Apalachicola, Florida

Apalachicola Florida Oyster Capital of Florida
Historic Apalachicola Florida

Apalachicola – Gem along the Forgotten Gulf Coast

(While Apalachicola sustained some damage from the October 2018 Hurricane Michael the town recovered quite quickly and is now fully open for business and entertainment)

Apalachicola Boardwalk
One of the fishing fleet tied up at the Apalachicola riverside boardwalk at the entrance to Apalachicola Bay.
Oyster City Brewing
Jo and I enjoyed some Oyster City Brewing nut brown ale out on the Brewery patio.

Apalachicola has a rich history, established in 1831, at one time it was the third largest port on the Gulf of Mexico. Cotton and timber shipments dominated its early economy. Later oysters and seafood became prominent industry. Today it retains some of this maritime prominence in that the Apalachicola Bay Estuary provides 90% of Florida’s oyster harvest, as well as shrimp, blue crab and other seafood varieties. Celebrating this maritime heritage, it annually hosts the Florida Seafood Festival, Florida’s oldest maritime event.

Many of Apalachicola’s former 18th and 19th century factories and warehouses have been restored and re-purposed into eclectic shops, galleries, restaurants, pubs, and B&Bs. An unusually large number of homes and buildings are on the National Historic Register, making Apalachicola a distinctive historic destination. We enjoyed walking around the downtown business district and nearby neighborhood seeing all the artful and sometimes humorous restorations of these old buildings and structures.

Apalachicola Historic District

At the visitor center we picked up a walking tour of the downtown area historic district. Got some good exercise walking around town seeing many homes and buildings over a hundred years old lovingly cared for. The Gibson Inn, pictured at the top of the page, was built in 1907 as a full service hotel and continues to this day.

Slide Show – A few of the many historic homes and buildings in Apalachicola

  • First Methodist Church 1901
    First Methodist Church 1901. The original 1846 church was destroyed in the May 1900 fire. Its replacement was built in 1901 and occupies a prominent position in the historic district.
  • Coombs Inn, 1905
    The Coombs Inn, 1905, was built by a local lumber magnate in 1905. This attractive Queen Anne style home is now a B&B
  • The Orman House, 1838
    The Orman House, 1838, is now a historic museum open for tours. Built in 1838 by wealthy merchant Thomas Orman, it overlooks the river and Veterans Memorial Park.
  • OE Cone Building, 1900
    The OE Cone Building, 1900. was built shortly after the 1900 fire that destroyed much of downtown Apalachicola by OE Cone, an African-American businessman. It now serves several gift shops including the Apalachicola Sponge Company.
  • Fort Coombs Armory Apalachicola
    The 1901 Fort Coombs Armory was used during military engagements until the first Iraqi War. Now being renovated as a community event center.

Slide Show – A few of Apalachicola’s unique shops, boutiques, and galleries

  • Apalachicola Boutiques
    Avenue E between Market St and Water St. offers several unique shops, boutiques, and galleries.
  • Wefing Hardware
    The old 1909 Weifing Hardware building is now Bowery Station, a pub and entertainment venue
  • waterstreet pottery
    One of many interesting galleries in Apalachicola, Water Street Pottery is in an old waterfront warehouse
  • Backstreet Trading Co
    This beautiful old store is now Backstreet Trading Company featuring a unique combination of features outdoor gear, accessories, hats, home decor and gifts. Their garden next door offers ceramics, yard art, fountains and plants
  • Hays House 1908
    The historic 1908 Hays House is now the gallery and residence of artist Amy Friedman

Apalachicola Restaurants

Best Restaurants in Apalachicola – See our Reviews

See our reviews of Up the Creek Raw Bar, Boss Oysters, and Hole in the Wall Seafood, plus our list of other top rated Apalachicola places to eat and imbibe.

Apalachicola Beach?

From our perspective the only thing missing in Apalachicola is the signature white sand beaches found at most other communities along the Gulf Coast Scenic Drive. Because of the large fresh water flow of the Apalachicola river and the barrier islands that help form the unique Apalachicola Bay Estuary, the shoreline is marshy rather than sandy.

But beach goers won’t have far to travel to get their beach experience. The bridge to St. George’s Island is only a few miles away where there is 20 miles of pristine beach on the Gulf. And if you are camping or RVing, St. George Island State Park occupies the far eastern end of the island.

Camping in or near Apalachicola

The closest campground for RVers visiting Apalachicola is at St. George Island State Park, which is hugely popular and very difficult to get in without reservations months in advance of your visit. Your next best bet is  Indian Pass Campground – see our review, about 21 miles away west of Apalachicola. However the city does allow overnight parking in a city lot north of downtown and we have found it a safe and convenient spot to boondock for a night or two while we are visiting and enjoying Apalachicola.

See our detailed Google Map of part 2 of 30A Scenic Gulf Drive.
See our detailed Google Map of part 2 of 30A Scenic Gulf Drive.

Travel and Tourism Links:

The portion of the Gulf Coast from the St. Joe’s Peninsula and east to Apalachicola and beyond calls itself the Forgotten Coast. So far what we’ve seen of it, we like it. We look forward to exploring further east and north to the communities of Carrabelle, SopChoppy, Shell Point and other places along the Forgotten Coast.