Tired of Cold Winters?
Get some sand between your toes!
Snowbirds at Barrier Dunes – Escape the weather & the worries…enjoy the relaxed, happy group at Barrier Dunes! The fishing is great, boating is fun and activities abound; from pot luck suppers to bonfires on the beach – winter on Cape San Blas, it doesn’t get much better!
All of life becomes casual and fun once you breathe the glorious salt air and let go of what you left behind. Try it and you be coming back like most of our guests! Cape San Blas, FL, or “the Cape” as most refer to it, is not well-known, but definitely better liked by those who have come to discover it’s magic.
Nestled up to St. Joseph Peninsula State Park & surrounded by water, it is the perfect place for a nature lovers’ exploration. Boating, shopping, theatre, golf, restaurants & other diversions are only minutes away, yet many of our guests never leave Barrier Dunes. Play tennis, walk your dog on an uncrowded beach while watching the ever changing scenes, fish, stir up a card game or read to your hearts content! It doesn’t get much better than this in life!
We don’t want too many to discover the treasure of the “Forgotten Coast”. If you enjoy incredible white sand beaches that offer miles of shoreline to discover, calmer, yet extremely friendly group of vacationers & casual, relaxed fun you need look no more! Enjoy many events in & around Barrier Dunes & on the beach this winter…some may even be planned by you, our guest!
Winter Barrier Dunes Snowbird Events:
- Craft Group
- Tennis lessons/practice groups
- Group bike rides
- Potluck Dinners
- Book exchanges
- Golf groups/tournaments
- Book club
- Sit ‘n Knit Group: Questions: Connie 229-2533
- Gourmet Chef Now: Cooking classes 850-227-8030 or 850-229-1203
- See all FORGOTTEN COAST AREA EVENTS by month
** If you are going to be a guest at Barrier Dunes& want to plan your own event, let me know so I can post it here & you can join the Barrier Dunes Snowbirds group on Facebook to spread the word!
Other Things to Do:
Enjoy Movies, Live Theatre and Live Entertainment at the Dixie Theatre.
See the Area Events Calendar for activities & events in the area.
One Way Fitness Center Gym
209 Reid Avenue, Port Saint Joe, FL. (850) 227-1929 always open
Port St. Joe Tai Chi Classes: Free classed offered! Call Jessica Hays (850) 247-8550
The Artery Studio: Port St. Joe. Classes including pottery, painting & silk painting.
Gourmet Chef Now: Port St Joe. Cooking and date night classes available.
Haughty Heron: Port St. Joe. Live entertainment Friday & Saturday nights.
St. Joe Bar: Pool tournaments every Thursday, live entertainment Friday & Satruday, pot luck on Sunday.
Thirsty Goat: Port St. Joe. $5 Martini & Music Mondays. See the the full “Calendar of Events” link on left menu on their website.
No Name Cafe: Port St. Joe. Jewelry & knitting classes. You can call Lynn at 850-229-9277 for more information.
Lookout Lounge: Karaoke & bands every Thursday and Friday, 1st Sunday
ART LESSONS: Delores Lowery at the Prickly Pears Gourmet Gallery offers painting lessons. 800-648-1115
Apalachicola Fitness Center – 850-653-1920 A 3-month membership is now just $75
See our comprehensive Golf Page for details and more courses from Panama City to Tallahassee!
St. Joe Bay Country Club (about 10 min. from Barrier Dunes!) Offers an 18-hole championship golf course located along the beautiful St. Joseph Bay–10 minutes away. Visitors are welcome. 850-227-1751.
St. James Bay Country Club is an 18 hole, resort-style course. 850-697-9606.
Wildwood Country Club – 18-hole, PAR 72 course at 3870 Coastal Hwy in Crawfordville. 850-926-4653.
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf – Yes! Port St. Joe has a great hospital if you have medical concerns! 850-229-5600
THINGS WE ENJOYED & RECOMMENDED DAY OUTINGS –
Notes from a past Cape San Blas Snowbird:
In our 3 winters here on Cape San Blas there are several outings we have taken that we would recommend.
