Welcome to Carrabelle sign

Last Updated on November 9, 2023 by Dr. Shannon Barrett

Nestled in Florida’s Panhandle, this small town is a fun place to stop while visiting the Forgotten Coast.

It captures the essence of Old Florida spirit, offering an experience untouched by commercialism.

The downtown is relatively small but full of charm.

Enjoy it on foot because you’ll miss some of the highlights if you drive through it.

Even though it’s a small town, there are a few charming dining options and accommodations.

These include The Old Carrabelle Hotel, or if you bring your RV, there is a great RV park right across the street from the beach.

Key Takeaways

  • Carrabelle, Florida, is a treasure in the Panhandle region that offers beautiful beaches and a charming fishing village atmosphere.
  • The town has a rich history, from its role in World War II to its bootlegging past during Prohibition.
  • Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, swimming, and exploring Carrabelle’s pristine white sand beaches. They can also visit historical landmarks like the Crooked River Lighthouse and the Carrabelle History Museum.
  • Accommodations in Carrabelle range from cozy hotels like The Old Carrabelle Hotel to pet-friendly options, ensuring visitors have a comfortable stay while experiencing the charm of this unique town.

Unveiling Carrabelle’s Location: A Hidden Gem Along Florida’s Gulf Coast

Carrabelle, Florida, is located along Florida’s picturesque Panhandle region, offering a quieter alternative to more bustling destinations.

Curious to know more about this hidden gem?

Let’s go!

Nearest airport

When traveling to Carrabelle, Florida, the nearest major airport is Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH).

Situated about 54 miles from Carrabelle, this airport offers convenient access for travelers.

In addition to Tallahassee Regional Airport, there is a smaller airport in Apalachicola, the Apalachicola Regional Airport.

There is also a small airport on St. George Island, St. George Plantation Owners’ Association (SGPOA) airport.

Each has its own rules, so visit the websites for each of these smaller airports if you intend to use these.

Embarking on a Journey to Carrabelle: A Comprehensive Travel Guide

By Car

Carrabelle is located on US Highway 98, which makes it easily accessible by car from anywhere in the United States.

The drive from Clearwater Beach, Florida, takes about 5 hours.

The drive from Atlanta, Georgia, takes about 5.5 hours.

By Bus

Greyhound offers bus service to Tallahassee, Florida, and Panama City, Florida.

Greyhound does not provide direct service to Carrabelle, Florida.

The drive from Tallahassee to Carrabelle is approximately 1 hour. 

Once you arrive in Carrabelle, you can get around by car, bicycle, or on foot. 

A Journey Through Time: Unveiling Carrabelle’s Rich History and Enduring Charm

Carrabelle, Florida, has a rich history and exudes charming Old Florida vibes with its unique fishing village on the Saint George Sound.

Boats around Carrabelle downtown
Boats at downtown Carrabelle

A Unique Fishing Village

As a traveler, I always seek unique destinations that offer something different from the usual tourist spots.

Carrabelle, Florida, is one such locale that is a unique place to visit.

Carrabelle offers an authentic glimpse into the old Florida spirit.

With a rich past that dates back to before the Civil War, this small town has seen it all – from logging and turpentine production to shipping and even bootlegging during Prohibition.

One of the highlights of Carrabelle is its working waterfront, where you can witness local fishermen bringing in their fresh catch of the day.

The village’s strategic location on the Sound makes it an ideal destination for fishing enthusiasts who can embark on unforgettable adventures pursuing trophy fish.

Whether casting your line from shore or heading out into deeper waters, Carrabelle offers exceptional fishing opportunities for seasoned anglers and beginners.

Beyond fishing, visitors to Carrabelle will discover white sand beaches stretching along the coast.

These beautiful beaches provide a perfect setting for activities and water sports like swimming, sunbathing, paddleboarding, or simply strolling along the shoreline.

Island View Park beach
Island View Park beach

Carrabelle also boasts an abundance of wildlife and marine life that thrives in its coastal ecosystem.

Please keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins frolicking offshore or nesting sea turtles making their way onto sandy shores during nesting season.

Birdwatchers will be delighted by sightings of graceful blue herons and other coastal birds soaring overhead.

Several attractions are worth exploring for those looking to delve deeper into Carrabelle’s past.

