We have been vacationing on the Gulf Coast for 20 straight summers. We started in Gulf Shores Al, and have stayed all up and down the panhandle of Fl. Our favorite spot for several years is/was Navarre, Fl. Well, the secret is out on Navarre and last summer it was PACKED, so we ventured east to Port St Joe to escape the crowds.
Things we knew:
We knew it was much more rural than what we were used to, and the Piggly Wiggly was about the only option as far as supplies went.
We knew that our house (Cottage by the Sea) was technically not on the "Gulf" but a little ways into the "Bay". We where located east of Mexico beach and just west of Windmark Beach.
What we didn't know (and wish we had)
We didn't know about the BUGS!! There is no beach breeze to keep the bugs at bay. We had an extremely nice pool, but couldn't use it between dusk and dawn because the Mosquitos where TERRIBLE!! The biggest, meanest, swarming Mosquitos I've EVER seen!! We had to sprint from the car to the door because of the bugs. Even during the day the tiny little red chigger bugs would drive you nuts!!
No waves. Sure, when a storm would come thru there would be a few waves, but the lack of waves killed it for us. Plus the water was so full of seaweed it wasn't pretty.
Now, we did spend some time in the bay and saw dolphins and found 1,000 hermit crabs. But it is much more lake-like. We went to Cap San Blas 2 days, and while there are waves the water is brown and NOT like the Destin blue water. The shells on the Cape were AWESOME!! I hope that this helps someone in there planning. Again, we had a great time, bug it wasn't what we had imagine. :D