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Apalach Adventures: Top 5 Activities in the Panhandle’s Hippest Port Town

By Forgotten Coast Web Team | July 12, 2019

Kids looking at the memorial statue in Apalachicola

If you’re planning a getaway to Apalachicola, you’re in for a real treat. Lovingly called “Apalach” by locals, this picturesque port town is chock full of hometown warmth, friendly folks and rich maritime history.

Apalachicola has managed to preserve its historical charm while evolving into a hip destination abounding with world-class restaurants, arts and culture and a thriving nightlife. Nestled on the mouth of the Apalachicola River, this small coastal city features a beautifully restored historic district unlike any other in the Sunshine State. Visitors will discover unique boutiques, first-class eateries, art galleries and energetic music venues tucked away in tin-roofed brick warehouses. It’s a delightful fusion of old and new.

Although Apalach is a laid-back town, there are endless things to see and do here. Whether you’re planning a family-friendly summer vacation or a romantic fall retreat, be sure to check out these top five Apalachicola activities:

#1. Get Your Claws on Fresh, Local Seafood.

The Forgotten Coast is renowned for local seafood, from blue crabs and shrimp to fresh-caught fish and, of course, our world-famous Apalachicola oysters. Be sure to swing by 13 Mile Seafood Market for the freshest catches, all caught by local fisherman. This pet-friendly market also serves up smoked fish dip, flounder, grouper, crabs, mullet, clams and steamed shrimp.

If you’re craving an upscale seafood dinner, look no further than The Franklin. Located inside the Gibson Inn, this culinary destination spotlights local seafood and farmers, re-imagining familiar favorites by fusing Japanese, French and Southern cuisines. Tamaras Café, a chic Apalachicola eatery, also features fresh seafood caught daily by local fisherman, blending modern Florida flavor with South American flair.

Offering river view dining, the Owl Café also dishes out fresh, local seafood in addition to steaks, pastas and homemade desserts. Of course, this is just a small sampling of the incredible seafood eateries in Apalachicola. Check out a full list of local restaurants.

#2. Travel Back in Time to Old Florida.

Considered a “distinctive destination” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Apalachicola includes a number of memorable museums. While you’re here, be sure to stop by the John Gorrie Museum State Park, which documents the long-standing history of Apalachicola. Featuring tons of cool relics, the showpiece of this museum is a replica of the ice machine created and patented in 1851 by Dr. John Gorrie, which became the basis for the ice industry and air conditioning.

Apalach is also home to 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.

If you prefer an outdoor history lesson, take a stroll through the Apalachicola Historic District to check out picturesque Victorian homes and learn about the town’s colorful history. More than 900 historic homes and buildings dating back to the 1830s can be seen on the city’s self-guided walking tour.

#3. Shop ‘Til You Drop.

If you relish in shopping sprees, Apalachicola will be a dream come true. This town is every shopaholic’s paradise, home to an array of eclectic boutiques, fine art galleries and delightful markets brimming with handmade treasures and antiques.

For distinctive gifts, swing by Apalachicola Sponge Company & Smokehouse Antiques. Located in the historic Zingarelli building at 14 Avenue D (across the street from The Owl Cafe), this one-of-a-kind store offers tupelo honey, fizzy bath bombs, handmade soaps and a variety of natural sponges.

Riverside Mercantile is also a must-see, featuring an astonishing assortment of vintage items, jewelry, nautical gifts and décor, candles, ornaments and more. This old-fashioned vendor mall serves up a huge selection of second-hand pieces as well as new merchandise.

For all you fashionistas, don’t miss Oystercatcher, Apalachicola’s prime destination for the latest and greatest fashion. The store showcases contemporary resort and swimwear, jewelry, accessories and shoes as well as local artwork and handcrafted items. Take a short walk to  Oystercatcher’s sister store, Coast, located just two doors down to peruse more seaside apparel, jewelry and gifts.

#4. Attend an Unforgettable Festival.

Throughout the year, there are tons of fun festivals to attend in Apalachicola. After all, we have so much to celebrate in this town! From a bounty of holiday events in December and the annual Oyster Cookoff in January to springtime art festivals and the famous Florida Seafood Festival in November, there’s always something shaking here. To stay up to date on the latest happenings, check out our calendar of events.

#5. Get Cultured.

Apalachicola is heaven for admirers of art and theatre. You’ll discover an array of art galleries tucked away in the nooks and crannies of our historic downtown district—from The Gallery of High Cotton to the Bowery Gallery.

We even have pet-friendly galleries! Bring your four-legged friend to Robert Lindsley Studio & Gallery or 49 Palmetto, featuring fine art inspired by the local beauty of Apalachicola and North Florida’s Gulf Coast.

While you’re here, try to catch a wonderful Panhandle Players production at the historic Chapman Auditorium or enjoy a show at the Dixie Theatre, the heart of Franklin County’s entertainment scene.

Ready to experience these awesome Apalach activities along with tons of other adventures? Book your vacation today!