If you’re searching for a laid-back beach getaway with a rich coastal past, Florida’s Forgotten Coast is the perfect destination. Home to tons of historical sites and museums chock-full of interesting artifacts and relics, Franklin County is truly history buff heaven!
Considered a “distinctive destination” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Apalachicola is home to a handful of fascinating museums. While you’re here, be sure to stop by the John Gorrie Museum State Park, which documents the long-standing history of Apalachicola. Among other remarkable relics, this venue includes a replica of the ice machine created and patented in 1851 by Dr. John Gorrie. His brilliant invention ultimately became the basis for the ice industry and air conditioning.
Don’t forget to stop by Apalachicola’s two historic antebellum museums, The Raney House and The Orman House. Both built in 1838, these exquisite homes showcase 19th century furnishings, documents and artifacts, offering a glimpse into Apalachicola life in the 1800s. To explore the town’s rich nautical history, check out the Apalachicola Maritime Museum. Located in downtown Apalachicola, this museum offers a hands-on learning experience with exhibits featuring sailing, boat-building and boat restoration.
If you’re looking to learn more about Carrabelle’s history, you’re in luck! This picturesque coastal town is home to a couple of noteworthy museums. Swing by the Carrabelle History Museum to discover Carrabelle’s story as told through the memorabilia of its long-term residents. Here you’ll find everything from ancient pottery shards and fossils to arrest records, old yearbooks, newspapers and family photos.
To learn about Carrabelle’s military history, visit the Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum, established in 1942 to train amphibious soldiers. Before closing in June 1946, the camp trained more than a quarter of a million men.
For a more illuminating view of the Forgotten Coast’s past, visit Franklin County’s two historic lighthouses: Cape St. George Light on St. George Island and Crooked River Lighthouse at Carrabelle Beach. Each of these striking lighthouses reflect Franklin County’s long-standing coastal history, and both locations host special climbs on full moon evenings.
In Eastpoint, visit the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center to learn about the Apalachicola River and Bay, the area’s oyster industry and the diverse flora and fauna of the Forgotten Coast.
If you prefer to stroll through Apalachicola’s history at your own pace, grab a map for the Historic Apalachicola Walking Tour. This self-guided walking tour includes more than 900 historic homes and buildings dating back to the 1830. Pick up a map at the Visitor’s Center or download it here.
Of course, this is just a handful of the countless historical wonders Franklin County has to offer.
Ready for an eye-opening coastal history lesson? Come on down! The Forgotten Coast is open for the business of exploration.