- Wakulla Springs State Park: Well worth a day outing. You can swim in the springs, lunch at the lodge and take a very nice and inexpensive trip on the river boat where you are sure to see your fill of alligators. You can also rent your own canoe at T&T Hideaway (850-925-6412) and paddle the river downstream from the park.
- Wicissa River: Another interesting float trip if you have a canoe, kayak or small boat.
- St. Vincent Island: Fun day trip and there is a shuttle at the end of Indian Pass (see the guest information book in the rental for contact info). Don’t forget to stop at the Indian Pass Raw Bar on the way back!
- St. Joe Bay: Kayaking, snorkeling or canoeing is great close by fun.
- Shopping Trip to Apalachicola: Enjoy shopping, a nice meal out (we recommend the “Owl” but there are LOTS of good restaurants) and seeing the shrimping boats. Dixie Theatre also has some great live shows, music and movies. You can also enjoy a good massage while you’re there!
- St. Andrews State Park: If you are going in to Panama City, make a stop at St. Andrews State Park. They have a wonderful swimming lagoon for small children and the water is beautiful.
- Hammock Trail: A nice walk right from Barrier Dunes. Head into St. Joseph Peninsula State park and the Hammock Trail will be marked on your right side. It takes you out to the St. Joe Bay through a lovely treed path with interesting signs about the area. A must do.
COMMENTS FROM OUR PAST WINTER GUESTS:
Lisa Wood (January 2015)
My lifelong fantasy of having a home on the beach was fully (if all to briefly!) fulfilled during our recent stay at Barrier Dunes Unit 1, Walking on Sunshine.
There is much that we enjoyed about the property, but as a city-dweller who rarely sees stars, I especially loved sitting on the beach-facing balconies (outside the main floor and outside the master bedroom) and looking at the night-sky while listening to the ocean.
Wendy and her on-site staff did a great job making us feel welcome. We loved the spacious rooms, beautiful and homey furnishings and decor, and were enthusiastic users of the outdoor grill and fully-equipped kitchen (though we can also recommend the barbecue at the Sand Bucket, and pizza from Coneheads, which is literally at the entrance to Barrier Dunes). We found Barrier Dunes to be a great home-base for exploring the Cape, close to the St. Joseph State Park and a short drive to the many other attractions and activities.
I highly recommend an “off-season” stay; you get a relaxed atmosphere and it is warm enough to spend time on the beach -I even waded into the water to get a closer look at a small flock of grey pelicans riding the ocean waves.
The phrase “pristine beach” may be a cliché, but it truly applies to Cape San Blas and Barrier Dunes, all the more remarkable considering all of the dog-walking, fishing and other activity. You get a sense that visitors and residents all appreciate the unique beauty of the beach and are committed to its preservation. I hope to visit again sometime soon!
Mary Twining February/March 2014
Wendy we had another great vacation at Seascape. Each year when we return, it seems for 5 weeks like a second
home for us. This year new deck furniture was a nice surprise. As you can see by the picture, the boys like to relax on the deck.
The Gallo’s (Jan – March 2014)
Hubby and I spent January, February & part of March 2014 at Wendy’s Turtle Crawl (Barrier Dunes 191) with our 2 dogs & could not have been more pleased. The unit is decorated beautifully & comfortably. The beds were just as comfy as our own at home, the kitchen has everything and more that you will need, the living furniture was great to lounge on, nice clean carpeting throughout the house and 3 balconies was a real plus too!
Wendy’s attention to detail in your rentals & her willingness to provide quick response on any request makes her rentals a real “cut above” others.
The Barrier Dunes complex is a great place for snowbirds and their dogs & is kept up very well. Easy new friendships can be made and Wendy keeps on top of upcoming events, etc. on the Barrier Dunes Snowbirds page so you know what’s going on and can join the fun.
