreat! Whether you are looking to relax or have a fun filled time fishing, kayaking or sight seeing, we hope you’ll enjoy every minute you are here!

For your convenience, we have prepared this information binder to help make this your home away from home. We sincerely hope you have an enjoyable vacation and if there is anything we can do to make this vacation and future vacations better, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Feel free to send us a text, email or call with any suggestions, questions or concerns you may have.

For housekeeping or maintenance problems, please call or send a text to (850) 899-5666. For future reservations, please visit our website: Thank you again for staying with us and have a great vacation!!


Fishing & Boating

The Forgotten Coast hosts a legendary fishing and boating scene. We've compiled a great list of the best bait shops, marinas, and local charters to help you reel in the perfect days on the water during your Florida vacation.


  • Fishing Licenses: Sold at all bait & tackle shops or can be purchased over the phone at 888-347-4356 or go to

 Check out Forgotten Coast Fishing & Boating

Grocery Stores & Seafood Markets

The local grocery stores and seafood markets along the Forgotten Coast make finding great cooking ingredients a breeze! Cook your own seafood meals right at home in your vacation rental's kitchen using fresh ingredients from our well-stocked shops. 

Check out Forgotten Coast Grocery Stores & Seafood Markets


St. Joseph Bay Country Club Port St. Joe (850) 227-1757 18 hole course









Restaurants Along the Forgotten Coast

Discover some of the best seafood in the country at our many lovely beach towns on Florida's Forgotten Coast. Along with cuisine from the sea, there are many other great dining options to enjoy in each town. 

Check Out Restaurants in Beach Towns on the Forgotten Coast

Bars and Package Stores

Haughty Heron - 111 Sailors Cove Dr, Port St Joe - Phone: (850) 229-3463

Mon - Thurs: 10am - 10pm

Fri - Sat: 10am - 12am

Sun - 10am - 8am


St. Joe Bar & Package - 305 Reid Avenue, Port St. Joe  - Phone: (850) 229-9912

Sun - Thurs: 12pm - 12am

Fri - Sat: 11pm - 2am

The Port Fine Wine & Spirits - 411 Monument Ave, Port St Joe  - Phone (850) 229-2977

Mon - Sun: 10am - 9pm


Port City Axe House -  306 Reid Avenue, Port St. Joe  - Phone: (850)705-1929

Lookout Lounge & Discount Package - 8066 US-98, St. Joe Beach  -Phone: (850) 647-8310

Mon-Sun 11:00am-2:00am


Scallop Republic - 411 Cape San Blas Rd, Cape San Blas - Phone: (850) 227-9009

Tues - Sat: 5pm - 10pm

Closed Sunday and Monday


Mexico Beach Wine & Spirits - 900 Hwy 98, Mexico Beach, FL - Phone: (404) 293-7730

Bowery Station - 131 Commerce Street, Apalachicola - Phone: (850) 653-2211

Live Music - Weds - Sun: 2pm - 9pm


The Tap Room of Owl Cafe  - 71 Commerce Street, Apalachicola - Phone: (850) 653-1910

Mon - Fri: 4pm - 11pm; Sat: 12pm - 12am

Sun: 4pm - 10pm

Oyster City Brewing Company - 17 Ave D, Apalachicola - Phone: (850) 653-2739

Sun - Thurs: 12pm - 7pm

Fri - Sat: 12pm -


Welcometo Port St. Joe & surrounding area

Port St. Joe:

Port St. Joe truly is a "small town with a big heart," the nickname that its residents have adopted. Founded on a spot of profound natural beauty along northwest Florida's upper Gulf Coast and on one of the state's most historic sites, Port St. Joe and its 3,500 residents greet visitors with a wide variety of activities and graceful, welcoming smiles. This place is a chorus of "Good morning" and "Good evening," of homecoming parades and Friday night lights, of "Yes, ma'am" and "Y'all come back real soon." Formerly a bustling port along North Florida’s Emerald Coast, Port St. Joe now welcomes visitors looking for a restful respite. Port St. Joe's postcard-perfect surroundings invite lounging on a soft, white-sand dune beach, snorkeling in the Gulf of Mexico, fishing, and dining at a rustic fish shack. Also available in Port St. Joe: an educational, even inspirational, glimpse of some of the state’s earliest history. A compact, easily walkable downtown of gift and antique shops, bistros, vest-pocket parks, and wide greenways. And don't forget some of the nation's most luscious seafood.


Cape San Blas:

Now, it's time to leave Port St. Joe proper, at least for the day, and head to what the locals call Cape San Blas park, more formally known as the T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, fishing, bird watching and explorations of 1,900 acres of wilderness. It's all here, as are miles upon miles of northwest Florida's famed sugar-white sand. You will not find crowded beaches here; take as much space with as much buffer as you like. You will see some of the highest sand dunes in the continental United States, and you can hike along two nature trails, or relax under the trees at shady picnic areas. Overall, this is one of Florida's premier state parks, only 16 miles and less than a half hour from downtown Port St. Joe, and is not to be missed. Enjoy the peace, the tranquility. It goes part and parcel with the entire experience in and around Port St. Joe.


