Beaches on the Forgotten Coast
Franklin County, Florida features more than 250 miles of beaches. Gulf beaches with miles of gently rolling surf, bay beaches with nature and privacy, beaches that are perfect for families, beaches that are great for fishing, beaches you can drive to and beaches you'll need a boat to enjoy. Every one of our beaches is beautiful but each one is different.
The beaches of Franklin County, Florida are important turtle nesting sites. Each summer, threatened marine turtles migrate to our beaches to nest. Holes dug on the beach, and furniture left overnight can disorient and trap turtle hatchings, and can hinder the females from coming ashore to lay their eggs. Please remove your belongings and fill in any holes prior to leaving the beach. Franklin County’s “Leave No Trace” Ordinance is in effect for all of Franklin County, Florida beaches. Personal items such as tents, chairs, toys, umbrellas and coolers must be removed from the public beaches between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. All unattended items may be removed and destroyed. (Franklin County Ordinance#14-01)
When swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, safety should be your top priority. Franklin County, Florida uses color-coded beach flags to keep the public aware of sea conditions. Observe flag colors at each flag location before entering water. Absence of beach flags does not assure safe waters. Click here to view the most up-to date beach conditions.
St. George Island Beaches
The 28 miles of St. George Island’s beaches are serene and pet-friendly. The island consistently rates as one of the top beaches in the U.S., with miles of uncrowded expanses for sunning and shelling, clear Gulf waters for swimming and fishing, and pristine marshes for wildlife viewing. Visitors can rent a quaint beach cottage, a multi-story luxury beach home, or lodge at one of the two island hotels or inns. Except for the Julian G. Bruce State Park beach, St. George Island beaches are pet-friendly for well-behaved and leashed pets.
St. George Island Public Beach
The public beach on St. George Island is easy to find. From Island Drive, the only access to the island, Go over the five-mile long Bryant Patton Bridge with a gorgeous view of Apalachicola Bay. When you get to the island stop sign, turn right and then left into convenient island parking. The public beach is not only easy to find but there are bath house facilities, covered pavilions for picnics, a playground and ball court for the younger generations. The Cape St. George Lighthouse and lighthouse Keeper's House are also located in nearby Lighthouse Park.
Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park
The St. George Island State Park beach, located at the far east end on St. George Island, has been ranked as a Top 10 Beach by Dr. Beach for most of the past several years. At nine miles in length, this is the longest beach front state park in Florida. There are two large beach use areas with ample parking, picnic pavilions, beach house facilities, grills and boardwalks. This beach is renowned for its soft, white sand, gentle surf and softly-sloping bottom that makes for easy beach enjoyment for the whole family. If you would like more privacy there's plenty of beach that is easy to get to. A number of small pull-off parking areas provide boardwalk access all along the length of the beach. Fishing is a common activity here. Pets are allowed on leashes in parking lots but not on the beaches. Alcohol is not allowed in the park. There is an entrance fee and please observe the speed limit rules as they are enforced. Wheelchair accessibility to the water is enhanced by two Mobi-Mats installed at the #1 and #8 pulloffs. Two standard beach wheelchairs and a floating wheelchair are available, please inquire at the Ranger Station about availability.
East End Fishing Beach
St. George Island State Park, East End fishing beach. This special use area of the state park is located through a locked gate that requires a special permit (issued at the main gate) and an extra fee. There is a five mile drive to the east end of the island and a parking area. The East End beach is for fishing only. This is one of the most popular fishing areas on the Forgotten Coast and it is as beautiful as it is productive. The deep currents that run through East Pass, which separates St. George Island from Dog Island, bring bait and bait eaters in great schools. There are no facilities other than parking and pets are not allowed.
Unit Four Beach
Unit Four Beach on St. George Island is on the bay side of the island at East 6th Street and an entertaining walk for nature lovers. The only facility is a picnic table and the parking is minimal, but that's how most folks like this hidden gem. This is an outstanding venue for birding that covers several types of habitat. The fresh-water pools may provide secretive rails and diving kingfishers. A stroll down the beaches lined with shallow oyster bars may yield willet, plovers, herons, diving osprey and marauding eagles. This is a great place to walk your dog but be sure to keep your pet on a leash and pick up after them. This beach connects to some of the most productive shallow-water oyster bars in a bay famous for them and that makes for great fishing in close. You'll want to wear foot coverings during your walk here, and insect repellent may be handy during the warm months.
The Carrabelle area features two mainland bay beach areas just west of the City of Carrabelle. Both beaches feature gentle surf protected by offshore barrier islands and both are easily accessible from U.S. Highway 98. Both beaches are close to the historic Crooked River Lighthouse and Museum.