We would highly recommend & will make sure to return to Cape San Blas next winter!
Angelo and Vicki Lattuca (January 2013)
Hi Wendy. We made it back ok… snow…yuck! I’d rather be walking on the beach! Now i understand why retirees become “snowbirds!” Cape San Blas was everything you said it would be. It’s the perfect place for us. We met so many wonderful people too, very friendly & welcoming.
We hiked, played tennis, fished, went to the gym in port st. joe a few times a week. next time we will bring our bikes & Angelo wants to get an ocean kayak to explore the bay. There’s so much wildlife to see: dolphins, sharks, deer, birds, alligators, snakes, manatees, wow…everyday…something different. We went to Wakulla Springs State Park which was beautiful (& educational). We went to some of the local restaurants you suggested & the food was great.
The local folks are so helpful & sweet, which made our visit even more special. Our dog lexi had the best vacation of her life! We really needed to get away after the holidays & just relax… we enjoyed every day in Barrier Dunes…& the sunsets are so breathtaking! You have a great place there Wendy, it felt so homey & comfortable, we didn’t want to leave. Thank you for the best vacation ever!
Curtis and Paulette Peil (January 2013)
We just finished the best vacation in thirty (30) years at Barrier Dunes #15 – Gulf Breeze. These are the things that we enjoyed. The direct view of The Gulf and the porch off of the living area. It was a great place to rest with our buddies (dogs) and to enjoy the great weather (in January). We rode our bike’s frequently and found the closeness to St Joseph State Park & the bike trail along side 30E to give us a safe trail & enjoyable scenery. Conehead’s restaurant, which is within walking distance, tuned out to be one of our favorites. Their seafood gumbo is tremendous. They have a full menu with quality food at a reasonable price.
The beach was fabulous & the other guests were friendly. Everyone was dog friendly & took responsibility for their pets. The pet stations & walking areas in the facility were handy and well planned out. The condo was equipped with everything one would need & more and the information provided helped to be familiar with the community. When I needed assistance, Wendy & her staff, were prompt & professional in helping us. We definitely will be back. Thanks for a wonderful time.
Nancy and Jim Kennedy, Traverse City Michigan
We had a terrific time at Sea Breeze during our 1st vacation to your area. The accommodations were excellent; very clean with an excellent layout. The area is so beautiful and the town of Port St. Joe was terrific in terms of restaurants and shopping for food and gifts. The Port St. Joe Country Club provided a nice golf course alternative for anyone interested in this activity. Barrier Dunes is a perfect size with 2 nice pools and tennis courts. The temperatures were generally in the 60’s, plenty warm for us to walk several times daily on the most beautiful beach we have encountered. The other guests were always friendly and the dog situation is handled very effectively by all.
We check other potential accommodation options in the area and determined Barrier Dunes provided the best vacation spot for us in the future. Your handling of our stay was excellent. The whole experience was everything expected from our many conversations prior to our arrival. Because we were new to this area, your advice was accurate & sincerely appreciated!
Gail Oughton, December/January (England)
Thank you for all of your help! This is probably the nicest place I have ever stayed. When do you ever get the chance to step straight onto a beautiful beach. The weather was kind to us when we were there and we had to buy some suntan lotion.
We had some great days with the family, barbeques, games on the beach….We did our morning walk every day and even tried to get to the end of the Cape, but had to give up because it just went on & on around every corner!
It was wonderful collecting all the unusual shells and seeing all the different birds in these parts. The sunsets were marvelous & looking at the stars at night was great too — all of the simple things of life.
One of the great highlights was seeing the dolphins swim past and my daughter and her cousin swam out to get close to them. We have never seen wild dolphins before.
Once again, thank you Wendy. The beach house had everything you could ever want for. Access to beach “stuff” (chairs etc.) was also welcome. It is these touches that really made a difference in our holiday.
