Apalachicola, Fla.

The City of Apalachicola Florida is in Franklin County. The city sits at the mouth of the Apalachicola River covering fewer than three square miles. This stretch of Florida is often referred to as the Forgotten Coast because it has remained largely undeveloped. This town is a trip back in time to Old Florida.

Apalachicola is the Franklin County seat and is about 80 miles from the Florida state capital of Tallahassee. Originally, the Cottonton trading post, the town became West Point in 1827 and renamed Apalachicola in 1831. Before the railroad, this port was the third busiest on the Gulf.

Apalachicola Bay is rich with oysters and shrimp, the main income producer. Every day, shrimpers and oyster boats head out into the bay, which is protected by barrier islands St. George, St. Vincent, Dog Island and Cape St. George. Tourism is growing as more people seek out the quiet Florida experience, and U.S. Highway 98 runs through town along the coast.

The John Gorrie Museum celebrates the man who invented the ice machine, which morphed into the modern air conditioner. The Dixie Theater was prefabricated in New York and brought here in 1912, now recently rebuilt and the performing arts venue in Franklin County. Upcoming events are ArtWalk in March and the Antique Car and Boat Show in April. On the first week of November is the Florida Seafood Festival.

The Apalachicola National Forest covers more than half a million acres of unspoiled wilderness. Closer to town is St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge, with no facilities and only boat access for those wanting a Robinson Crusoe experience. Apalachicola Paddling Trail System is among the top in the country for canoe and kayak enthusiasts.

The small Apalachicola airport services private aircraft just west of town. Tallahassee has minimal airline service, while the new Florida Beaches International Airport near Panama City offers more options.

The pet-friendly Apalachicola River Inn offers upscale accommodation with a rooftop lounge on the riverfront. Historic Gibson Inn is a three-story Victorian mansion built in 1907, a southern charmer. Boating visitors can stay at the Water Street Hotel and Marina, actually an upscale condo with the latest amenities plus maid service. Highly rated Apalachicola restaurants include Tamara’s Cafe, Papa Joe’s Oyster Bar, Up The Creek Raw Bar and Boss Oyster. Plenty of seafood here.

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