Located 1.5 miles west of Carrabelle on US 98. This easily-accessed, curving, white-sand beach is located just west of the City of Carrabelle on U. S. Highway 98. There is plenty of convenient parking, outdoor showers, bathroom facilities and covered picnic tables. Features several small picnic shelters with grills, restrooms and parking for about 40 vehicles. This is a very popular beach with a gently sloping bottom and calm surf. Since the beach is protected by Dog Island from heavy winds and seas, it is often the most suitable of all our major beaches for families with young children. While the center of the beach near the bath houses can get crowded on holidays, this is a long, curving beach with plenty of space to find your own sand and solitude. The beach borders on St. George Sound and the water is clear and inviting. This is a great beach for nature-watching, too. Dolphin hunt mullet up close in the surf in a sometimes spectacular display. Many shore birds can be sighted and it is a hot spot for birders during spring and fall migrations. Be sure to keep all pets on leashes and respect the birds' need to rest and not be disturbed.
Old Carrabelle Beach
This magnificent stretch of soft sand is one of the best-kept secrets in Franklin County. Access is just west of the Carrabelle Bridge on Gulf Beach Road. There is no formal parking area and no facilities. Close to acres of grass beds, this beach offers superb fishing especially in the summer and fall months. But most folks like this lovely stretch of sand for its beauty and tranquility. This romantic beach is locally famous for its sunrises and sunsets.
Dog Island Beaches
Dog Island is the smallest inhabited island of the chain of four Franklin County barrier islands. It is located at the eastern end of the county, just offshore from where the Crooked River merges into the Carrabelle River and then into St. George Sound. This island is small at 6.8 miles in length, accessible only by boat, ferry or airplane. The beaches here are remote and secluded.
Dog Island Beach
This beach requires boat access and then a hike. Your efforts are rewarded with a unique beach that is high energy, low density and absolutely sparkling. There are no public facilities or stores on Dog Island. If you want it, bring it with you. This is a beach for the adventurous. It takes an effort but it is a very rewarding effort. Dog Island beaches are known for the pristine white sand, good shelling, crabbing and shore fishing, and as a superior beach-picnic and recreational boating base.
Alligator Point Beaches
This narrow beach peninsula area boasts eight miles of quiet shoreline and unparalleled fishing. There are two main beaches on Alligator Point and several public access areas along the beach plus two boat ramps on the bay side.
Alligator Point Beach
This beach is on the far east end of Franklin County. Turn off U.S. Highway 98 onto Alligator Point Road and follow it, curving around to the right. This is a long white-sand beach that many locals would probably just as soon stay undiscovered. But it's too pretty to stay hidden. This beach is locally renowned for fishing with spring, summer and fall bringing trout, redfish, pompano and even runs of tarpon. There are no public facilities and public access is limited to a few areas with minimal parking. If you want a long beach with soft sand and nature to view, try discovering Alligator Point Beach.
Bald Point State Park
Accessed off U.S. Highway 98 onto Alligator Point Road, you then follow the signage. This state park beach is perfect for nature lovers. There is an entrance fee and there are facilities and easy parking. Because of the flow of nutrient rich waters down the Ochlockonee River, this beach has an individual personality. Depending on flow and up-river rains, the water can look muddy but it supports a great deal of life. Shallow water oyster beds are magnets for fish and birds. Birders in particular will enjoy the range of shore birds and wading birds. You’ll probably want to have some hard-soled footwear for walking off the sand beaches on sharp oyster shells. Bald Point offers access to two Apalachee Bay beaches for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing. Facilities include a fishing dock and picnic pavilions.
St. Vincent Island Beaches
St. Vincent Island is a 12,300-acre undeveloped barrier island owned by the Federal Government and managed as a National Wildlife Refuge. The triangular-shaped island is nine miles long and four miles wide at the east end. The island is a haven for endangered wildlife including bald eagles, loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles and migrating wood storks. The island is accessible only by boat. The gulffront beaches here are secluded and protected. St. Vincent features a unique bayside beach that is beautiful and remote.
Tahiti Beach got its name because its remarkable beauty is reminiscent of a South Seas paradise. Located on the easternmost end of St. Vincent Island, this lovely hide-a-way requires a boat for access. Due to sometimes strong currents in West Pass, this is not recommended for swimming. But the beach is perfect for shelling, sun worshiping and, for the more adventurous, a good base from which to explore more of the island’s varied wildlife.