Visit the Crooked River Lighthouse – a historic landmark offering panoramic views from its observation deck after climbing 138 steps to reach it.

Embark on a journey through time at the Carrabelle History Museum, which showcases artifacts relating to the area’s rich history, including exhibits on World War II.

Take the chance to snap a photo at the iconic World’s Smallest Police Station – a historic phone booth used as a call box for emergencies in Carrabelle.

Preserving the Old Florida Spirit

Living in Carrabelle offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the old Florida spirit and cherish the rich historical significance of the town.

With a mix of indigenous culturesshipping, bootlegging, logging, and war woven into its fabric, Carrabelle boasts a unique charm that is hard to find elsewhere.

The Carrabelle History Museum plays a vital role in preserving the cultural heritage of this small town. 

Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum also honors and preserves the legacy of the men who trained here during World War II.

Adventure awaits in your inbox! Sign up for our newsletter, no spam, just travel tips!

* indicates required

Carrabelle’s Untamed Beauty: A Haven of Natural Wonders

Carrabelle offers pristine white sand beaches, abundant wildlife, and marine life and is the perfect destination for beach activities and water sports.

Carrabelle Beach: A Paradise of Sun, Sand, and Serenity

White sand beaches of Carrabelle Florida
White sand beaches of Carrabelle Florida

Carrabelle, Florida, is home to some of the most pristine white sand beaches in the Panhandle region.

These uncrowded beaches are a hidden gem, perfect for travelers seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

They have a great public beach with a newly renovated pavilion.

There are plenty of tables with shade, public restrooms, and foot wash stations.

Carrabelle beach pavilion
Carrabelle beach pavilion

There is a large parking lot, so you can park next to the pavilion and walk only a few steps to the white sandy beach.

Carrabelle beach parking lot
Carrabelle beach parking lot

So grab your sunscreen, pack your beach gear, and get ready to make unforgettable memories at Carrabelle Beach!

Unveiling Carrabelle’s Treasures: A Guide to Unforgettable Activities

Carrabelle offers a wide range of attractions and activities during your visit, from world-class fishing to exploring historical landmarks like the Crooked River Lighthouse.

Discover the charm of this hidden gem on Florida’s Forgotten Coast and immerse yourself in its natural beauty.

Fishing Opportunities in the Gulf

When it comes to fishing, Carrabelle offers an abundance of opportunities in the Gulf.

This peaceful fishing village has a rich history of harvesting from the sea for over 100 years, making it a haven for anglers.

Carrabelle has something for everyone whether you’re into deep-sea fishing or prefer leisurely game fishing.

From red snapper and grouper to trout and flounder, you’ll find a variety of species that will make your fishing experience truly memorable.

So pack your gear, charter a boat if you wish, and get ready to cast your line in one of Florida’s finest fishing destinations.

The Crooked River Lighthouse: A Beacon of History and Coastal Charm

Crooked River Lighthouse
Crooked River Lighthouse

One of the must-visit attractions in Carrabelle is the Crooked River Lighthouse.

This historic landmark, towering over the Gulf Coast, offers visitors a glimpse into the area’s rich maritime history.

Carrabelle LIghthouse interior
Carrabelle Lighthouse interior

Built in 1895 to replace a hurricane-damaged lighthouse on Dog Island, it stands tall as a testament to resilience and perseverance.

As you ascend its steep stairs, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking views from the top, allowing you to admire the surrounding natural beauty and gain insight into its significance to this charming coastal community.

You can climb the lighthouse for a small fee and take in beautiful views of Carrabelle Beach.

There is also a museum where you can get an up-close look at tools and artifacts used by lighthouse keepers over the years.

The best part?

Admission is free!

Carrabelle lighthouse Museum
Carrabelle Lighthouse Museum

So whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a history buff, include a visit to Crooked River Lighthouse on your itinerary.

July Sunset and Full Moon Climb at the Crooked River Lighthouse

I love the Full Moon Events at the Crooked River Lighthouse!

It’s such a unique and unforgettable experience in Carrabelle, Florida.

Every month during the full moon, visitors have the opportunity to witness the beauty of the coastline under the enchanting glow of a rising full moon.

For just $10, you can enjoy panoramic views of Carrabelle Beach and the stunning St. George Sound during sunset and into the night.

