On the Road with PMC: Cape San Blas

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On the Road with Pensacola Mom Collective

Sponsored by: KIA AUTOSPORT OF PENSACOLA

We are grateful to our sponsor, KIA AutoSport of Pensacola, for supporting our mission of educating, encouraging, and empowering local moms through the lifelong journey of parenthood.

 

If you love a short trip, not far from home…have I got the perfect place for you!

Traveling and exploring new places is my favorite thing to do! But there is one place that has forever captured my heart…Cape San Blas. This 15-mile peninsula never disappoints and keeps us coming back year after year!

A Different Vibe

Despite living in our very own beach community here in the Pensacola area, there is something inherently wonderful, if not different, about the Cape. It is well worth the 90-mile drive east from Pensacola to bask in some well-deserved (and highly overdue) rest and relaxation.

Whether you make it a day trip or a stay-and-play vacation, you will be pleasantly surprised with this slice of heaven!

The Cape is best described as peaceful and serene, with miles of beautiful shell-filled beaches and jaw-dropping sunsets unlike any you’ve ever seen before. A little off the beaten path, most of its appeal comes from being away from the hustle and bustle of more popular and well-known beach destinations such as Panama City, Destin, and 30-A.

Where to Stay

Our family prefers to stay on our sailboat at the Port St. Joe Marina, which is within walking distance of everything in downtown Port St. Joe. We will spend time at various anchorages around the Cape and swim or dinghy to shore. We also enjoy camping at Presnell’s RV Resort, situated within an equal distance of Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas. Their waterfront campsites overlook St. Joseph’s Bay, conveniently facing west to take in those amazing sunsets. Being waterfront allows us to drop our SUP boards in the water for a quick paddle, try our hand at fishing, or enjoy a quick swim.

While we prefer the rustic getaway, you can also choose from an array of VBRO or Airbnb homes and condos.

What to Do

St. Joseph State Park offers access to both St. Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico with miles of trails to explore and is home to some of the most beautiful waters in Florida. Pack a cooler, gather the chairs, slather on the sunscreen, and plan to make a day of your time here. The park offers kayak and paddle rentals as well as a boat slip. We have traversed the entire Cape on foot and by boat, surrounded by marine life, wildlife, and nature in its purest forms.

No trip to the Cape is complete without a stop in Port St. Joe, which is full of small-town charm and laid-back attitudes. So, throw on your comfortable shoes because the best way to explore Port St. Joe is on foot. Spend time walking down Reid Avenue, where you’ll find quaint little shops, antique stores, and some of the area’s best restaurants.

 

The Cape San Blas Lighthouse is a must! While there is plenty to see from the top of the lighthouse, there is also much to explore at its base. Situated in a small park, you can find horseshoe crabs crawling the beach, herons walking about, and a few nature trails.

The Outrigger is your one-stop shop for all things “souvenir.” It’s big, fun, and equally filled with all the things you need and even the things you don’t. They sell the best sunburn remedy…Solar Recovery spray. Grab a bottle or two – you’ll thank me later! Whether it’s a shirt, tote bag, jewelry, shoes, bumper stickers, fishing gear…. you name it, and they have it. And if they don’t, you didn’t need it anyway!

Our favorite place to stock up on provisions is the local Piggly Wiggly. Conveniently located in the heart of Port St. Joe, it’s always on our to-do list. It’s the perfect place to fill the cooler before hitting the beach or buying a few snacks for the ride back home. We definitely “dig the Pig” in Port St. Joe.

Where to Eat

Our personal favorite, Joe Mama’s Wood Fired Kitchen, will dazzle your tastebuds and set the bar for any pizza you may have in the future. In other words, it’s the best pizza you’ll ever put in your mouth. You’ll soon wonder how any other pizza will ever measure up. And, just to be clear, they won’t. From appetizers to salads, pizza and pasta…do yourself a favor and order one of everything!

After a day of exploring, we always find time to indulge in an adult beverage at The Haughty Heron, just steps away from the lighthouse. Their outdoor courtyard, perfectly mixed cocktails, and a vast array of cigars (for the hubby!) are the perfect end to a busy day. For the kids, the friendly bartenders make a mean Shirley Temple! Sit back, and enjoy the breeze and live music in the courtyard. It’s an all-around good vibe and a great way to unwind!

Along the Way

Traveling east along Highway 98 to the Cape, you will pass through many whimsical beach towns with easy access to more well-known 30-A communities such as Rosemary Beach, Grayton Beach, Seaside, and WaterColor. But, once you hit Mexico Beach… you’re almost there! Be sure to tune in to Oyster Radio 106.5 FM to enjoy a blend of classic rock and beach blast tunes that will make you roll the windows down, breathe in the salty gulf air, and watch your worries disappear into the rearview mirror.

Whether you’re passing through or making it your travel destination, Cape San Blas has much to offer! It has a permanent place in my heart, and I know it will capture yours!

It just may be the best-kept secret on the Gulf Coast!

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Born in Alabama (Roll Tide!), Heather moved to the Pensacola area at the young age of 7 and has called this area home ever since. After narrowly surviving distance learning while telecommuting, she is now concentrating fully on her career as a community coordinator for a local court-based program. Heather received a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of West Florida and has over 15 years experience working in child welfare, the school system, and as a crime victim advocate. Married for 14 years, she and her husband are the proud and busy parents of two beautiful girls, whose interests in volleyball and sailing keep the family calendar packed. Heather fancies herself to be an organizer of chaos, leader of household misfits, and below-average gardener. When she isn’t avoiding the elliptical, cheering on a tournament or regatta, or searching for a new recipe, she enjoys traveling, sailing, camping, and finding new ways to make a positive impact on her community. Recognizing she is a constant work in progress, Heather loves connecting with others, self-reflection, and strengthening her village, all while trying to breathe in the simple pleasures of life.

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