Mexico Beach:

These days, it's hard to find a place where you can truly get away from it all. Well, there is a place where things move at a slower pace, where there are no traffic lights, the sand on the beach is white as snow and the gulf waters are warm and clean. That place is Mexico Beach on Northwest Florida's Gulf Coast. Mexico Beach offers a small-town atmosphere filled with the charm of the Florida Panhandle. Here, the preserved natural beauty of the land and the sea combine to create a spellbinding destination. Shelling, watching the dolphins play at sunset, and dipping into the Gulf of Mexico for a refreshing swim are favorite pastimes for Mexico Beach visitors and locals. Mexico Beach residents are relaxed and cordial, and the local restaurants, with their fabulous menus, provide the perfect setting to meet with family and friends.



A charming fishing town, Apalachicola offers terrific seafood, lovely waterfront parks, enchanting inns, and the opportunity to glimpse the Florida Panhandle's oyster, timber and fishing history from ground level. Within the easy range of Apalachicola, you will find miles of pristine beaches on St. George Island and elsewhere, an endless supply of protected shallow bays, excellent fishing, and acres of national and state forests to explore. Combine all this with some of the finest seafood in the country and some of the nicest people anywhere, and your stay in Apalachicola is sure to be memorable. Apalachicola harvests over 90% of the oysters sold in Florida and 10% of the nationwide supply. Smaller open bay boats, moored or trailered each day, tong for oysters in the many shallow areas of Apalachicola Bay. Fishing vessels displaying proud patinas of years of service line the waterfront and regularly net fresh local shrimp and fish. A diverse selection of acclaimed restaurants feature fresh, local, daily harvested seafood.


Panama City Beach:

Panama City Beach boasts 27 miles of sugar-white sand bordering the clear, turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay. Family attractions, championship golf courses, sporting events, award-winning dining, predictably sunny weather and a vast number of recreational activities draw visitors to this seaside destination annually. For more information, call 850-233-5070 or visit their website



Wewahitchka, or “Wewa”, is the home of the Dead Lakes Park and Recreational area of Florida, which ironically hosts some of the best freshwater fishing in the nation and some of the best hunting in the state. Wewa is one of those quaint cities that help visitors appreciate and discover “Old Florida”. Rich in natural resources, the Dead Lakes were formed years ago, when the waters of the Apalachicola and Chipola Rivers converged on a cypress swamp, flooding the low-lying area. Later, a flood of salt water temporarily replaced the fresh water, killed the cypress trees and left only stumps. These are the basis of the moniker, Dead Lakes. Wewa is also the land of tupelo honey, which was immortalized in a Hollywood film starring Peter Fonda. Today the 80-square mile area is surrounded by farms, timber and exceptional fishing. The uniqueness of the honey from this region is unquestioned – microscopic pollen analysis is possible to determine the source. Tupelo honey is prized for features including its distinct flavor and lack of granulation.


To find local events in the area, please visit:


We love animals in Gulf County and are proud to say we  are truly a pet-friendly destination!

On all Gulf County beaches, except for St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, pets on leashes are more than welcome to take their owners for a walk. Despite the leash law, dogs can still have fun! Be sure to bring a long lead leash so both you and your pets can be active.

To help keep our beautiful beaches clean, there are over 20 pet waste disposal stations with bags and receptacles along the public beach access points.

Within Port St. Joe, pets and their owners can take advantage of the Port City Trail a nearly 4-mile stroll that wanders through our quaint city.

BayWalk Trail meanders from the Port St. Joe Marina to Frank Pate Park boasting beautiful views of St. Joseph Bay. Many vacation rental properties offer pet-friendly accommodations and encourage visitors to bring their pets.

Many of the local shops and even restaurants welcome well-behaved pets on leashes and their owners. The Bow Wow Beach Shop has everything you need to make it a great pet-friendly vacation including accessories and tasty treats. The St. Joseph Bay Humane Society is truly committed to fostering healthy and well-behaved pets. Their commitment to rehabilitating and training lost or abandoned dogs allows for many happy adoptions.

Even the Gulf County Welcome Center is pet-friendly! We invite you (and your pets) to stop on in and say hello!

Helpful Hints:

● Always keep your dog on a leash. You never know what you might run into... and it’s the law.

● Respect children and adults around you who may not be familiar with your pet.

● Never leave your dog in the car. Even with the windows rolled down it’s dangerous and your pet can easily overheat.

● Always keep doggy bags with you. You never know when you will need one.

● Please don’t bury your pet waste... children love to dig in the sand as much as pets.

● Good behavior is always appreciated so please don’t let your dog behave badly.

● When staying in a hotel with your pets, be courteous of other guests. Good manners keep pets welcome.

● When enjoying a walk on one of our trails, keep your dog close and give others the right of way.



Leave No Trace Ordinance - Protect our Shore

Home to more than 28 percent of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle nests, we love and protect these massive, beautiful creatures and we ask that our visitors do as well. Play your part in turtle conservancy by keeping our beaches clean, flat and dark and follow the Leave No Trace Ordinance. At the end of your beach day, please do your part by leaving only your footprints, and remove all trash and beach equipment.

