Things to Do in Florida: Apalachicola

Kari C. Barlow
| February 18, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
A stone monument stands in front of trees and a white building Florida State Parks

Discover Apalachicola—a small town offering big fun.


John Gorrie Museum State Park

Just in time for the heat of summer, visit the quaint downtown museum (above) dedicated to John Gorrie, a physician and air conditioning pioneer. After moving to Apalachicola in the 1830s, he wanted to cool the sickrooms of his yellow fever patients and eventually invented an ice machine. The museum includes a replica of Gorrie’s device, original medical instruments and other historical artifacts.

Turtles and fish swim in a large tank. Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve

This vibrant reserve’s Nature Center is a great way for adults and children alike to learn about the wonders of the Apalachicola Bay System. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, this high-tech facility has aquatic tanks and exhibits highlighting the region’s ecology, culture and history. Nearly a half mile of elevated boardwalks—with plant guides and an observation platform—surrounds the nature center.

Cape St. George Lighthouse

Head out of downtown Apalachicola and across the Bryant Patton Memorial Bridge to St. George Island where you will find the rebuilt Cape St. George Light. To reach the top, you will have to climb a 92-step wooden spiral staircase as well as an eight-rung metal ladder. When you’re back on the ground, don’t miss the replica of the original keeper’s house, which now houses a museum.  


Sitting area in hotel with double french doors to a balcony with chairs Nancy O'Brien

Water Street Hotel & Marina

Make this charming AAA Three Diamond waterfront hotel (above) your base for exploring the sleepy fishing hamlet that locals call “Apalach.” Its 30 spacious suites—equipped with full kitchens—overlook the Apalachicola River and offer sweeping views of the marina and wetlands from comfortable screened-in balconies and porches. The property, which is part of Choice Hotels’ Ascend Collection, is also located a short walk from cafés and attractions.

Owl Café

Have lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch at Owl Café, a restaurant that first opened its doors in 1900. Its seasonal menu celebrates the bounty of Gulf Coast waterways and popular dishes include Forgotten Coast Oyster Stew, Gator Sausage Creole with grits and Crispy Whole Gigged Fried Flounder.

Apalachicola Chocolate & Coffee Co.

Need caffeine or a serious sugar fix? Look no further than this friendly shop in the heart of downtown Apalachicola where chocolatier Kirk Lynch and his wife, Faith, are serving up handcrafted in-store coffee creations, gelato, chocolate candies, caramels and much more!

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