Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park

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About Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park

Sugar white sand dunes meet the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola Bay at St. George Island State Park. Part of the park is only accessible with special permission from the ranger’s office, due to conservation efforts, which means the beaches on the east end are super pristine. There’s plenty to do to keep busy: bike or hike for miles on the park’s main roads, hiking trails, or boardwalks. Take a stroll along the water’s edge and see if you can spot dolphins, rays, or loggerhead turtles in the Gulf; feel free to take a dip with the aquatic creatures to escape the Florida sun. Or just plop down in the sand for a sunbathing session. The best part? You won’t fight the crowds to claim a spot at the beach. That’s right, even with all its amenities and activities, this park still flies pretty low under the radar -- so enjoy it while you still can.

Campgrounds in Dr. Julian G. Bruce

Gap Point Primitive Campground

1. Gap Point Primitive Campground

If you’re ready to rough it, try out the primitive campground only reachable by kayak (or other shallow boat) or by hiking the 2. 5-mile Gap Point...

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Sugar Hill Campground

2. Sugar Hill Campground

Relax beneath the regal pines surrounded by sand dunes at the park’s main campground. There’s no sea view -- but the Gulf is just a quarter mile...

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History of Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park

Early in the island’s estimated 5,000 years of existence, pre-Columbian native peoples visited St. George Island at least seasonally to collect oysters and seafood. Remnant middens or trash mounds, contain evidence of shellfish harvests, fishing and pottery making. Checked and incised ceramics, stone gaming pieces and a grinding stone have been recovered from sites within the park.

During the early and mid-1900s, the island’s pine forests were turpentined. Many “cat-face” scars are still visible on the island’s larger slash pines. During World War II, the island was used by troops at Camp Gordon Johnston for numerous training exercises carried out over the area’s vast dunes.

Acquisition of land for the park in 1963 and the 1965 completion of the Bryant G. Patton Bridge crossing Apalachicola Bay to St. George Island led to increased recreational use of the island’s beaches. Construction of park facilities was completed in 1980 and St. George Island State Park opened to the public.

The Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola Bay Aquatic Preserve provide the perfect setting for this picturesque state park. With nine miles of undeveloped beaches and dunes, the park covers 1,962 acres of the east end of this long, narrow barrier island. Natural features include sandy coves, salt marshes, tall pines and Florida rosemary.

Ecosystems in the park include slash pine forests and remnant coastal scrub. The bay supports numerous needlerush and spartina marshes, while the gulf and bay support an abundance of marine life. Small ponds and tidal creeks provide a limited freshwater habitat in an otherwise arid climate.