Photo Essay: Finding Florida's Forgotten Coast
By Melissa Vincent
When VISIT FLORIDA approached me about visiting Apalachicola, my first reaction was "heck yeah!" I'm always up for an adventure.
My next thought was "where is that?" Known as the Forgotten Coast, this historic area is located on the Gulf of Mexico in northwest Florida.
Almost every summer since I was a little kid, I've traveled to Florida. In the South, it's a natural vacation destination. We always went to Destin or Fort Walton Beach where the high-rises, water parks, and outlet malls stretched for miles.
Apalach, as locals call it, couldn't be more different and I absolutely fell in love. It's a quaint fishing town with an artsy vibe and the seafood is to die for,
What I enjoyed most about the area is how it's relatively untouched by mankind. I saw more wildlife during my stay than in probably all of my years visiting Florida combined. Starfish, hermit crabs, pelicans, sand dollars, and blue herons are just a few of the creatures I came across in their natural environment. It felt as if I'd travelled back to a simpler time and all was right with the world.
During my two-day trip to the area, I explored the town of Apalachicola, then over to St. George Island.
My favorite memories from Apalachicola are the stunning Victorian style homes, the antique and art-lined Main Street, eating fresh oysters at Up the Creek Raw Bar overlooking the marina, visiting the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, and watching the sunrise over the Apalachicola River.
Here’s my list of what to see and do on St. George Island:
1. Going to the top of the lighthouse for a stunning view of the island and Gulf of Mexico
2. Taking a walk down the miles of undeveloped beaches at St. George Island State Park where shells and wildlife abound
3. Having some fresh seafood and tropical drinks outdoors and overlooking the white sandy beaches at the Blue Parrot Oceanfront Café
Don't take my word for it, though. Go see for yourself and let me know what you think about this hidden gem. I know I'll be back, and I hope the Forgotten Coast remains untouched.