Shell Island Fish Camp in St. Marks: Not Just for Fishermen

st. marks fish camp sunset
Another perfect sunset in St. Marks, as seen from Shell Island.

For me, fishing is mainly an excuse to be around boats and water. Catching something is almost irrelevant. Nevertheless, I love staying at Shell Island Fish Camp when I visit St. Marks.

You can’t beat toddling down to the marina’s store for a cup of coffee and enjoying it on the docks as the sun comes up. A knot of eager fisherman and boaters gather in front of the shop, mulling over the weather as they gas up, ready to get their crafts out into the river and on to the Gulf for the day’s adventures. Friendly regulars tell you fish tales about ones that got away and ones that didn’t. If you scrutinize the photos behind the coffeemaker, you’ll see one of the more remarkable ones that didn’t: A black bear cub rescued as it paddled, lost, through the water years ago. Ask any of the Shell Island employees about that saga: It’s a story you won’t want to miss.

Owned by the Hobbs family for more than 35 years, Shell Island is the oldest family-owned fish camp in Florida. People come for the speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, cobia, rock bass and redfish – you can rent a boat and a guide, if needed, or pay a small docking fee for your own – but I come for the Old Florida atmosphere, the proximity to the Tallahassee-St. Marks Rail Trail, and the incredibly serene waterfront views.

shell island

The rates aren’t bad, either: Motel rooms start at $55, while cabins and park model rentals offer even more space that’s perfect for groups or families. Cabins have two bedrooms, a kitchen and a screened porch and are heated and air-conditioned and start at $72.  Camping spots for RVs and tents are also available for $20 and $10, respectively.

Boats, with or without a guide, are available for rental at Shell Island.
Even non-fisherfolk can figure this out.
shell island
A shop with a view!
st marks
Views like this make it hard to leave St. Marks.

2 comments on “Shell Island Fish Camp in St. Marks: Not Just for Fishermen

  • George Morris says:

    My Brother and I have Been coming to Shell island
    since 1975 every year and its alawys the time of our life,even if we dont a single fish. Thanks to all at Shell Island Fish Camp for all the years of fun and fishing.

  • Bonnie Kinsey says:

    Shell Island Fish Camp – I am inquiring if you are hiring. Well versed on counter, reservations, sales, public relations. Seeking employment. Would be an asset to you business. Can start immediately. Thank you

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