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“Rustic Getaway”

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Old Saltworks Cabins
Destin, Fl
Level Contributor
28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Rustic Getaway”
Reviewed July 29, 2007

Staying here is somewhere between camping and a hotel. The cabins are rustic, but nice and generally clean. We stayed in the "South" cabin, which is one of the smaller ones. It was OK for 2 adults & 2 kids. Bring lots of bug spray; we couldn't even sit on the screen porch because bugs came up through from below between the deck boards!

We brought a small boat and went scalloping from the Saltworks bay access. Scalloping was good, but be aware of the tides. We were out about 4 hours. The water was about a foot deep when we left, but the pier was high and dry when we returned so we had to drag the boat about 200 yards across wet sand. There were three kyaks available for use at the pier.

Here are a few comments about the Cape San Blas area:

--Bring food & drinks. There are only one or two resturants and convienence stores in the area. Port St. Joe is the closest city at about 15 miles drive.

--Bring lots of bug spray.

--Summer is very hot & humid, with afternoon thunderstorms almost every day.

--You need a permit to drive on the beach.

--Best beaches are in the State Park at the end of the road.

--There are no nightlife activities, everything pretty much closes up at dark.

--Best boat launch is in Port St. Joe or in the State Park, both can accomodate most average size boats and are not very steep. Presnell's Marina rents boats and has a launch for small shallow draft boats (Presnell's closed at 6 when we were there, and at low tied the approach into the marina can be less than a foot deep!).

--If you snorkel use a dive flag, Florida strictly enforces the dive flag requirement.

  • Liked — Rustic getaway away from the crowds
  • Disliked — bugs
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Holland850
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York
Level Contributor
65 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 199 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2007

My husband and I and our two little dogs stayed in a precious little cabin at this wonderful place for a week in May. It was our first trip to this part of Florida and I have to say that I am so delighted that we found not only the "forgotten coast", but The Old Saltworks as well. I truly feel that I have finally found a place that I can go to in order to experience solitude and to just truly, completely relax.

The Old Saltworks is situated on a beautiful, unspoiled, tropical piece of paradise between the gulf and the bay. The grounds were thick with lush tropical foliage and just absolutely alive with nature. There are nature trails on the grounds and a dock which leads out into the bay with kayaks available for your use.

We stayed in the Lee Cabin, which is located on the bay but nestled in the tropical foliage, has a private gazebo and an outdoor shower. Since we planned to arrive late, we let the owners know and they left the key in our door with it open. This, to me, was a sign that I had entered a place far, far away, where doors could be left unlocked and one can feel safe. The cabin itself was nice and clean, well stocked with dishes, cookware, appliances and plenty of towels and soap. We did most of our food shopping at the Piggly Wiggly in the town of St. Joe, about 20-25 minutes away by car.

Be prepared for a rustic vacation. Our cabin was not luxurious by any means, but it met our basic needs and was a cozy place to rest after a day of activities. We adored the screened in porch, and loved to open all of the doors (there were 2 sets of double doors, both facing the bay; one in the living room/kitchen combo and one in the bedroom) which allowed us to enjoy the breeze off of the bay throughout the cabin.

Being that it is such a tropical place surrounded by water, insects are abundant. We applied insect repellant regularly and had no problem.

Kayaking in the bay was very enjoyable and relaxing. The water is so clear we could see to the sandy bottom. Plenty of fish, crabs, conch and other sea life abound. At low tide, many interesting shells can be found. I was amazed at how far out the tide actually goes! We loved going out for a "walk in the bay", wearing our water shoes and collecting all sorts of interesting shells.

Because of the lack of lighting (there are rules regarding lights in effort to protect the sea turtles) the night sky here was breath taking. A clear night is a star gazers dream come true!

If you are one who loves wildlife or if you are an avid bird watcher, this is the place for you. On an early morning drive through nearby Indian Pass, we saw a herd of wild boar crossing the street. During our stay we also saw deer, a bobcat, countless pelicans and herons (among many other species of birds), dolphins in the gulf and baby otters frolicking in the bay!