The dedicated Carabelle Lighthouse Association organizes this event, passionate about preserving this iconic landmark and its significance to our community.

Image Not Found

There is usually live music as well.

Trust me when I say that the climb is worth it.

Just wear the right shoes and make sure you are tall enough to climb!

A Journey Through Time: Unveiling Carrabelle’s History at the Carrabelle History Museum

Carrabelle museum
Carrabelle Museum

As a traveler exploring Carrabelle, Florida, one of the must-visit attractions is the Carrabelle History Museum.

This fascinating museum provides an immersive experience of this charming coastal town’s rich history and culture.

From ancient Native Peoples exhibit to photographs of essential residents of Carabelle.

These exhibits showcase Carrabelle’s heritage through personal memorabilia and local artifacts.

Take advantage of this valuable resource for a deeper understanding of the area’s unique history during your visit to Carrabelle.

Country Farmers Market

One of the must-visit attractions in Carrabelle, Florida, is the Country Farmers Market.

Located at the foot of Carrabelle’s charming lighthouse, this open-air market showcases the vibrant local community and offers an array of farm-fresh goods and unique products.

Carrabelle Farmers market flyer
Carrabelle Farmers Market

You’ll find a delightful variety of treats, from fresh produce to delicious baked goods and even freshly roasted coffee.

It takes place on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturday of each month from 9:00-1:00 pm.

The market is a great place to stock up on goodies and immerse yourself in the local culture and connect with friendly vendors.

We had a great time at this pet-friendly event and purchased some of the best-boiled peanuts we’ve eaten.

Plus, it’s family-friendly, with kid-friendly activities available as well.

So if you’re visiting Carrabelle or nearby areas, take advantage of experiencing the vibrant atmosphere of the Country Farmers Market at Crooked River Lighthouse!

Worlds Smallest Police Station

Worlds smallest police station phone booth
Worlds Smallest Police Station

One of the most fun attractions is the World’s Smallest Police Station.

This unique piece of local history holds a fascinating story behind it.

In 1947, the police chief was the only officer on duty during the day, so he had a lot of responsibilities, including pumping water for the tugboats at the Dock.

In 1963, the phone company installed a police call box on the side of one of the buildings downtown.

This way, officers could answer calls while walking the beat.

However, citizens began making unauthorized long-distance calls on this police phone.

To fix the issue, they moved the call box into a phone booth to its current site on US 98.

This became the “official” world’s smallest police station.

Unfortunately, people continued to sneak into the booth and make unauthorized long-distance calls.

Eventually, the dial was removed from the phone so no one could call out. Problem solved.

Today, it remains a popular tourist spot and ranks as one of the top attractions in small town charm Carrabelle.

So make sure you visit this historic gem during your trip to Carrabelle, Florida!

Carrabelle Bottlehouse

One of the must-see attractions in Carrabelle is the famous Carrabelle Bottlehouse.

Located just outside the downtown area, these unique structure reflects one person’s passion and creativity.

The Bottlehouse is open continuously for visitors, allowing them to marvel at the artist’s fascinating design made entirely from glass bottles.

It’s a true testament to ingenuity and artistry and is definitely worth checking out during your visit to Carrabelle.

Tates Hell State Forest

Another great place to visit near Carrabelle is Tates Hell State Forest.

This expansive forest spans over 200,000 acres in Franklin and Liberty counties, offering a wealth of natural beauty to explore.

Situated between the Apalachicola and Ochlockonee Rivers, this forest provides critical habitat for rare plants and animals while maintaining water quality in nearby Apalachicola Bay.

With its convenient location off Highway 98, Tates Hell State Forest is easily accessible from Carrabelle.

Whether you’re an avid camper or simply looking to immerse yourself in nature for a day, this forest offers 67 designated campsites and numerous hiking trails that wind through national forests and its diverse terrain.

St. James Bay Golf Resort

The St. James Bay Golf Resort is a golf resort is located just outside of Carrabelle.

The resort has a challenging 18-hole golf course and a variety of other amenities, such as a swimming pool, restaurant, and bar.

Explore Nearby Attractions like Apalachicola

Apalachicola, a charming town near Carrabelle, is worth exploring. Just a short drive away, Apalachicola offers something for everyone.

Seafood lovers will be delighted with the local delicacies served at Apalachicola’s renowned seafood restaurants, offering fresh catches from the nearby bay.

