Franklin County: Old Florida Lives On
Franklin County sits in the Florida Panhandle, anchored by towns with names like Apalachicola and Carrabelle. Here, Old Florida lives on. It’s still strikingly evident in the tiny old fishing villages, general stores owned by generations of the same family, and in the historic lighthouses. In fact, this county is 90 percent national and state forest. And there’s only one traffic light.
Water is everywhere. Kayak on it. Take a sunset cruise on it. And, starting in early 2017, cruise on board the paddlewheeler, Jean Mary, once owned by actress Debbie Reynolds. You can see wildlife, such as nesting sea turtles, alongside the shore. And swim at places like St. George Island State Park Beach, named one of the best beaches in America by Dr. Beach.
You’ll be surrounded by water, too, when you visit Franklin County’s two historic lighthouses—the Crooked River Lighthouse and the Cape St. George Light, both beautifully restored with museums and period rooms.
The historic towns of Apalachicola and Carrabelle have a modern side, as well, with unique boutiques and restaurants, a thriving arts community and galleries and a notable Plein Air art festival. The area also hosts colorful events such as the Florida Seafood Festival as well as an oyster cookoff and a chili cook-off.
Don’t forget to saunter through Apalachicola’s National Historic District, home to 900 historic buildings.
EAT AND PLAY
You simply cannot visit this area without trying the renowned Apalachicola Bay oysters, which are harvested only an hour or two before you devour them. At Oyster City Brewing Company, wash them down with some excellent craft beers brewed on-site.
Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island are also fast becoming popular livemusic venues. In Apalachicola, the Bowery Station, literally a hole-in-the-wall warehouse bar, features the region’s up-and-coming musicians. Rio Carrabelle, located in a small brick gallery, features seasonal jazz and classical concerts.
TOP: Sunrise over St. George Island.