Franklin County (Florida) : Apalachicola
Miles of uncrowded pristine beaches, an endless supply of protected shallow bays, excellent fishing and acres of National and State forests to explore. Finest oysters and seafood. Apalachicola or “Apalach“, as it is known by locals, is far from a typical tourist town. Established in 1831, it was once the third largest port on the Gulf of Mexico.Wide, tree lined streets are still graced by picturesque homes from the nineteenth and twentieth century that show the wealth and craftsmanship of its early days. Apalachicola has over 900 historic homes and buildings listed in its extensive National Register District and it was selected as one of the nation’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations in 2008 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Apalachicola is situated on the Apalachicola River and Bay. This basin encompasses what is considered one of the least polluted, most undeveloped, ecologically diverse systems left in the United States. The Apalachicola Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) oversees the health of this vast system. The ANERR is the second largest in the nation with over 246,000 acres under its protection. Apalachicola’s vibrant history and rich maritime culture can still be seen on its working waterfront. Buildings that once served as19th century ship’s chandleries, old net factories and a sponge warehouse now house a mix of eclectic and trendy shops, restaurants, galleries and meticulously restored hotels and B & B’s.
These locally owned and operated businesses create a quaint and friendly atmosphere for visitors as well as local residents. A grand theater lies in the center of town. Restored in 1997, the Dixie Theatre hosts professional theater and music January through March.
This unique city is noted for having some of the finest oysters, its bay oysters having a pure, mild, briny flavor that has been recognized by top chefs throughout the country.
Apalachicola harvests over 90% of the oysters sold in Florida and 10% of the nationwide supply. Smaller open bay boats, moored or trailered each day, tong for oysters in the many shallow areas of Apalachicola Bay.
Fishing vessels displaying proud patinas of years of service line the waterfront and regularly net fresh local shrimp and fish.
A diverse selection of acclaimed restaurants feature fresh, local, daily harvested seafood.
Unless you have a plane, in which case you could arrive at Apalachicola Regional Airport Template:IATA:AAF, you will need to arrive by car. Apalachicola lies on US-98/US-319. You can pick up US-319 through the national forest straight from Tallahassee (1.5 hours), and US-98 will lead in along the coast from Panama City (1 hour).
Apalachicola is small and easily seen on foot. It is laid back and very easy to navigate. Locals are glad to direct you wherever you need to go. Also there are boat and fishing tours available in the area.
Museums, Parks, and Theater
Apalachicola Historic District Over 900 homes and buildings are listed in our National Register District dating as far back as the 1830s. A scenic walking tour of the town acquaints visitors with sites such as cotton warehouses, which housed the City’s once prosperous cotton export during the 1800s, a sponge exchange and Victorian homes nestled amid the moss-draped live oak trees. A map is available at the Chamber office and Visitors Center located at 122 Commerce Street or download here.
Apalachicola Municipal Library Apalachicola Library is open 10:00 am - 6:00 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Wednesdays 10:00-12:00 and 1:00-6:00pm. Saturday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Books, audio books, local history and genealogy section, wireless internet access. 74 6th Street (850) 653-8436
Apalachicola Museum of Art The Greek Revival style Fry-Conter House, built in 1845 by Daniel Fry an illustrious riverboat captain, has been meticulously restored and now serves as the Apalachicola Museum of Art where temporary visual art exhibits can be viewed.5 Street and Avenue F (850) 653-2090
Apalachicola Maritime Museum The Maritime Museum has been re founded to celebrate and preserve the maritime history of Apalachicola in a hands-on learning environment with active sailing program and adventure programs, boat-building, restoration and educational programs. Collectively, the activities of the AMM will provide a glimpse into the rich and diverse history of the three rivers that come together to form the largest river in Florida, the Apalachicola. the maritime history of Apalachicola located at 103 Water Street, Apalachicola (850) 653-2500
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Encompassing over 246,000 acres in Apalachicola Bay , it is the 2nd largest Estuarine Research Reserve system in the nation. Nature Center is located at 108 Island Drive, Eastpoint east side of the St. George Island Bridge. Attractions include exhibits on the flora and fauna of the area and aquaria facility featuring a variety of local fish and turtles. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm (850) 670-7700.
