Gulf County is predominately rural and less developed than Panhandle counties to its west. Once dominated by the paper industry, its miles of snow-white beaches on the Gulf of Mexico have made it easy to transition to a tourist and water sport-based economy. It is a favorite destination for scalloping July to September and sport fishing year-round.
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, one of Gulf County's greatest assets, covers most of the 10-mile Cape San Blas Peninsula. Considered one of the best beaches in America, it has nine-and-a-half secluded miles of snow-white beaches, 30- to 40-foot-high dunes,eight cabins, 120 full-facility campsites, three nature trails and primitive camping in the park's Wilderness Preserve. The park is a popular spot for fishing, snorkeling, scalloping, and birding with 243 recorded species.
Next to the state park, Cape San Blas has privately owned areas with beach homes to rent. The Cape San Blas Lighthouse protrudes from the southernmost point surrounded by the 56,000-acre St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve, one of the most pristine, diverse and productive natural habitats in Florida. It is host to the most abundant concentration of seagrasses in north Florida. East of St. Joseph Bay, St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve is sanctuary to 5,019 acres of slash pine, black needle rush marsh, old dunes, cypress swamps and bogs.
The Apalachicola River forms most of Gulf's eastern boundary; its western boundary is partly defined by St. Joseph Bay, the only bay on the eastern gulf with no influx of fresh water. Gulf's coastline has 23 miles of mainland coast on St. Joseph Bay and 19 more miles of peninsula with the bay on its east and the Gulf of Mexico on its west.
The St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge is a nationally protected barrier island in Gulf and Franklin counties. It offers sanctuary to threatened and endangered species such as American alligator, bald eagle, indigo snake, red wolf and sea turtle.
The city of Port St. Joe is the county seat and the largest city in Gulf County. It has a deep-water port overlooking St. Joseph Bay. This historic city is the site of the 1838 drafting of Florida's first constitution. The Constitution Convention Museum State Park commemorates the event.
October 23, 2017 - 12:29pm
Interested in subscribing to DEP newsletters or receiving DEP updates through email?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.