Beach Forgotten Coast Florida

Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Dr. Shannon Barrett

Welcome to Florida’s Forgotten Coast, a hidden treasure tucked away along the state’s pristine Gulf coastline.

In this Ultimate Travel Guide for 2023, we’ll take you on a journey to explore the region’s most stunning and undiscovered beaches – perfect for those seeking a serene escape from the typical tourist hotspots.

We have been lucky enough to visit several times and have lived in Alligator Point for the past month.

As digital nomads, we look for quiet beach towns. If that is your happy place, the Forgotten Coast is for you.

Dive into this guide as we uncover the beauty, charm, and allure of these tranquil coastal gems that make up one of Florida’s best-kept secrets.

Wondering what is florida’s forgotten coast?

We’ll tell you all you need to know to plan your trip!

Key Takeaways

  • Florida’s Forgotten Coast is a hidden gem for travelers seeking a peaceful and authentic beach vacation experience.
  • The region boasts pristine Gulf Coast beaches, charming small towns with unique character, and untamed natural beauty that sets it apart from other tourist hotspots in the state.
  • Some of the undiscovered beaches on the Forgotten Coast worth exploring include:
    • St. George Island
    • Mexico Beach
    • Port St. Joe
    • Cape San Blas
    • Apalachicola
    • Alligator Point
    • Eastpoint
    • Dog Island.
  • Visitors to the area can enjoy outdoor activities like:
    • Fishing charters
    • Kayaking through picturesque islands
    • Hiking at Bald Point State Park

Why The Forgotten Coast Is A Hidden Gem

This area is a hidden gem due to its location, history, unique characteristics, and pristine beaches, making it the perfect romantic getaway for travelers seeking peaceful serenity.

Location And History

Nestled along the pristine Gulf Coast of Florida’s Panhandle, the Forgotten Coast is a stretch of coastline that spans from Mexico Beach to Alligator Point.

Map of the Forgotten Coast

A map of the forgotten coast is a valuable tool for travelers wanting to explore this hidden gem of Florida.

You may ask where is florida’s forgotten coast?

The Forgotten Coast covers a stretch of coastline in the Florida Panhandle from Mexico Beach on the west to Alligator Point on the east

This unique region boasts an impressive history, much of which remains very much alive and well in its charming towns and stunning landscapes.

The Forgotten Coast has had its fair share of historical significance.

Apalachicola once served as a bustling shipping port during the 1800s thanks to its prime location on the Apalachicola River.

Similarly, Carrabelle Beach hosted training exercises for D-Day landings during World War II.

Unique Characteristics Of The Forgotten Coast

One of the many unique characteristics of the forgotten coast is the untamed natural beauty that sets it apart from other typical tourist destinations in Florida.

The beach towns along this idyllic region possess an unmistakable “Old Florida” charm that has been preserved over time.

You won’t find any overcrowded beaches or high rises here.

Instead, you’ll be greeted by small-town hospitality where friendly locals invite visitors to explore their eclectic shops.

All offering handmade art pieces or dine at sidewalk cafes serving fresh seafood straight from Apalachicola Bay’s oyster harvest.

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Reasons To Visit The Forgotten Coast

There are countless reasons to visit Florida’s Forgotten Coast, and once you experience its charms for yourself, you’ll quickly understand why it has become a one of our favorite destinations.

The people here still stop to chat and are some of the nicest I’ve ever met.

This comes from a Southern girl who has lived in Charleston, SC, for the past 12 years, so I know hospitality.

One of the most compelling aspects of this hidden gem is its pristine Gulf Coast beaches.

With their sugar-white sands and crystal-clear waters, these beaches offer a slice of paradise that remains largely untouched by crowds or commercial tourism.

IMG 9417 compressedPristine Beaches along Forgotten Coast

Another reason visitors flock to the Forgotten Coast is for its charming small towns and coastal communities like Port St. Joe, Apalachicola, and Eastpoint, which each boast their own unique character.

As you can see from florida’s forgotten coast map, most of the cities are within an hour of each other.

For those who crave adventure while on vacation, you will find plenty to keep you occupied along the florida forgotten coast.

Opportunities abound for fishing excursions into some of the best spots on the Gulf.

There’s also kayaking around picturesque islands like Dog Island.

You can hike through protected habitats found at Bald Point State Park; viewing diverse bird species at St.George Island State Park, and many other wildlife refuges here!

The possibilities are endless – so come explore this captivating corner of Sunshine State before it becomes less ‘forgotten’ than ever!

Undiscovered Beaches On The Forgotten Coast

Explore the pristine and lesser-known beaches of the Forgotten Coast, including St. George Island, Mexico Beach, and Port St. Joe.

