Apalachicola & St George Island: Florida’s Perfect Little Southern Town

Being the devout reading of Southern Living Magazine that I am, the quaint little town of Apalachicola, Florida has been on my radar for awhile now. 

About 2 hours east of Rosemary Beach (30a) on highway 98, “Apalach” (as the locals call it) sits on the Apalachicola River and is pretty much the oyster capital of the world. It’s also just over the bridge from St George Island which has one of the prettiest beach drives I’ve ever done anywhere. 

But the town itself is CUTE. It’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere. If you live anywhere in the area (from Tallahassee to Destin), it’s definitely a place you could come for at least an overnight stay. I drove over for a day trip on my last stay in Rosemary Beach, and if you’re looking for something to break up your time at the beach (or you’re visiting when it’s chillier than expected), I think it’s the perfect day trip. 

Here’s what not to miss in Apalachicola, Florida:

The Gibson Inn: Even if you’re not staying the night in Apalach, you’ve got to stop by the Gibson Inn. It’s a big part of the reason that Apalachicola is having the moment it is. A stylish and well run inn attracts people to the area and it’s really helped the tourism economy. Built in 1907, it’s recently been completely renovated in a way that brings the modern comforts but keeps the old small town feel. It feels part adventurer’s club, part local hangout and very, very chicly Southern. If Ernest Hemingway would’ve walked through the door and sat down at the bar, I would not have been surprised.  

Speaking of the bar, definitely plan to stop by the lobby bar for drinks. I had lunch at the Franklin Cafe and not only was the food great, but the atmosphere was just perfectly lowkey Southern style. 

Apalachicola Seafood Grill: In hindsight, I think I would’ve had lunch here and hit the lobby bar at the Gibson Inn. It’s old school, no frills, order at the counter, but it looked GOOD. 

Shopping in Town: It’s easy to kill a couple of hours strolling through town and hitting all of the shops and cafes. There’s a tiny bookstore (it’s also a yarn/crochet shop) and quite a few clothing boutiques. There’s also a handful of antique/junk shops that managed to pull me in. Don’t miss the Grady Market, Apalach Outfitters, and Becasa. 

Lighthouse on St George Island: It’s just a few minutes across the bridge to St George Island. Stop and see the lighthouse. It’s $5 to climb to the top and there’s a small museum and gift shop. 

St George Island State Park: If you make it to Apalachicola, you HAVE to drive onto St George Island and up through St George Island State Park. I am officially commanding it to be so. The state park is the whole north end of the island and it’s one of the best beach drives I’ve ever done. A lot of state park beaches in Florida are just parking lots and the beach, but this park has almost 9 miles of road that takes you alongside the beach and the most magnificent coastal sand dunes I’ve ever seen. I also think the shelling is probably really great (better than most places along the panhandle). I didn’t have a ton of time and it was pretty chilly, but in just the 15 minutes or so I walked along the beach there were a lot of shells. 

So to wrap it up…I probably wouldn’t pick St George Island over the 30a area for a beach trip (it’s just way too quiet for me), but I absolutely think it’s worth driving over for the day to see the area. Especially if you visit the panhandle often and you’re not super pressed for time. 

Want to Read More Posts about Florida? I’ve got plenty!

Check out these destinations: Miami (Things to Do Besides Party & Where to Stay) // Key Biscayne // Sanibel & Captiva // Longboat Key & Anna Maria Island // Marco Island // 30a // St Augustine // Amelia Island // St Pete Beach // St Petersburg // Fort Myers // Dunedin // Crystal River & Weeki Wachee Springs // Honeymoon Island & Caladesi Island State Parks // Tarpon Springs // Matlacha & Pine Island // Apalachicola

Trying to narrow it down? Siesta Key vs Anna Maria Island // St Pete Beach vs Clearwater Beach // Sanibel vs Marco Island // Destin vs Panama City Beach // Destin vs 30a // Key Biscayne vs South Beach // Seaside vs Rosemary Beach 

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