St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge
For both those who enjoy sunbathing nude and those who enjoy exploring nature with their clothes on, St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge is the ideal. This virtually uninhabited location is only accessible by boat and consists of more than 12,000 acres of lake, marsh, dune, pine and hardwood. Established in 1968 as a waterfowl sanctuary, The St. Vincent Refuge is now home to more than 260 bird species, endangered bald eagles, red wolves and sea turtles.
The closest town is sleepy Apalachicola, so well known for its love of oysters and fishing that it's not unusual for shops to close on Wednesday afternoons to let the locals get out on the water.
While hiking, fishing, boating and hunting are popular, this area offers hard-to-come-by opportunities for:
- Wildlife observation: The island is refuge to a range of animals including wood storks, falcons, bald eagles, turtles, red wolves and white-tailed deer.
- Nature photography: With 10 different habitats and endangered wildlife, St. Vincent Wildlife Retreat offers more photo ops than Hollywood's red carpet.
Animals are the big attraction here:
- Ospreys: From March to May, ospreys nest around the lakes.
- Loggerhead turtles: July and August, loggerhead turtles lay eggs along the beach.
- Peregrine falcons: June, and September to November are ideal times for viewing peregrine falcons.
- Alligators: From December to February, alligators bask in the warm sun to ward off the cooler winter temperatures.
- National Wildlife Refuge Week (October): A series of open-house tours raises awareness and showcases the refuge's progress.
- Sambar Deer Hunt (November-January): This is a primitive weapon hunt keeps the deer population in check, helping to maintain the delicate eco-balance.
Nightlife is scarce in Apalachicola, but you can catch a show at the vintage Dixie Theater or have drinks at the Roseate Spoonbill Lounge where bands play on weekends.
Primitive camping is offered for hunters on St. Vincent Island. Apalachicola offers cozy cottages, inns and bed and breakfasts in restored homes. Try the Apalachicola Chamber of Commerce for great bed and breakfast ideas and impressive area guides of St. Vincent Island.
Need to Know
- This barrier island is 22 miles southwest of Apalachicola in the Panhandle, by St. George Island State Park.
- You need to access St. Vincent by boat. Those without boats can contact the St. Vincent Island Shuttle Service or try an affordable sailing vacation charter.
- Winter temperatures average 54 F, while average summer temperatures are 81 F. St. Vincent is an easy target for Gulf storms and was hit by hurricane Kate in 1984.
- None. This is truly a wildlife refuge.
Wildlife and waves make St. Vincent Refuge a perfect place for eco-tourists and nudists. If a remote getaway appeals, these St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge retreat ideas will help you on your way.
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