The owners of The Old Saltworks, Lanny and Rachel Blair, were very warm and welcoming to us, and could not have been more helpful. They guided us to local points of interest and were always available if we needed them. They are quite busy about the grounds and such, so you will rarely find them in the office. There are printed instructions in the office, which is always open, on how to reach them. The cabins do not have phones, but there is a landline available for local calls in the office. I purchased a calling card to make long distance calls, since my cell service on the island wasn't always available. It took some time to get used to being so disconnected, but how soothing it became!

The nearby white sand beaches of the gulf were vast and immaculate. The beach by the lighthouse, about a half mile or so from the cabins, was interesting with all of its driftwood and remnants of structures from storms gone by. We highly recommend a visit to St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, where beautiful high, pristine white sand dunes can be seen.

Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas are very pet-friendly. This is why I chose this destination in the first place, since we are "pet parents" and we always travel with our dogs. I'm not sure why one of the previous reviewers made a negative reference to pets. Unfortunately, there are some irresponsible pet owners (everywhere) which have often made things more difficult for the rest of us who do keep our dogs on leashes and pick up after them. We did not notice any messes left behind by other dogs, nor did we encounter anyone else with their dog off leash during our stay. We certainly hope that this area remains as pet friendly as it is. We also would like to add that we had no problem with fleas in our cabin or on our dogs.

I would also like to address what the same reviewer mentioned about people being allowed to drive on the beach. This is true, and it is with good reason. There are some very kind hearted wildlife volunteers that patrol the beaches for loggerhead turtle nests, take various actions to protect them, and then routinely monitor them. There are also others who rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. We witnessed the rescue of an injured bird firsthand. It was very heart warming.

I just want to say thank you to Lanny and Rachel for an unforgettable vacation. We cannot wait to return next year!

  • Liked — How rustic and secluded it is. It's all about nature.
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank baybay2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boone, NC
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed May 27, 2007

My husband and I like secluded vacations, which is why we picked the St. Joseph Peninsula. The beach lived up to its reputation: beautiful water & sand, with very few people. We visited in Mid-May and on a mile of beach, there would be a maximum of a dozen people. We saw a sea turtle, dolphins, pelicans and sandpipers, and overall had a very relaxing week.

We stayed at the "Guest House" of Salt Works Cabins. It's located close to the owner's home, in a more breezy location than the other cabins. (That means less bugs!) It has a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, dining room & screened porch. There's a washer/dryer, TV/DVD player & the kitchen is fully stocked with plates, silverware, pans, etc. It's conveniently located on Cape San Blas, just a few miles from the state park and just a few blocks down from another public beach. We really enjoyed staying there.

In terms of cleanliness, the kitchen & bathroom had been cleaned, and there were clean linens on the bed & towels in the bathroom. However, as the first reviewer stated, there was a thick layer of dust on things like lamps, picture frames, ceiling fans, plants. The cleaners wipe down the tables, but must ignore the knick-knacks. Once we got used to that, we had a comfortable stay. It's not fancy, but it's quiet, private & peaceful. (Which we loved.)

I notice another reviewer mentioned fleas in their cabin. Old Saltworks is pet-friendly, but there were no signs of fleas in the Guest House.

When we arrived, there was no one in the office. (I think this is pretty typical. It's probably only staffed during their busy season, in July.) However, when we paged the owners they came immediately. They weren't particularly friendly, but they did fulfill our requests for some items that we needed in the cabin.

If you're looking for great customer service or fancy accommodations, this isn't the place for you. If you're pretty self-sufficient and like a quiet, secluded place, I recommend the Guest House. We were satisfied with our stay.

There are TONS of vacation homes for rent along Cape San Blas. Those accommodations are definitely newer and probably cleaner. Paradise Coast Vacation Rentals manages many of them, if you're seeking a lodging alternative:
[--]

Wherever you stay in the area, I highly recommend you eat at Tamara's Cafe in Apalachicola. It was some of the best food I've ever had.

