8 Tips for First-Time Visitors to Cape San Blas, FL

Cape San Blas is the ultimate Florida beach paradise with white sand, clear water, and a chilled-out vibe. It’s where to go when you want to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Gulf Coast. But, to make the most of your trip, there are some things you need to know. Get the inside scoop from this guide, so you can enjoy the vacation of a lifetime.

1. Pick the Right Timing

Cape San Blas is a year-round vacation destination, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. Spring and fall offer mild temperatures and fewer crowds, while summer brings ample sunshine and warmer waters. In the winter, it’s too cold for swimming, but the beach transforms into a treasure trove for shell collectors.

2. Book Accommodations Early

As a popular vacation spot, accommodations in Cape San Blas can fill up quickly, especially during the summer. In fact, many spots stay booked out months in advance, such as:

  • Turtle Beach Inn
  • Cape San Blas Inn
  • Whispering Pines of Cape San Blas

So, whether you want to stay in a bed and breakfast, beachfront condo, or a cozy cottage, book your accommodations as early as possible. Otherwise, you might get stuck somewhere further from the beach than you’d like.

3. Be Prepared to Unplug

Cell phone service can be spotty in some areas, so be prepared to unplug and relax. A few restaurants and shops offer Wi-Fi, but it’s not guaranteed. Fortunately, that just means it’s the perfect spot to take a break from all the digital noise.

Consider using two-way radios if you need to stay connected with your travel mates. Just make sure they’re waterproof and can float if you plan to go out on a boat any time during your trip.

4. Rent a Golf Cart

Many of the beach access points have limited parking for full-size cars. That’s why renting a golf cart is a great way to get around and explore the area.

You can get your rental from places like:

  • St. Joe Patio
  • Barefoot Kayak & Paddle Board Rentals
  • St. Joe Rent-All

You can book your golf carts by the day, but if you’ll be in town for four days or more, go for a weekly rental for the best rates.  

Golf carts are legal to drive on the street in many areas of Cape San Blas, so you can use them to travel to restaurants and shops. Just remember that you can’t drive them on the beach in the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.

5. Nosh on Fresh Seafood

You can’t visit the Gulf Coast without trying the seafood. And Cape San Blas offers some of the freshest catches around. You can catch and cook up your own feast if you’re a fishing enthusiast.

Otherwise, set your sights on a visit to one of the many popular seafood restaurants in the area, like:

In addition to these restaurants, check out the local seafood markets, where you can buy fresh catches to cook up in your rental kitchen. Many markets also offer prepared dishes like seafood dips, crab cakes, and smoked fish.

6. Support Local Businesses

Cape San Blas’s unique charm goes beyond its pristine beaches. A thriving network of local businesses adds to the character of this special place. By supporting these local gems, you’re not just getting amazing products and services but also helping the community thrive.

Dining at locally owned restaurants is a must, of course, but also be sure to check out the nearby boutiques and galleries. Many feature works by local artists and artisans, giving you a chance to bring home unique souvenirs.

Also, consider booking fun experiences with local outfitters, such as fishing charters and boat tours. Some top picks include Shallow Seas Charters, Salty Fish Excursions, and Doghouse Charters. Whether they take you out on St. Joseph’s Bay or along the Gulf Coast, you can count on hitting all the best spots in the area.

7. Learn Beach Safety

views of the seashore

When visiting Cape San Blas or any of Florida’s amazing beaches, prioritize beach safety to ensure a fun and worry-free experience.

  • Check tides: Check the local tide schedules before heading to the beach. High tide can reduce the amount of beach available and unexpectedly bring deeper water closer to the shore.
  • Understand rip currents: Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of water that flow away from the shore. Learning to spot and safely swim out of a rip current could save your life.
  • Never turn your back to the ocean: Always be aware of the ocean’s conditions. Sudden waves can catch you off guard if you’re not watching, potentially resulting in serious injuries.
  • Obey signs and warning flags: When you get to the beach, always check for signs and flags that show the current water conditions. If warnings tell you to stay out of the water, follow them immediately to keep safe.  
  • Use sun protection: The sun can be deceptively strong, especially near or on the water. Apply reef-safe sunscreen regularly, wear a hat, and consider a UV-protective shirt.
  • Stay hydrated: It’s easy to get dehydrated in the sun and saltwater. Continually sip on a bottle of water throughout the day to replenish your fluids and keep your energy up.
  • Be prepared for emergencies: Know the location of the nearest first aid station and plan for emergencies. Keeping a basic first aid kit handy wherever you go is also a good idea.

8. Respect the Wildlife

– @dcbum

The area is home to diverse wildlife, including sea turtles and shorebirds. Respect their natural habitats by keeping a safe distance, not feeding them, and properly throwing away your trash. Also, if you encounter a sea turtle nest, give it plenty of space and avoid disturbing it.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to head out on your Cape San Blas adventures. This hidden gem promises a beach vacation unlike any other. So, book your stay early and pack up all you need for a relaxing getaway.