Shopping enthusiasts can indulge in local boutiques that offer unique souvenirs and crafts to take home as mementos of their trip to Florida’s Forgotten Coast.

Carrabelle’s Welcoming Retreats: Unveiling the Best Places to Stay

Here are a few of the best hotels and resorts in Carrabelle:

The St. James Bay Golf Resort

Golf course with lake
Photo Courtesy of The St. James Bay Golf Resort

This resort is located on the shores of St. James Bay and offers a variety of amenities, including a golf course, pool, and spa.

The resort also has a restaurant and bar on-site.

They also have pickelball courts.

The Moorings of Carrabelle

Boats on a harbor
Photo Courtesy of The Moorings of Carrabelle

This hotel is located on the waterfront and offers a variety of amenities, including a pool, marina, and tackle shop.

The hotel also has a restaurant and bar on-site.

The Carrabelle Beach RV Resort

Brown resort building with palm trees
Photo Courtesy of The Carrabelle Beach RV Resort

This RV resort is located on the beach and offers a variety of amenities, including a pool, playground, and laundry facilities.

The resort also has a restaurant and bar on-site.

Sunset Isle RV and Yacht Resort

several RVs parked on grassy field
Photo courtesy of Sunset Isle RV and Yacht Resort

This RV and yacht resort is located on the water and offers a variety of amenities, including a swimming pool, hot tub, and marina.

The resort also has a variety of RV sites and yacht slips to choose from.

Our favorties are The Old Carrabelle Hotel and Franklin Inn:

The Old Carrabelle Hotel: A Step Back in Time with Southern Hospitality

Front of hotel with palm trees and pink shutters
Photo courtesy of Old Carrabelle Hotel

The Old Carrabelle Hotel is charming. This historic hotel, built around 1900, has retained its character and offers five themed rooms, each with a private bath.

I love the cozy atmosphere, and the hotel is conveniently located near the Carrabelle History Museum.

Plus, the amenities are great. From cable TV to high-speed WiFi, everything you need for a comfortable stay is provided.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique place to stay in Carrabelle,

The Old Carrabelle Hotel is worth considering.

Franklin Inn

The motel offers clean, cozy rooms with modern amenities like flat-screen televisions and complimentary toiletries.

They provide free WiFi and parking for guests, making it convenient to stay connected and explore the area without any hassle.

One thing that stood out to me is how pet-friendly Franklin Inn is. Bringing your furry friend along on vacation is always a plus!

The motel’s prime location near Carrabelle Beach and Dog Island makes it ideal for beachgoers who want easy access to beautiful beaches and abundant wildlife.

Plus, being close to Apalachicola means plenty of attractions nearby for visitors to explore.

With positive reviews from fellow travelers praising its friendly staff, clean rooms, and budget-friendly prices starting at $104 per night, it’s an excellent place for those looking for a comfortable place to stay on a budget.

For even more places to stay in and around Carrabelle, check out the Franklin County Tourist Council.

Carrabelle’s Culinary Delights: A Guide to the Best Restaurants

Carrabelle, Florida, is a charming coastal town with a vibrant culinary scene.

Visitors can enjoy everything from fresh seafood to classic American fare at various restaurants in the area.

When dining in Carrabelle, Florida, travelers are in for a treat if they love fresh seafood.

Here are a few of the best restaurants in Carrabelle:

The Fisherman’s Wife

sign for Fishermans wife
Photo Courtesy of The Fishermans Wife

This popular restaurant is known for its fresh seafood and stunning waterfront views.

The menu features a variety of dishes, including blackened grouper, grilled shrimp, and lobster rolls.

It’s one of top-rated restaurants is and located on 201 NW 8th St.

They are known for their mouthwatering seafood dishes and warm hospitality, this hidden gem offers an unforgettable dining experience.

Carabelle Junction

Carrabelle Junction Restaurant
Carrabelle Junction restaurant

This charming cafe is excellent for breakfast or lunch.

The menu features a variety of breakfast items, such as pancakes, waffles, and omelets.

The restaurant offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, and wraps for lunch.

A Taste Of Korea

If you’re up for trying something different, A Taste Of Korea provides a unique culinary adventure with authentic Korean cuisine.