The following information is a highlight of the rules implemented by the Leave No Trace ordinance

● All unattended personal items (chairs, tents, toys, kayaks, etc.) must be removed daily from the beach no later than 1 hour after the published time of sunset and can be placed back on the beach after sunrise the following day.

● All holes created must be filled in prior to leaving the beach each day.

● Overnight camping must not be within 400 feet of any waterfront residence.

● Glass bottles, containers, etc. are prohibited on Gulf County beaches.

● Bonfires are permissible, but must not be within 100 feet of any structure, and all remnants must be extinguished and removed from the beach that same day. All items other than natural wood are prohibited from burning (i.e.-pallets, wood with screws or nails, pressure-treated wood, etc.).

● All trash must be removed from the beach.

● Soliciting and canvassing on the beach is prohibited other than County Administration and Law Enforcement officials.

● It is unlawful to remove sand from Gulf County beaches.

● Per Gulf County Ordinance 2008-20, pets must be on leashes at all times.

● Beach Driving is no longer addressed under Leave No Trace. Click here for more information check our Riding the Beach.


Driving on the Beach

You must purchase a Beach Driving Permit to be able to drive on Gulf beaches. They can be purchased from the Tax Collector's Office and cost $30 per year for Gulf County residents or property owners and $300 per year for non-residents or non-property owners. Night driving on the beach is prohibited. Beach driving is not allowed on all beaches.

When driving on the beach, keep to a slow speed and watch for children and pets. A complete list of the rules and regulations will be given to you when you purchase your permit.

Gulf County Tax Collector Address: 1000 Cecil G Costin Sr #100, Port St Joe, FL 32456 Phone: (850) 229-6116


Time Zones

Port St Joe is in the Eastern Time zone. All of Bay County (Mexico Beach & Panama City) is in the Central Time Zone. The time zone line is County Road 386 between Mexico Beach & St Joe Beach through Wewahitchka to the Apalachicola River. Indian Pass, Cape San Blas, St Joe Beach & St Joe Peninsula are also in the Eastern Time Zone. That’s one crazy time zone line.


Beach Guidelines

Sea oats and sea grasses are protected. It is illegal to remove them from any beach and you should avoid walking on them. In many areas of the Cape, it is also illegal to walk across the dunes. Please use dune walkovers and public beach accesses.

Please remember to take your trash with you when you leave the beach. Do not leave any glass containers, soiled diapers, beer cans or food wrappings. Do not take any live shells from the beach. Also, do not take live sand dollars, starfish or sea horses. If you pick up a sand dollar or starfish and you see the tiny hairs (tentacles) moving, put it back. Jellyfish and Portuguese men-of-war wash up on the beach and can still leave a nasty sting. Do not pick them up or let your children or pets get too close to them.   

Beach Fires, Beach Lights:

Fires are allowed on the beaches providing there is no ban in effect at the time. However, fires are not allowed inside the State Park. Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before you leave for the night and cover the site with sand. Do not light a beach fire close to a marked sea turtle nest as young turtles will hatch and wander towards the light coming from the fire. From May 1 through October 31 is Turtle Season on the Cape beaches. You will need to switch off any outdoor lights facing the beach as they will attract nesting and hatching turtles.   Turtle Nests: Please do not use loungers, chairs or picnic tables or allow pets and children close to a marked nest. Dogs can hear hatchlings and will dig them up. Turtle nests are strictly off-limits. Marked nests will have corner stakes and yellow tape around them and will be covered with a piece of heavy wire. They are protected by Federal law and anyone interfering with the nest, the adults or the hatchlings will be prosecuted.


Important Numbers
  • Ambulance, Fire or Police Emergency 911
  • Affordable Taxi Service (850) 588-2383
  • Apalachicola Bay Animal Clinic (850) 670-8306
  • Bay Medical Center (850) 769-1511
  • Buy Rite Drugs (850) 227-7099
  • CVS Pharmacy (850) 229-8771
  • Dixson & Sons Taxi & Limo Service (850) 227-1303
  • Florida Game & Freshwater Fish Commission (800) 342-1676
  • Florida Highway Patrol (800) 459-6861
  • Florida Poison Control Center (800) 222-1222
  • Gulf County Chamber of Commerce (850) 227-1223
  • Gulf County Emergency Management (850) 227-1115
  • Gulf County Health Department (850) 227-1276
  • Gulf County Marriage License (850) 229-6112
  • Gulf County Public Library (850) 229-8879
  • Gulf County Tax Collector (850) 229-6116
  • Gulf County Sheriff’s Dept (non-emergency) (850) 227-1115
  • Gulf County Tourist Development Council (850) 229-7800
  • Gulf County Welcome Center (850) 482-4853
  • Port St. Joe City Hall (850) 229-8263
  • Sacred Heart Hospital – Port St. Joe (850) 229-5600
  • Sea Tow (850) 227-4049
  • U.S. Coast Guard (850) 234-2475