Stayed May 2007
Helpful?
10 Thank Mountainsssss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GA
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2007

We were so excited about our spring break vacation. It is always a highlight of the year. I was late on making reservations, but we had seen this place on a previous day trip and always wanted to stay, so we considered ourselves lucky to have gotten a confirmation of our dates. It boasted almost everything we were looking for: water activities, seclusion, and fresh seafood. Entertainment wasn't high on the list as my family is not easily bored, although we have 2 preteens.
When we arrived at the cabins, we were greeted with a slip of paper on the door of the office telling us that the key was in the door. So we went right in!
Right into Hell. The door was wide open (key in the lock) and a good thing, too, as the smell was a little more than bad. I never considered that the place would not be clean. I should have realized why the owners were not around. We moved on in because we were 8 hours from home and had no other place nearby to go. My husband promised to clean the cabin after a good night's sleep. The cabin next door still had lights on and the door open (key in the lock) from the day we arrived until we left.
There was no good night's sleep, but he did spend 5 hours cleaning a 2 room cabin the following day while the kids and I spent time on the beach. We came back with sunburns and as I tried to call mom on the cell (service is spotty on the Cape), I noticed black flecks on my feet. No gnats or ants here, but FLEAS! We spent the rest of the evening on the screened porch while my husband cooked on the grill. The porch and the beach became our safe havens. Once in the bed, it was difficult to read my book without fleas jumping on the pillows and sheets and book pages. 2 days to go...do we stay or do we go...We checked the refund policy. It states that the refund will be 2 weeks in processing. Can't go somewhere else, don't want to go home--we only get 2 weeks vacation per year.
The following day we tried to contact the owners. That means you go to the office, dial their pager number, and wait for them to call you back. Meanwhile, you can look at the keys to all the other cabins in the park. He called back saying he was not at his home at the time (probably at the Dollar Tree picking up supplies), he said he'd come by later. Back to the beach, then the porch, then into bed. By now we are sharing 2 towels, as we used 1 for cleaning and 1 for a bath mat in the bathroom.
Day 3 we met the owner gabbing with some new customers who had just checked in. "Oh yeah! I THOUGHT we had someone staying in that cabin! I'm Lanny, I guess you could call me 'Mr. Saltworks'"" It didn't seem appropriate to lash into him like the fleas had done to my husbands arms and my son's legs in front of his new customers, but we would be leaving the following day and the only recourse I had was to post these tips:
*Florida's Forgotten Coast is best Forgotten.
*There is a reason most beaches don't allow pets.
*Folks at Cape San Blas are allowed to drive on the beach so watch out where you put your towel (my son now knows about condoms), and don't EVER spend a night at the Old Saltworks Cabins!
*If you have money to spend and still want to go to this area, try
The Club at Cape San Blas; snooty people, but nice development.
*The lighthouse is a beautiful location. Too bad we couldn't sleep there!
*Coneheads, near the entrance to the state park has great food!

We have great memories, but if you are looking for a stay at Old Saltworks, look somewhere else.

  • Liked — beach/bay access
  • Disliked — unclean, fleas
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank familyplanning
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Harbor, FL
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2005

The Old Saltworks Cabins are on the site of an old Confederate Saltworks. They are on the bay side of Cape San Blas on a beautiful secluded piece of property. The owners were very nice. They provide kayaks for guests use. We only stayed a couple of nights & the only cabins available for daily rental are the North & South cabins. We stayed in the South cabin because it had a separate kitchen area. The cabin was functional & comfortable. It had a screened porch w/ a swing. We looked in one of the bigger cabins and it was much nicer & had a lot more amenities including an outdoor shower for when you come in from the beach. The kitchen & bathroom in our cabin were clean - the only real housekeeping issue was the need for some dusting (don't look up at the ceiling fan!) Also, the TV in our cabin wasn't working. Be sure to bring food if you go as there are practically no restaurants on Cape San Blas. The beaches are stunningly beautiful - the only problem is if it rains there's really nothing else to do because of the secluded location. There is a LOT of new construction going on so this may be changing soon.

  • Stayed November 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank PalmHarborTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Old Saltworks Cabins

Property: Old Saltworks Cabins
Address: 1085 Cape San Blas Rd, Port Saint Joe, FL 32456-4612
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Panhandle > Port Saint Joe
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Port Saint Joe
Number of rooms: 11
Also Known As:
Old Saltworks Cabins Hotel Port Saint Joe

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