The Forgotten Coast is a stretch of stunning coastal beach towns that share the same sugary white sand as the rest of Florida but just lack the crowds. The five towns we will be discovering more of today are Apalachicola, Mexico Beach, St. George Island, Port St. Joe, and Cape San Blas. These beach towns are lesser known that you should keep on your radar. Unlike many other beach towns in the rest of Florida, the beaches aren't hidden behind homes and other infrastructure. It makes it easier to enjoy the peaceful views of the warm ocean waves, and virgin beaches everywhere you turn. The paradise on the Panhandle of Florida these five tranquil towns have to offer are known for local charm, fishing, and great seafood. Without further ado, let us take a deep dive into these five coastal towns and what makes them unique in their ways.
Apalachicola is an Old Florida charming fishing town brimming with rich history, hip breweries, and delicious fresh-seafood restaurants. One of the largest cities on the Forgotten Coast, and yet is unspoiled and a contrast from the glamor of other cities in Florida. You will find an old southern charm in the historic downtown and tranquil coastline lined with shrimp and oyster boats docked at their ports. Apalachicola is known as the Oyster Capital of the world, meaning there are many fun restaurants where you can unwind, and relax while enjoying a cold brew in hand.
Where to Eat in Apalachicola
-Owl Creek Cafe. Located in a beautiful vintage building on the second floor, enjoy the relaxed view of the water while dining on American seafood. Items on the menu at Owl Creek Cafe have selections that range from exotic imported dishes to fresh, locally-caught seafood. There is a wine list that has as much character as Apalachicola itself, delivering the perfect complement to every meal.
-Up the Creek Raw Bar. Locals can choose to eat on a patio overlooking the water or dine on eclectic eats indoors. At Up the Creek Raw Bar, you can find items on the menu featuring foods from vegetarian to upscale entrees. This casual restaurant offers a laid-back atmosphere and its items are all part of exciting culinary trends.
-Olde Time Soda Fountain. A wonderful place to enjoy time with your family, Olde Time Soda Fountain features classic soda fountain ice cream, and a large variety of gift shop items, souvenirs, and dog treats for your furry four-legged friends.
What to Do in Apalachicola
-Discover what makes Apalachicola rich in history at the Cape St George Lighthouse & Museum, Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Raney House Museum.
-Grab a beer and a warm meal at Oyster City Brewing Co.
-Tour over 900 historic homes and buildings in old Florida dating back to 1830 at the Apalachicola Historic District.
-Plan a local beach day with fun in the water at St. George Island.
2. Mexico Beach
Many buildings have been revamped with the addition of new local hot spots popping up all over Mexico Beach, Florida. Referred to as the "Mayberry on the Water" Mexico Beach is made up of 5 miles of white sand, and only one stoplight. This small-town coastal spot is a hidden gem in the Florida Panhandle. If you are looking for R&R lounging on the beach with a drink in your hand, then the serene environment that Mexico Beach provides may be for you!
Where to Eat in Mexico Beach
-Killer Seafood. This restaurant provides seafood-shack eats. Killer Seafood has everything from grilled fish tacos to fried shrimp baskets!
-Caribbean Coffee LLC. This laid-back cafe provides a colorful environment. Caribbean Coffee serves a variety of coffee and teas, and if you are feeling hungry, they also serve pastries and sandwiches.
-Shell Shack. Known for serving the best local seafood in Mexico City, Shell Shack has been in business since 1965. Here, you can have your pick among fresh or steamed shrimp, fish, and many other types of delicious fresh catches from the Florida ocean.
What to Do in Mexico Beach
-Book a guided fishing trip with Mexico Beach Marina.
-Paddle on rivers, canals, and bays to explore wildlife.
-If you want to explore the ocean at a closer glance, Mexico Beach is the best place to scuba dive.
