National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Four towns in Franklin County
Paradise beaches, culture-rich towns and seafood feasts await on this slice of the Sunshine State. Words: Jacqui Agate
BEST FOR CULTURE
A pretty port town with a deep-rooted fishing tradition, Apalachicola is both historic and effortlessly hip. The Downtown area, knitted with elegant Victorian-era buildings, has a medley of independent boutiques, breweries and music venues. The High Five Dive Bar serves as a showcase for emerging local musicians, while the River’s Edge Art Gallery houses delicate ceramics, watercolours and photography by a range of Forgotten Coast artists.
BEST FOR UNIQUE ATTRACTIONS There’s quirky sights aplenty in this charming port town. Snap a picture at the world’s smallest police station, built into an old phone booth in the 1960s. Or stop by the Carrabelle Bottle House, a whimsical home conjured from 6,000 antique bottles. Picnic tables dot the grounds around the striking Crooked River Lighthouse, which watched over Forgotten Coast waters for almost a century; the Keeper’s House is now packed with relics including barometers and pages from the watch book, plus historic exhibits.
BEST FOR CULINARY DELIGHTS Eastpoint dishes up some of the best seafood in all of Florida. The docks are a hive of activity, with oystermen bringing in their catch from Apalachicola Bay. Watch the action unfold from Lynn’s Quality Oysters, a waterside bar and seafood market that hawks scallops, shrimp and crab, and serves warming gumbo and oysters on the half shell. The Family Coastal Restaurant is another top stop, dishing up generous seafood platters, alongside Southern sides like hushpuppies and fried green tomatoes.
ST GEORGE ISLAND
BEST FOR BEACH ADVENTURES Life moves at a deliciously slow pace on unspoilt St George Island — a sweeping barrier isle that’s fringed with inviting white sands. The island’s jewel is the photogenic Cape St George Light: visitors who tackle the 92 steps are rewarded with glittering views over Apalachicola Bay and St George Sound. Or find more adventure at St George Island State Park, where hiking trails and boardwalks wiggle across a landscape of dunes, marshes and bay forests.