Neighborhood Spotlight: St. James City
On the bottom tip of Pine Island, St. James City encapsulates the classic Old Florida feeling so you can enjoy a truly local flavor whether you visit for a few hours or set down roots for a few days. Easily accessible by water, it’s effortless to boat in and dock at a restaurant for a casual meal. Or choose a waterfront vacation home that includes a boat lift so you can while away your days fishing, island hopping and relaxing in this laid-back area.
Places like Waterfront Restaurant and Marina are so close to the water that you can literally pull up in a boat to dine on succulent peel-and-eat shrimp, creamy clam chowder, and hand-shucked Gulf oysters. Enjoy the shade of a wrap-around deck as you soak in those beautiful water views.
Get yourself to the Ragged Ass Saloon, accessible by boat or bike. Order a burger or fried seafood and a cold beer under the shadow of the tiki hut and watch the boats floating in the canal. Live music every weekend brings locals and visitors together — plus the open-air seating is entirely pet friendly.
Low Key Tiki certainly lives up to its name, with a welcoming outdoor vibe and serving casual burgers and tacos — or just bring your own catch of the day and their chefs will grill, fry, or blacken it to your taste. Come for the cold drinks, stay for the live music every week.
In between dining out, take time to explore the natural treasures of St. James City. Birders will delight in discovering the St. Jude Trail, a quiet spot tucked within the mangroves of a local harbor that’s part of the Great Florida Birding Trail and protected by the Calusa Land Trust.
Meander among the pet-friendly trails and flat boardwalk of Galt Preserve, where you can spot wildlife along your stroll through pine flatwoods. Bald eagles have nested here, and you’ll see a variety of other birdlife along the way — a perfect place to bring binoculars or snap photos.