A four-mile long bridge was built to connect the island to the mainland in 1965, and replaced by a fancy new bridge in 2002. There are a lot more people living on St. George these days; in fact, almost 2,500 people now call the island home (for at least part of the year). Fortunately, the state had the foresight to set aside the far eastern end of the island as a state park. For this nine-mile stretch, St. George is a natural preserve of sugar-fine white sandy beaches, salt marshes, ponds, and woods of longleaf pine and saw palmetto.
We had a great time biking, hiking, and wading on three separate visits to the island—the water was warm, and we meant to go back to just swim and sit on the beach under an umbrella. Living on the West Coast with chilly Pacific waters, I haven’t had a beach day like that in decades. Of course, every paradise has its drawbacks. Being in Florida, even in the fall, requires layers of both sunscreen and bug repellant if you’re going to spend time outdoors, especially in marshy areas near the coast. That, combined with humidity, makes for two-shower days. I’ve also collected a rather spectacular display of chigger bites, mosquito bites, no-see-um bites, and fire ant bites since we arrived in the warm and humid South. (I’m sometimes accused of being overly positive; this is my disclaimer, just in case my reports of Florida have been too glowing.)