13 Best Things To Do in Apalachicola, Florida

Nestled along Florida’s “Forgotten Coast” sits Apalachicola, the “land of the friendly people.” 

Sitting at the mouth of the Apalachicola River, maritime activities thrive here. From fishing and boating to hikes around the beautiful coastline, the nature buff inside you will thrill. 

Tourists interested in the historical side of things can spend their days hopping between museums and historical landmarks. 

Return in the evening to enjoy one of the many award-winning restaurants in town. There’s something for everyone in Apalachicola, Florida. 

About Apalachicola, Florida

Native Americans lived in Apalachicola until the Spanish settled it in 1705. Later, in 1821, the Spanish ceded Florida to the United States during the First Seminole War. 

Fishing and seafood dominate the city’s commerce today. Maritime has shaped much of Apalachicola, from the pristine beaches to traditional industries like shrimping.

With its small size, friendly people, and dazzling nature, Apalachicola is a prime spot for travelers to soak up the Sunshine State. 

Best Things To Do In Apalachicola

You’ll find no shortage of activities in Apalachicola, from museums to shops to fresh seafood. Check out some of your options here!

1. Apalachicola Maritime Museum

Founded in 1995, the Apalachicola Maritime Museum celebrates the connection between the sea and the city itself. Here, you’ll learn about the intimate connection between the seafood industry and the city. 

In addition, you can learn about the thriving ecosystem hugging the coastline. Apalachicola sits at the mouth of the largest river in Florida, the Apalachicola River. Part of the museum’s mission is preservation of that very ecosystem. 

The museum offers boat tours for an additional cost. 

2. The Raney House Museum

One of the oldest homes in the city, The Raney House was built in 1838. David Greenway Raney, who made his fortune from the cotton trade, built this house for his family. He later served two terms as mayor. 

The house contains multiple artifacts from the 19th century, showcasing life during that time. It is free to the public. 

3. John Gorrie Ice Machine Museum

John Gorrie patented the first-ever mechanical refrigeration in the U.S. His invention helped treat Yellow Fever in the 1800s by cooling treatment rooms and patients. 

Unfortunately, Gorrie died before he saw the influence of his inventions. The museum stands as a way to honor him for his achievements. 

Admission is $2 for everyone over the age of five.

4. Orman House

Thomas Orman helped put Apalachicola on the map through the cotton industry. He turned it into one of the busiest export ports for cotton. 

He built this house in 1838 for business and social gatherings. The beautiful home represents the pinnacle of southern architecture and celebrates Orman’s contributions to history and the city. It features wooden mantelpieces and pine floors. An adjoining botanical garden honors Dr. Alvin Chapman, a botanist. 

Admission is $2 for everyone over the age of six. 

Local artists come together at Bowery Art Gallery & Studio. The ever-changing gallery is home to jewelry, paintings, sculptures, and more. Most of the art is available for purchase. This is your chance to bring a piece of Apalachicola home with you! 

6. Battery Park Marina

If you’re interested in anything related to boats, check out Battery Park while you’re in Apalachicola. Sitting near the John Gorrie Bridge, you’ll find docks, a community center, play equipment for children, and fishing piers.

If you’re lucky enough to arrive at the right time, you could even catch the annual Florida Seafood Festival.

7. Downtown Books & Purl

Looking to curl up with a good book? Look no further than Books & Purl.

Two shops share one building in downtown Apalachicola. The bookstore offers new titles along with the classics. 

You can also find yarn, board games, and other activities to keep the whole family entertained. The shop is known for its personal service and friendliness. 

8. The Grady Market

The Grady Market is a shopper’s paradise located right on the beautiful historic riverfront. 

It resides in the restored Grady Building, which once housed the French Consulate. The history rooted throughout the building makes for a unique shopping experience while you browse for clothing, luggage, and gifts. 

9. 13 Mile Seafood Market

A family-owned and operated seafood market, 13 Mile catches, sells, and prepares its own seafood. Founded in 1957, they’re on their fourth generation of seafood excellence. 

You’ll enjoy seafood that local fishermen bring in fresh from the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay. Discover a selection of flounder, grouper, clams, crabs, and much more! 

10. St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1968 to protect migratory birds, the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge has since grown. Today, it preserves 12,492 acres that include two islands and a portion of the mainland. 

The land serves as a major stopover for endangered birds on their migratory paths. It also provides a breeding site for red wolves. 

The refuge is open to the public for wildlife viewing, kayaking, hunting, fishing, and photography. 

11. Apalachicola Sponge Company

The Apalachicola Sponge Company harvests and sells sponges from the Gulf of Mexico. Many use the sponges used for bathing, as they contain minerals that may nourish the skin. 

Jerry and Joyce Garlick, Apalachicola residents, share their passion for sponges by offering them to the public. Visitors can learn how and why the sponges are harvested. The Sponge Company also sells other bath items such as bath bombs and handmade soaps.

12. Apalachicola Chocolate & Coffee Company

Settle in for a delicious cup of coffee or a special treat at the Apalachicola Chocolate & Coffee Company

Located on Market Street, this shop specializes in handmade chocolates, fudges, truffles, and other delights. They roast their own coffee on-site and are ready to brew your favorite beverage. 

They also serve breakfast and lunch, including bread made right in-house. In addition, they’re dog-friendly, so don’t forget your furry friend when stopping in! 

13. Apalachicola Bay

Apalachicola Bay teems with life and offers a slew of activities for the whole family. 

Fishing is the main attraction for many visitors—either fish from the shore or charter a boat to test your luck out on the open water. 

View wildlife from trails that lay out around the bay. Relax on the beach. Shop along the water’s edge or pop in to one of the award-winning restaurants. 

Whatever you choose to do, you won’t be disappointed when visiting the bay. 

There truly is something for everyone in Apalachicola, Florida. This small city will welcome you with smiling faces and beautiful landscapes. Adventure is yours for the taking when visiting Apalachicola! 

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