Judy Bateman, February / March 2009
The condo is very easy to relax in & comfortable to live in. The location was perfect! We walked the beach every day, picnicked in the park & at the lighthouse, rode our bikes several times in the park & on the bike trail, ate shrimp from the Piggly Wiggly several times & had to return 3 times to the Chocolate Company in Apalachicola. The setting is just what we like. Next time I’ll bring a mat & join the exercise class. Thanks for everything!
David and Karen Larson (and Lilly Rose), February – March 2009
Thank you for the very prompt check for the deposit. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and especially the dog-friendly beach & the jewel of a state park. We did attend a bird walk in the park, the information being available at the registration station. Visits to the St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge probably are best during the guided tour since the shuttle drops you off on the beach but the lakes & wetlands are on the other end of the island. We did attend a great lecture by an archaeologist from the U at Tampa given by the Friends of the Refuge. Best restaurants & shopping we thought were in Apalachicola, which s a really neat historic town. Keep us on the mailing/email list. Many thanks.
Carrie & Brian, February 2009
Made it home, but still missing the warm weather & the ocean. Had a wonderful time just relaxing and walking on the beach! The dolphins were out the 1st few days of our stay. Bella, our bull mastiff, enjoy her stay as well. We hope to come back next year, it’s just heaven down there. Thank you for everything & appreciate all your help in making our vacation enjoyable!
Wayne Choinsky, January-February 2009
We had a great time at Barrier Dunes. Our 1st day, as we approached the peninsula a beautiful young buck walked slowly across the road in front of us.
We went to the beach the 1st hour we were there to collect from the beach & found a large assortment of shells and a nice star fish plus a sand dollar.
We really loved the peace & quiet. Our neighbors waved every day & that was about 10 couples at first. The 2nt month we were waving to too many to count. We saw a black wolf on our way into Port St. Joe. It was neat to see all the different sea birds we don’t get to see along the rest of the east coast.
We made road trips along the coast to see the fishing industry & other points of interest. Indian Pass was close by & very interested. We say sharks & dophin regularly. The dolphin were very playful. Kayaks were rowing near them all the time. My son, Seth, & I went to St. Joe pier to fish every day. We went up to see the U.S. airbase nearby, Tyndal. It was great to get a military haircut for $9. We ate breakfast nearly every morning at Saint Joe pier. It was just so pleasant to sit & watch the birds and boats coming and going. There were picnic table & restrooms there…we were not alone in doing this!
We went to Panama City to the movies & along the way passed Mexico Beach. It was one of the beautiful beaches away from Beach House Too. By the way, your beach was #1, you could fish & have fires and collect shells. The sand is as white as I have seen anywhere & very clean. There is a lighthouse right near the house & it is a must see. We bought gum tree honey in Wewahitchka, what an Indian name! We explored every little town and there were many sales, which my wife Pat loved. We celebrated our 40th anniversary there. I could go on & on. Wendy, I hope we get to come back again….for us this was a once in a lifetime fun trip!
Barbara Welling, February/March
We had a wonderful time down in Barrier Dunes and met lots of nice people. Turtle Crawl was lovely and was definitely a “home away from home”. We tried to keep it as nice as when we arrived. Alene is already talking of doing it again and I hope that financial conditions permit it.
Altogether, it was a lovely experience and the beach has to be seen to be believed. I never saw such a white one and little Dixie (their poodle) loved it. I was so glad to have met you after corresponding so often!
Rita Sikora (now a Barrier Dunes OWNER)
Our 2 month stay was like a home away from home with a homey decor & comfortable furnishings. Wendy was a great help & took care of any need immediately. Such personal care was refreshing. It was our first trip to Barrier Dunes and we loved every minute of it. Although it was chilly & windy some days, it was better than being up north. Powder sugar sand as far as you could see was beautiful with changing surf almost daily.
