Around Apalachicola, the “Forgotten Coast” is dotted with parks, forests, and refuges along US 98 and the barrier islands, none of which are easily accessed from Tallahassee or Panama City.
Port St. Joe
Deeply steeped in history, Port St. Joe is a coastal city in Gulf County on the shores of St. Joseph Bay with bike paths, beaches, and hiking trails.
A small town along the Florida Trail, Blountstown got its start as a destination along the Apalachicola River. It is the seat of Calhoun County.
At the Constitution Convention Museum State Park, interpretive exhibits and artifacts put a face on Florida’s frontier days, with a special focus on the historic city of St. Joseph (now Port St. Joe).
Centered around a mysterious 6,700-acre swamp forest with open waters and shrunken bald cypresses, Dead Lakes Recreation Area provides paddlers, hikers, and campers with a place to play.
An unexpected eye-to-eye encounter with a bald eagle from the top of the Cape San Blas Lighthouse in 2011, before it closed due to hurricane damage.
The Maritime Forest Nature Trail offers a quick sampling of the habitats that cling to the bluffs along St. Joseph’s Bay at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.
One of Florida’s most unusual and beautiful places to paddle, the Dead Lakes include 6,700 acres of mazy cypress and tupelo swamps in the Chipola River floodplain.
Best known for its beaches, bike paths, and barrier island parks, Panama City Beach is also a launch point for backpacking and long day hikes in vast landscapes to its north
With a boardwalk over a beautiful coastal scrub to a beach on the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Salinas Park provides a picnic grove in a pine forest.
For a sampling of the fragile coastal habitats protected along St. Joseph Bay by St Joseph Peninsula State Park, take a short walk on this spectacularly scenic coastal trail.