Fathoms Steam Room and Raw Bar

corona and basket of seafood on a table overlooking water
Photo Courtesy of Fathoms Steam Room and Raw Bar

This lively restaurant is excellent for enjoying fresh seafood and cold drinks.

The menu features a variety of steamed seafood, as well as raw oysters and clams.

Marine Street Grill: Savoring Fresh Seafood with a Coastal View

Outdoor patio of restaurant with iron chairs
Photo Courtesy of Marine Street Grill

This casual restaurant is ideal for burgers, pizza, or sandwiches.

The menu also features a variety of seafood dishes, such as fried shrimp and fish tacos.

H & D Eatz

This soul food restaurant is a local favorite.

The menu features a variety of dishes, such as fried chicken, catfish, and macaroni and cheese.

Food lovers will indeed find a favorite dining spot that satisfies their hunger and desire for local flavors.

So if you find yourself touring the Forgotten Coast of Florida, spend some time in Carrabelle.

With beaches, lighthouses and fishing, it’s definitely worth the stop!

Essential Tips for Planning Your Perfect Carrabelle Getaway

Here are a few tips for visiting Carrabelle, Florida:

  • Visit during the off-season. The best time to visit Carrabelle is during the off-season (May-November). The weather is still mild during the off-season, but there are fewer tourists and lower prices.
  • Summers can be hot and humid, and winters can be calm and rainy.
  • If you are planning on fishing, be sure to purchase a fishing license. You can buy a fishing license online or at a local bait and tackle shop.
  • If you are planning on taking a boat tour, be sure to book your time in advance. Boat tours can fill up quickly, especially during the peak season.
  • When visiting the Crooked River Lighthouse, wear comfortable shoes, as you must climb a flight of stairs to reach the top.
  • When visiting the Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum, allow plenty of time to explore the exhibits. The museum has much to offer, and you will want to ensure you have time to see it all.
  • When visiting the Carrabelle Bottle House, take your time and admire the house’s craftsmanship. The house is made out of over 4 million recycled glass bottles, which is truly a sight to behold.
  • When visiting the St. James Bay Golf Resort, make a tee time in advance. The golf course is popular, and tee times can fill quickly.
  • When visiting the Carrabelle Museum, be sure to check the museum’s website for current exhibits and events. The museum offers a variety of programs throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, and film screenings.
  • When visiting the Carrabelle Farmers Market, be sure to arrive early. The market occurs on alternating Saturday mornings, and the best produce and seafood tend to sell out quickly.
  • When enjoying a meal at one of Carrabelle’s restaurants, try the fresh seafood. Carrabelle is known for its fresh seafood, and you will find a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants in the area.

We hope you have a wonderful time in Carrabelle!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is the water clear at Carrabelle Beach?

The water is brown at Carrabelle Beach because it sits on the Saint George Sound. However, the sand is beautiful and white.

When visiting, you may notice that the water clarity varies from week to week and even from day to day.

Can you swim in Carrabelle Beach?

Absolutely! The inviting waters of Carrabelle Beach make it an ideal spot for swimming and cooling off on a hot day.

While conditions vary, visitors often find the water warm enough to swim comfortably.

Additionally, Carrabelle Beach provides public bathrooms and picnic areas for added convenience during your beach day.

So grab your swimsuit and head to Carrabelle Beach to experience the joy of swimming in this beautiful coastal paradise!

Is Carrabelle Beach dog-friendly?

Yes, dogs are welcome on certain sections of Carrabelle Beach if they are leashed and their waste is correctly disposed of.

Is Carrabelle a family-friendly destination?

Carrabelle caters to families with its relaxed atmosphere and numerous family-friendly activities.

Plenty of water sports options like kayaking and paddleboarding are available to entertain kids during vacations, as well as local parks offering playgrounds and picnic areas for quality family time outdoors.

Dr. Shannon Barrett

Dr. Shannon Barrett

Veterinarian/Travel Writer/Digital Nomad

Dr. Shannon Barrett is a veterinarian and digital nomad. She owned a housecall practice, Island Veterinary Care, for over a decade and now travels full time. She lives in different beach towns and then writes travel guides based on her time there. If you’re looking for resources on travel destinations or how to become a digital nomad, then you’ve come to the right place! Love to bring your pets with you? Even better!

Similar Posts