Our dog Westley, a golden retriever, ran on the beach every day & found may dog friends to play with. He enjoyed racing with the waves and liked sitting in the surf to cool off. His second favorite thing was rolling in the sand. The beach house had a hose in the car port which was used everyday to give Westley a full bath. Even dog towels were supplied. Great idea!
My husband & I joined an aerobics class 3 days a week & walked several miles a day. My husband also rode a bike a couple times a week to check out the area. We left in better shape than when we arrived. I will miss the daily exercise.
Coming to Barrier Dunes was a relaxing , but also an invigorating vacation. We met some great people from all over the U.S. & Canada who found reasons to get together for social functions several times while we were there. Aside from being a pet friendly location, it is a people friendly place too!
We got out and about from time to time sampling some of the restaurants in the area. Some of our favorites were Peppers, a Mexican restaurant and The Sunset Coastal Grill , in Port St. Joe; The Indian Pass Raw Bar at Indian pass; Caroline’s, The Grill (good for lunch) and The Owl in Apalachicola.
Thanks for making our vacation one of the best we’ve ever had. It’s so nice to enjoy it with a pet!
Cheryl Bullerdick, Michigan (MANY time winter guest!s)
Are you a snowbird looking for the ultimate escape from the long northern winter?? Well I think I have just the place. Two years ago my husband & I stumbled onto a thin strip of land along the gulf coast called Cape San Blas. We drove along the Cape marveling at the beauty of the white sandy beaches, the incredible fauna of old world Florida, the birds and the deep blue ocean.
At the far end of the Cape, right before you head into St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, we turned left & drove into what is fast becoming our 2nd home, Barrier Dunes. This wonderful community sits nestled up to sugar white dunes that lead you down to the pristine beach where any day you may see maybe 10 other people out enjoying strolling for miles, fishing in the surf, collecting shells or simply sitting & reading along with their dog! Yes! The Cape San Blas Beaches & Barrier Dunes are dog friendly–our dogs can enjoy the beach with us instead of just a pet friendly rental!
We stayed in The Cape Escape II, owned by Wendy Jackson, who made sure we had everything we might need already in place before we arrived. Entering Cape San Blas and Barrier Dunes is like entering another world, a world that slows and fills you with peace as you slowly enjoy the every day marvels: The dancing dolphins just a few feet away, the spectacular sunsets, the eagle soaring overhead. If you enjoy nature and the simple pleasures in life, this is the place for you!
Barrier Dunes also has the added advantage of having a great community spirit. The folks are friendly and there’s often a community event, a book exchange or a Super Bowl party to attend or perhaps a community potluck beach bonfire. Unlike the hustle and bustle of the big tourist traps, this is a place to really unwind and enjoy life. If you choose to not meander down to the beach there are stocked fishing ponds, tennis courts & 2 swimming pools inside the gated community to keep you busy!!
If this sounds like a perfect place to spend your winter holiday, give Wendy a call or email & I’ll look forward to meeting you there this fall & winter!
Scott Cockrell (Harvest, AL)
The trip was really great. We were concerned that the weather might not be good for the weekend, but it turned out to be beautiful. Good call on having a fire on the beach. We did that Friday and Saturday night. We only went out to ea 1 night and that was to Apalachicola to Tamarita’s I think it was called. The food was ok, but not worth the price we paid.
This was our first trip to the beach in the winter time and we both decided we really liked it. We loved that there were not a lot of people. The beach was great. The Cape Escape was very nice. Bryant & Sadie (our dogs) were very well behaved inside. They both loved the beach and were absolutely exhausted when we got home……Thank you so much for your help. We will surely come back!!
Regina and Curt, Cape Cod, MA ( February)
Dear John and Wendy,
A nice, cozy, comfortable home away from home. Enjoyed walks on the beach, nature walks and all the fresh shrimp we could! We ate a lot of lunch out and collected some more menus for your Guest Information Book, which was very helpful by the way!
The golf was GREAT! Playing golf in February is not something we can do on our Cape, especially this year with all the snow up there! Thank you for a wonderful vacation!