If an authentic Florida beach town experience is what you’re looking for you’ll find it tucked in the quiet coastal communities of Apalachicola, St. George Island, Carrabelle, Eastpoint and Alligator Point. Connected like pearls along Florida’s North Gulf Coast, there are more than 250 miles of coastal beaches and quiet bayfront here. The area is a protected oasis with quiet beaches, wooded trails and scenic paddling sloughs. Folks come to enjoy fishing, kayaking, swimming, hiking, discovering heritage sites and, of course, eating fresh Apalachicola Bay seafood.

You’ll find the most accessible beaches on St. George Island, at Carrabelle Beach and out on Alligator Point.

Family and Pet Friendly St. George Island Beaches
The most family-friendly beaches can be found on St. George Island. This 22-mile long island features gentle surf perfect for family-friendly activities. Rent a kayak, boat, bicycle or scooter here or charter a fishing trip. There are fun beachfront restaurants and a lively nightlife. Accommodations range from quaint beach cottages to luxurious beach homes and can be reserved with any of the island’s vacation rental companies or stay at the island’s hotel or inn. St. George Island public beaches allow pets on leashes, and many of the vacation homes are pet-friendly. There are also several pet-friendly accommodations and pet-friendly restaurants on the island.

If you are a history buff you’ll love the 72-foot tall Cape St. George historic lighthouse that greets you as you arrive on the island. It was rebuilt here in 2008 after the original lighthouse on neighboring Cape St. George Island was destroyed by years of storms and erosion.

The St. George Island State Park occupies the far eastern end of St. George Island. There you will find nine miles of undeveloped shoreline, majestic dunes, a bay forest and salt marshes. St. George Island State Park has a series of hiking trails, boardwalks and observation platforms and one of the State’s nicest camping facilities.

Carrabelle Beach – Retro fun

Located just west of Carrabelle on a stretch of scenic byway US 98, Carrabelle Beach is a step back in time with its 50s-style concrete pavilion and roadside beach charm. Lots of convenient parking here and the beach park features restrooms, outdoor showers, bathrooms and covered picnic tables. The beach borders on St. George Sound and it’s a great beach for nature-watching. Dolphin often hunt mullet in the shallows and it’s a hot spot for birders during spring and fall migrations.

Just a stone’s throw from the beach you’ll find the second of Franklin County’s historic lighthouses – the Crooked River Lighthouse and Museum. For nearly 100 years the Crooked River Lighthouse stood as a guiding light for ships, and fishermen navigating the treacherous pass between Dog and St. George Islands. Today the lighthouse and keepers’ house museum stand on the mainland where the light was originally built in 1895.

Bald Point State Park and Beaches – Nature’s Lover’s Paradise
Located at the eastern-most end of the county on the Alligator Point peninsula, the Bald Point state park beach is great for nature lovers. Because of the flow of nutrient-rich waters flowing from nearby rivers, the water here can appear muddy but it supports wildlife galore. Birders in particular will enjoy the range of shore birds and wading birds. Bald Point offers access to two Apalachee Bay beaches for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing. Facilities include a fishing dock and picnic pavilions. Just up the road, Alligator Point features many beachfront accommodations and a marina/restaurant.

You can learn more about Franklin County’s beaches, vacation getaway deals and restaurants, shopping and lodging at FloridasForgottenCoast.com/food.