Out of This World: Discover Stunning Stargazing on St. George Island
By Forgotten Coast Web Team | August 20, 2020
Located on the quiet eastern end of the panhandle, St. George Island boasts some of the most pristine, uncrowded beaches in the Sunshine State. Thanks to an absence of nighttime light pollution, this tranquil barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico offers some of the most exquisite stargazing in all of Florida.
In a recent Narcity article, Kirsten Poletis writes, “On the remote reaches of Florida’s northern Gulf coast, there lies a tiny island that will transport you to the stars. Or at least it’ll feel like it since its sandy shores are so far removed from light pollution, it feels like you’re looking through a window into the Milky Way.”
Make a Wish from SGI State Park
In the article, Poletis specifically points to the island’s St. George Island State Park as a prime starwatching spot. “If you’re keen on adventuring past the regular Florida comforts into something a bit more far-reaching, St. George Island State Park will definitely provide an incredible view of the night sky for your travels,” she writes.
Encompassing nine miles of undeveloped sugar sand beach, Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park is bursting with exciting outdoor adventures—from swimming, paddling and shelling to fishing, hiking, birding and—at night—stellar stargazing.
St. George Island State Park offers 60 modern family campsites with access to water and electric and restroom and shower facilities. The park also includes a primitive camping site and a youth camping site available for group camping. It’s the perfect place to park your RV or pitch a tent, sit back and stare at the starry sky.
Tucked away from city lights, St. George Island State Park offers exquisite views of stars, planets and other celestial bodies in mind-boggling numbers and breathtaking brilliance.
From the park, Jupiter and Saturn are both clearly visible in the night sky. Stargazers in the area often witness the International Space Station making its orbit around Earth or the wispy white and purple glow of the Milky Way rising over the white sand dunes.
There is no question that St. George Island State Park offers the best stargazing opportunities on all of Florida’s Forgotten Coast. In fact, the park staff is working to toward receiving an official designation as a Dark Sky Park with the International Dark Sky Association.
Dark Skies = Stellar Views
While there are tons of things to see and do on St. George Island during the daytime, after sunset, this slice of coastal paradise transforms into a front row seat to the stars.
“The barrier island of St. George holds miles of undeveloped beach, perfect for year-round fishing, sunsets, and general beach bum shenanigans,” writes Poletis. “But it’s at night when this island really shines, with the chance to see stars, planets, and brilliant celestial bodies.”
Although St. George Island State Park closes at sunset, there are a couple of ways to gain access to the park for stargazing. You can reserve a campsite, which costs $24 for either an RV or tent. You can also buy a Florida State Parks Family Annual Pass, which allows you to apply for an after-hours permit.
Currently, the state park is open at 75% capacity and visitors are expected to maintain social distance of at least six feet. Visit the St. George Island State Park website for more details.
Searching for unforgettable stargazing from a truly tranquil beach destination? Come on down to Florida’s Forgotten Coast! All of our charming coastal communities are open for business and ready for visitors. Book your trip today at Places to Stay.