We rented a little house in Carrabelle, FL for a week. Not knowing the area we had to go purely on the descriptions we could find on the internet. Carrabelle advertised "sugar sand beaches." Yes... the beach WAS incredible... but 2 rivers come out near the beach and there is an offshore barrier island so the water is murky!
So we did a little exploring:
We LOVED it here. Absolutely beautiful beach, very isolated, some of the best shelling anywhere, dolphins hanging out just at the breaker line, Ospreys and Bald Eagles. Not the beach if you want any form of civilization - there is not a cafe, shop, or even gas station on the peninsula!
St. George Island & St. George Island State Park:
St. George Island State Park had some of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen -- especially Sugar Hill Beach. Tall pine trees and dunes of sugar-white sand. Really lovely. The island has some shops but is not terribly commercialized so this is another one we would consider going back to.
Cape San Blas and St. Joseph Penninsula State Park:
I know that St. Joe was voted one of the best beaches in America... but I did not like it as much as St. George. The frustration we had with the construction and lack of communication and helpfulness on the part of the park staff definitely colored our visit.
In all we had a fantastic time playing in the sand, swimming, jumping in the surf, shelling, sitting in the sun, and generally doing not much of anything for a week. We needed that SO much but a week together felt WAY too short given how little time we get with Ian.