You may wonder where the term "forgotten coast" was coined, and what it exactly means. It was first mentioned by the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce during the early 90s about the particular areas of the Florida panhandle that are forgotten by tourists, including:
What many who seek larger beaches and more densely crowded areas in Florida don't know is that this forgotten part of the state offers so much to its visitors. From pristine beaches of St. George Island to the winding and peaceful waters of Crooked River. Explore some of Florida's history in this region for a vacation that, despite the name, won't be easily forgotten. It is recommended that you call the attractions on this list to check for availability and open times.
1. Apalachicola Historic District
The town of Apalachicola is an old one, with much history to tell. The Apalachicola Historic District holds a place on the National Register of Historic Places, and evidence of its history can be noted in the buildings around the town, dating back as far as the 1830s. Take a scenic walk through Apalachicola's town center, where there are plenty of historic homes and structures to be spotted by visitors with a keen eye. From cotton warehouses, used to export the masses of cotton that came in and out of the ports, to old houses dating back to the Antebellum period. There are a total of 652 historic buildings in Apalachicola. Every year in May, the Trinity Episcopal Church will host walking tours that will point out the most notable buildings, and what they were used for.
2. Apalachicola Maritime Museum
Before we discuss the museum, let us first talk about Apalachicola. There are three rivers that all run into one another to make up what is known as the Apalachicola River in the state of Florida. At the Apalachicola Maritime Museum, visitors are allowed to learn about the resource and the effect it has left on the history of Apalachicola. The museum uses fun interactive activities such as boat tours, kayak trips, sunset cruises, and other adventuresque activities to teach all of its learners about the river and the ecosystem that allows it to thrive to this day. The activities at the Apalachicola Martin Museum are inclusive for adults and children, making it a great option for families visiting the area.
3. Apalachicola Chocolate & Coffee Company
The Apalachicola Chocolate & Coffee Company is a must for those with a sweet tooth and is open Sunday through Wednesday from 8 am to 6 pm. The Apalachicola Chocolate & Coffee Company make all of their sweets, and their menu often includes:
- Handmade Truffles
- Handmade Fudge
- Handmade Caramels
- Handmade Chocolates
The shop offers homemade ice cream and gelato that can be served on waffle cones, pastries, loaves of bread, and cakes for special occasions. They also serve traditional house-brewed coffee to those visiting the shop, alongside some tasty soups and sandwiches for lunch.
4. Cape St. George Light
First constructed in 1833 as a literal beacon of light for ships at sea built on Little St. George Island in Cape St. George, the original Cape St. George Light collapsed in 2005 and fell into the Gulf of Mexico after serving its purpose for centuries. Beach erosion and large waves that often accompany the proximity of the sea were the culprits of its demise. After the lighthouse fell, the St. George Lighthouse Association worked tirelessly to gain funding to rebuild and using as many of the original materials as they could salvage, the lighthouse was finally reconstructed, using the original plans from the National Archives. According to the original plans, inside the lightkeeper's house (which was reconstructed) there is a small museum that tells the entire history of the place. Visitors of the lighthouse are free to walk the grounds and can climb to the top of the lighthouse to enjoy the view.
5. Allegro Sailing
Visitors of the Florida coast can get great views of the water like never before with Allegro Sailing. The chartered boat rentals are captained and used to serve a variety of needs of their customers. Looking for a full day or even a half day of fun in the sun on the water, gusts can choose either option of a fishing excursion with a seasoned guide who knows all of the best spots. Not into fishing, but still want to enjoy the water? Take the whole family on a cruise to see the coast and the islands, featuring an island barbecue top midway through the trip. For a touch of romance, take the gorgeous sunset cruise, or the full moon rising cruises for a unique experience. All cruises take place on either a 30-foot-long catamaran or a powerboat.
6. Oyster City Brewing Company
Known by the moniker Oyster City, Apalachicola is famous for its fishing communities and the famous Apalachicola Bay Oysters that are found there daily. They are shipped all over the country, and they are served in some of the finest restaurants in the US. Oyster City Brewing Company celebrates its history and industry with great beers that will compliment plates of salty oysters well. Oyster City Brewing Company is a great place to stop and enjoy a great beer during any vacation.
7. John Gorrie Museum State Park
In the 1830s, a young doctor John Gorrie moved to Apalachicola and became a prominent member of the community. During that time he held positions such as postmaster, bank director, and councilman. He had patients that were diagnosed with yellow fever and grew concerned about creating methods of cooling their sick rooms. His work paid off and he was able to produce a machine that created ice, the foundation for modern refrigeration and air conditioning. At the John Gorrie Museum State Park, tourists can learn about Gorrie's life and his work all in one, while being able to observe examples of some of his inventions.
8. Fort Gadsden Historic Site
First built during the war of 1812, Fort Gadsden was originally known as Prospect Bluff, a sight of a horrific massacre. During this accident, guns from a ship hit the ammunition room and caused a devastating explosion. In 1818, a new Fort was built atop the ruins of the old one under the supervision of Lt. James Gadsden. Its purpose was to serve as a US base inside Spanish territory, remaining active until 1821, when Florida became part of the US. Presently, the Fort is long gone, and what now stands is a peaceful park area better known as the Fort Gadsden Historic Site, accessible by road and floating along the Apalachicola river.
9. Carrabelle History Museum
The Carrabelle History Museum has amassed a collection of photos, documents, keepsakes, house goods, furniture, and other artifacts to preserve the history of the community. This museum has been open to the public since 2009, and is located within the old City Hall of Carrabelle. The space contains four rooms for educational and cultural exhibitions. A few highlights of their collection include:
- Tarpon, a historic steamship
- Native American displays
Vincent National Wildlife RefugeOriginally created to protect waterfowl and other species of migratory birds, the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge helps to preserve their habitats. Operating since 1968, this massive refuge (12,492 acres) includes two small islands, alongside two mainland areas, maintaining its reputation as a peaceful place for wildlife and humans alike. Various species of animals including bald eagles, sea turtles, and red wolves all call this sanctuary home. There are also various ecosystems like the natural barrier island dunes and the salt marshes that serve as habitats for these creatures. There are several beautiful and durable walking trails, as well as hiking trails for those who wish to explore the refuge. The option for kayaking and fishing on the waters is also an option.
10. Weber's Little Donut Shop
Not aptly named as it truly is very little in size, Weber's Little Donut Shop should be searched for by visitors of St. George with a sweet tooth. With its corrugated walls of metal, this tiny shop surly packs a punch with amazing donuts that are only $1 a piece. Are you a fan of dense flavorful donuts? Weber's Little Donut Shop specializes in cake donuts that are freshly made every single morning. Arrive around opening time (between 7 and 7:30 am) for pastries still hot from the fryer!
For more local information on the Forgotten Coast of Florida, check out our website about further advanced searches of popular areas.