Apalachicola National Forest 564,000 acres for birding, camping, boating, wildflower viewing, hunting, and fishing (850) 643-2282 Battery Park and the City Marina Boat launch, park with picnic tables and great playground Bay Avenue 4th-6th Streets(850) 653-9319
Chestnut Street Cemetery One of the most significant cemeteries on the Gulf Coast. Established in 1831, the stones tell the history of Apalachicola . Funerary art reflects the ethnic diversity of the community. Located on US Highway 98 between 6th and 8th Streets
Dixie Theatre Originally built in 1912, the Dixie Theatre became the entertainment center of Franklin County . Closed in 1967, it was rebuilt and opened once again in 1998. The Dixie now produces the best in Live Professional Theatre, and musical events as well providing an acoustically perfect rental space for other community functions. For information call (850) 653-3200
Dog Park Located at Avenue L and 17th Street, behind the old Apalachicola High School, is a city park especially for our furry friends. It's divided into 3 sections: a large dog area, a small dog area, and a "special" section. We expect the special area to be used by dogs or people that want to enjoy the park but don't want or need to be with other dogs and for people with small children to be with just their dog. That might be someone with a handicap, with an older dog, or with a dog that isn't yet socialized enough to be with the others. Each section has a double port gate and seating so people can "sit and stay" for a while. Water and trash cans are located in each area and the large and small dog sections share a big shade structure.
Fort Gadsden Historic Site Earthen embankments and interpretive kiosk, located on the east bank of the Apalachicola River, approximately 45 minutes north of Eastpoint, accessed by Highway 65. The site interprets the role of Native and African Americans during the early 1800s (850) 643-2282
John Gorrie State Museum Contains a replica of the first ice machine (predecessor to A/C) created by Dr John Gorrie in an attempt to cool his yellow fever patients. His invention later became the basis for the ice industry and air conditioning. Open Thursday-Monday 9:00am-5:00pm 6th Street and Avenue D (850) 653-9347 Lafayette Park Block long open park overlooking Apalachicola Bay with a large gazebo in the center, plus a long broad wooden pier, interpretive signs, picnic tables and playground Avenue B between 13th and 15th (850) 653-9319 Orman House Built in 1838 by Thomas Orman, the wood for this two-story home was cut to measure near Syracuse, New York and shipped to Apalachicola by sailing vessel around the Florida Keys, then assembled on the bluff overlooking the broad estuary and bay of the Apalachicola River. Today the house still resonates with a genteel aura and warmth of the past. Open Thursday-Monday 9:00am-5:00pm North Market Street (850) 653-1209 Raney House Museum Owned by the city of Apalachicola and on the National Register of Historic Homes, provides a glimpse of the life of cotton commission merchant and community leader David Greenway Raney. The Apalachicola Area Historical Society has furnished the 1838 home and gives tours to the public from 1 to 4 Tuesday-Friday and 9 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Donations or welcome, but not required. Historic museum is located on Market Street at the corner of Avenue F (850) 653-1700. Additional information
St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center St. Vincent Island is an unspoiled barrier island at the west end of Apalachicola Bay . The refuge is open during daylight hours. It is only accessible by boat and there are no facilities available. Open 10:00am-3:00pm Monday-Friday Visitor’s Center is located on the north end of Market Street in Apalachicola (850) 653-8808
Three Servicemen Statue Detail & Veterans Memorial Plaza Veterans Memorial Plaza was created in 2008 to honor veterans for their service to our country. The block-long park consists of the Circle of Freedom walkway and the striking Three Servicemen Statue Detail, a bronze sculpture by Fredrick Hart that depicts a realistic image of Vietnam servicemen.
Trinity Episcopal Church This Greek-Revival church, built in 1838, was prefabricated in White Plains New York and shipped in section by schooner to Apalachicola. Early church founders included Dr John Gorrie and botanist Dr Alvin Chapman.