3. Port St. Joe
Port St. Joe is a small beach town with a big heart. Now a charming, small fishing village, this town is walkable and an ideal getaway for travelers in search of a peaceful environment. Port St. Joe has many charter companies that provide access to the best off-shore fishing along the Gulf. This town on the Panhandle of Florida is known best for its famous speckled trout, redfish, and tarpon, offering the perfect fishing expedition.
Where to Eat in Port St. Joe
-Pepper's Mexican Grill & Cantina. This restaurant is a casual eatery with familiar, homestyle Mexican dishes. Pepper's offers foods such as seafood and vegetarian options for those that don't want meat in their meal. To add to the ambiance of the laid-back environment, there is a full-time cantina offering many drinks.
-Indian Pass Raw Bar. There is a neighborhood hangout feel associated with Indian Pass Raw Bar. Here, you can find beer, oysters, and other seafood in a relaxed, self-serve atmosphere.
-No Name Cafe. This easygoing cafe offers a serene environment surrounded by the comfort of books. At No Name Cafe, you will be offered drinks, and light fare in a comfortable space alongside reading nooks.
What to Do in Port St. Joe
-Visit in September and stop by to check out the seasonal Port St. Joe Scallop, Music and Arts Festival.
-Enjoy the stunning scenery of the beach on horseback with Rockin M Ranch.
-Get some holes and book tee time at the St. James Bay Golf Course.
4. St. George Island
This barrier island is serene and a conveniently short distance from the Florida coast. St. George Island is the perfect spot for fishing, hiking, and biking, a picture-perfect place for outdoor junkies. This destination is perfect for young families, and perfect for exploring by golf cart as it is less than 30 miles long!
Where to Eat on St. George Island
-Paddy's Raw Bar. This upbeat waterfront restaurant embraces all that St. George Island is. Paddy's Raw Bar has daily live entertainment, along with a variety of freshly caught seafood and draft beers.
-Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe. This oceanfront eatery has an easygoing environment that is family-friendly with a stunning view. Tropical drinks along with a tiki backdrop can be found at the Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe offers outdoor seating along with the best seafood St. George Island has to offer.
-Harry A's. This restaurant is busy in its setting, hosting karaoke, DJs, and live music. Harry A's is casual with an outdoor seating option. For those who are land lovers of food, they offer steak as well as a wide selection of seafood. There is a cocktail menu that pairs nicely with any entree you want.
What to Do on St. George Island
-The perfect place for a picnic with family or friends, as well as an evening cookout is at the St. George Island State Park.
-Rent a golf cart and explore the quaint town of St. George Island in style and fun!
-For some afternoon shopping after lunch, check out Seaside Cotton.
5. Cape San Blas
A 17-mile peninsula that is an extension of St. Port Joe between the stunning scenery of the Gulf of Florida and St. Joseph Bay is where you can find the quiet beaches of Cape San Blas. For a weekend or a lifetime of seclusion and relaxation. Here you will find endless water activities, sandy beautiful beaches, and many wonderful places to eat.
Where to Eat in Cape San Blas
-Shipwreck Raw Bar. This laidback restaurant has the theme of a ship as its setting. At Shipwreck Raw Bar you can find shrimp, oysters, and other seafood served alongside beer and wine to bring out the flavors of the sea.
-Skully's Low Country Boil. Posing as a Southern-style restaurant, you will find that the best item on the menu at Skully's Low Country Boil is the southern style boil. Here, you can find a mix of fresh-caught seafood such as shrimp, and oysters alongside other items on the menu like Cajun-style smoked sausage.
-Long Bills. The freshest Gulf of Mexico seafood, Long Bills is a family-friendly restaurant and atmosphere. Paired with an oceanside dining view of white sandy beaches, this restaurant specializes in many other food items to offer than seafood for those who want land-loving food.
What to Do in Cape San Blas
-Explore the tranquil sandy beaches on rented horseback with Broke-A-Toe rental.
-Find fun late-night beach bonfires with Going Coastal Cabanas and More.
-Explore the beauty and history of the Cape San Blas Lighthouse with a hike.
For further information on the top five places to live and explore on the Forgotten Coast, check out our website.