By enjoyFloridaBeaches.com Staff October 6, 2015
Apalachicola is a charming and laidback beach community on the Florida Panhandle. This historic port town dates back to the early 1800's, and features an Old Florida vibe with a Cape Cod flavor, original architecture, restored B&Bs, mouth-watering seafood, pristine barrier islands, and awesome beaches.
Things to Do
In addition to easy access to some of the world's best beaches, Apalachicola is an excellent place for boating, fishing, cultural activities, and eco-adventures.
Apalachicola is one of the country's top twelve paddling destinations, according to Paddler magazine and the American Canoe Association. Paddlers enjoy unspoiled public lands and islands in St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, St. Vincent Island, and Cape St. George State Reserve. And inland from the bay, paddlers also enjoy 10 mapped paddling trails, with the most adventurous paddlers navigating 106 miles of the Apalachicola River, from the Jim Woodruff Dam to the city of Apalachicola.
As a historic Florida fishing town, Apalachicola has worked hard to preserve its history, providing visitors the opportunity to take it in at local museums and landmarks. Orman House Historic State Park, The Raney House Museum, Apalachicola Maritime Museum, and the John Gorrie Museum State Park are four of the top historic attractions.
The Orman House is a beautiful, antebellum home of a highly influential cotton merchant and businessman in Apalachicola from 1834 to the 1880s. The Raney House is a beautiful old Southern home that harkens back to the days when Apalachicola was the third busiest port on the Gulf of Mexico. The Apalachicola Maritime Museum features a hands-on learning environment with sailing and adventure programs, boat building, and educational programs. And the John Gorrie Museum State Park preserves the story of John Gorrie's life, who was a pioneer in the field of air conditioning and refrigeration, to help patients suffering from yellow fever.
St. George Island & Franklin County Beaches
Overall, Franklin County has a whopping 250 miles of award-winning, unspoiled coast. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park was ranked the #1 U.S. Beach in 2002 by Dr. Beach. And St. George Island State Park was ranked the #3 U.S. Beach in 2014.
Though there are several exquisite beaches surrounding Apalachicola, St. George Island is perhaps the most well known. Accessible by bridge, it has a vast stretch of sand on the Gulf side, and protected waters on the Apalachicola Bay side, along with a lush national forest. Both the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve and Apalachicola National Forest are perfect for spending a day immersed in nature.
Staying true to its Old Florida heritage, Apalachicola doesn't have chain hotels, with the exception of a highly rated Best Western. Other highly rated choices for accommodations include the Gibson Inn, Water Street Hotel & Marina, and Rancho Inn, which offer a variety of amenities. Vacation rentals are also available, offering more privacy.
B&Bs in Apalachicola further offer accommodations with historic and beach settings for visitors. The Coombs House Inn features historic decor, and was ranked one of the "30 Great Inns" in the U.S. by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Also, the Apalachicola River Inn offers relaxing views of the Apalachicola River, while featuring dining options that include Caroline’s River Dining, and the Boss Oyster Restaurant.
There are an abundance of restaurants in this small community of about 2,300 residents. And of course, seafood is on the menu of many eateries in this port town, especially oysters, since more than 90% of Florida's oysters come from Apalachicola Bay.
Owl Cafe, Up the Creek Raw Bar, and Up the Stairs are three of the top rated seafood restaurants in Apalachicola, with each of them featuring a unique and excellent dining experience.
With top rated beaches nearby, Apalachicola and the surrounding area offer outstanding locations for beach weddings, in addition to many local venues available for weddings and events.
Area wedding planners, such as Bayside Weddings & Events, can take care of every detail for couples saying, "I do." And local vendors can supply everything you need, including florists, bakers, caterers, musicians, officiants, and more.