Florida's Forgotten Coast is a Great Looper's Layover

 

Franklin County, FL

This Preferred Destination is just two hours south of Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, and remains a remote and quiet family-friendly destination famed for its fresh seafood and shell-rich white sand beaches.

Franklin County, along Florida’s Northern Gulf Coast, is a boater’s oasis with hundreds of miles of freshwater creeks, sloughs and rivers that empty into tranquil bays and out to the Gulf of Mexico. Dubbed Florida’s "Forgotten Coast," the area’s pristine bays and Gulf waters support a seafood and water-based eco-tourism industry in the coastal communities of Apalachicola, Carrabelle, Eastpoint, Alligator Point and St. George Island.

 

Franklin County, FL

The area is also growing in popularity with Loopers who find the quiet anchorages a welcome layover on their Gulf leg of the Great Loop waterway journey. Many marinas, docks and anchorages along the coast here feature amenities perfect for transiting vessels.

 

Apalachicola

Franklin County, FL

The Apalachicola River and Bay is one of the most ecologically diverse systems in the United States. Many of Apalachicola’s wide tree-lined streets are graced by picturesque architecture from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Over 900 historic homes and buildings are listed in its extensive National Register District.

Public dockage is available at the Battery Park Marina and other city-owned riverfront docks for small vessels shuttling in from anchorage sites at the mouth of the river. Battery Park and the City Marina maintain multiple launch ramps, slips, a fishing pier and a great playground. Water Street Hotel & Marina has supplies and ice, boat cleaning, bathhouses, pool access and on-site parking. Apalachicola Marina, Inc. accommodates vessels up to 100 feet and provides a ship store, ice, non-ethanol fuel and diesel. Scipio Creek Marina offers dry boat storage, pump-out station, ship’s store, slips and shower facilities. 

A layover in Apalachicola is an experience rich in maritime heritage, cuisine and art. Historic homes and pre-civil war brick warehouses serve as homes, elegant inns, gourmet restaurants and eclectic boutiques and galleries. Everything is walkable here. Stroll along the wide streets or hole up along the waterfront and enjoy the music scene in pubs and local eateries.

 

Franklin County, FL

Local restaurants are one of the main reasons to visit here. The Owl Café is a downtown favorite when the Southeast Bonanza Society holds a fly-in lunch. The Franklin Café at the Gibson Inn is also popular, as is the Oyster City Brewing Company's brew pub nearby. The Up the Creek Raw Bar is recommended by locals and Apalachicola Seafood Grill, established in 1903, is famous for the “world’s largest fish sandwich.”

 

 

Eastpoint

 

Franklin County, FL

Across the bay from Apalachicola, Eastpoint is a great place to grab a beer at Oyster City Brewing Company or The Eastpoint Brewery. This area also features rustic seafood houses right on the water and fresh seafood markets like Lynn’s Quality Oysters, which is family owned like many of the businesses here. There are RV parks here, two boat ramps, Fisherman’s Choice full-service bait and tackle shop, fresh seafood restaurants, casual fare and Brag-n-Bones outdoor BBQ eatery that serves great brisket and steaks!

 

 

St. George Island

 

Franklin County, FL

Just offshore of Eastpoint sits St. George Island, a 22-mile barrier island with a unique lighthouse. This island hosts some of Florida’s most beautiful white sand beaches that are often littered with shells, including oysters, scallops, arks, cockles, and carditas. On other days sponges are everywhere – gnarly and twisted Dead Man’s Fingers, basket sponges, or vase sponges.

There’s a protected anchorage spot on the bayside of St. George Island but don’t expect to walk to amenities from this anchorage. It’s not far from the Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park which boasts some of the best camping facilities in the region.

St. George Island State Park has nine miles of pristine shoreline, majestic dunes, a bay forest, sandy coves and salt marshes. Spend the day exploring a series of hiking trails, boardwalks and observation platforms. There are also more than 200+ geocache sites along the coast between Alligator Point and the western edge of Franklin County—including Bald Point State Park on Alligator Point and St. George Island State Park. 

 

 

Carrabelle

 

Franklin County, FL

Heading east, Carrabelle is about 30 nautical miles from Apalachicola and it’s a must stop spot on the coastal rim route for Loopers. Carrabelle features three public commercial marinas along the Carrabelle River. MS Dockside Marina & Boatyard, C-Quarters and The Moorings Marina are all located within walking distance of restaurants, a grocery and sites of interest, and all three offer either fuel or service facilities. There is public dockage along the river and a private boat club nearby on Timber Island.

 

Fishing

 

Franklin County, FL

Carrabelle is considered the premier spot for fishing enthusiasts because of its easy access to offshore fishing and boating. The town features a natural deep-water harbor plus a nearby renowned golf resort. The nearby Crooked River Lighthouse reminds you of the town’s maritime importance and features monthly full moon climbs.

All over the region fishermen are a part of the beach culture and reel in whiting, trout, redfish catfish. Don’t be surprised when you pull in a small shark – maybe a little hammerhead or a sand shark. They are an accepted and respected part of the Gulf community. Female sea turtles nest on the beaches starting in May, and hatchlings are out of their eggs by the end of October.

Franklin County clearly has much to offer. We hope to see you there…