St. George Island

white lighthouse with house next to it
St. George Island Lighthouse

St. George Island, located on Florida’s Forgotten Coast, is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be missed by travelers seeking a secluded and authentic beach experience.

The barrier island’s nine miles of pristine white sand beaches are some of the most beautiful in the US. It offers plenty of space for sunbathing, shelling, and swimming in crystal clear Gulf waters.

St. George Island State Park on the island’s east end is home to protected marshes, dunes, scrub forests, and salt marshes, with hiking trails providing magnificent views over Apalachicola Bay.

This family-oriented beach town offers relaxation and a reprieve from the hustle-bustle of Miami Beach and Palm Beach.

The entire forgotten coast, fl is meant from relaxation.

It’s perfect for families looking to unwind while enjoying outdoor activities such as fishing charters, bike rentals, or exploring nearby historic sites.

Mexico Beach

Green and Blue oversized beach chair

Mexico Beach, located on the pristine Gulf Coast of florida forgotten coast, is a hidden gem that offers visitors an idyllic beach destination away from the hustle and bustle of more crowded beaches like Panama City.

This serene four-mile stretch along Highway 98 boasts sugary white sand beaches and clear emerald waters perfect for swimming, fishing, and paddling.

The peaceful ambiance of Mexico Beach attracts visitors seeking rest and relaxation in the company of friendly locals who have preserved their small-town charm.

Port St. Joe

wooden sign with blue outline for historic port st joe

Port St. Joe is one of the most charming beach communities on Florida’s Forgotten Coast that is definitely worth a visit.

Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe Beach are next to each, and their beaches blend together seamlessly.

For dog lovers, note that Port St. Joe Beach is dog friendly but Mexico Beach is not.

Port St. Joe is located in Gulf County boasts gorgeous beaches and outdoor recreational activities for visitors to enjoy.

The highlight of Port St. Joe is its stunning white sand beach at St Joseph Peninsula State Park, which has been ranked among the most beautiful beaches in America.

Cape San Blas

sunny beach with white sand and blue water
One of the beautiful beaches along Cape San Blas

Cape San Blas is a stunning coastal town located on a narrow peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s one of Florida’s best-kept secrets, offering uninterrupted views of the turquoise waters and miles of pristine beaches.

The area boasts pet-friendly vacation rentals, perfect for families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for some laid-back fun in the sun.

When visiting the forgotten coast florida, make sure to make time for this quiet beach town.

Visitors can enjoy fishing charters or rent boats, kayaks, or paddleboards to explore Saint Joseph Bay’s calm waters teeming with marine life.


Apalachicola is a charming and historic small town located on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico.

Known for its unique culture and craft beer, Apalachicola is one of our recommended lesser-known coastal towns to visit in the area.

We like to visit the Farmers Market and stay for lunch at one of the local eateries downtown.

The historic downtown area boasts sidewalks lined with local art galleries, shops, and sidewalk cafes serving delicious seafood dishes using locally sourced produce.

Nature lovers can appreciate nearby state parks and forests, such as Apalachicola National Forest or Tate’s Hell State Forest, where they can hike through serene trails or go birdwatching.

The quaint farmers market held twice a month in the summer is a great way to meet locals and sample delicious local produce.

Alligator Point

Alligator Point Beach
Alligator Point Beach

Alligator Point is a charming beachfront community located on a slender peninsula in the Forgotten Coast.

It boasts gorgeous beaches, extensive salt marshes, fishing boats and coastal hammocks.

If you’re looking for a quiet and tranquil shore without crowds, Alligator Point is the perfect spot for you.

We were lucky enough to spend a month in Alligator Point and walk along the quiet beach twice daily.

I can attest that it is an undiscovered beach town you must visit if you can.


As a working waterfront town situated across the bay from Apalachicola on Florida’s Forgotten Coast, Eastpoint offers a unique beach experience.

Visitors to the area can enjoy serene and untouched beaches that offer glimpses into old Florida, with small and quiet beach towns rich in history and a laid-back lifestyle.

The community of Eastpoint is known for its love of nature and conservation efforts, which can be seen in places like the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, where visitors can go kayaking or take guided wildlife tours through salt marshes.

It’s also an excellent spot to watch dolphins play or try your hand at fishing, with local charter services readily available for hire.

Dog Island

Dog Island is a hidden gem on florida’s forgotten coast that offers an unspoiled, protected coastline and wildlife inhabiting miles of pristine beach.

The island has been preserved as coastal land since the 1940s when local residents banded together to protect it from development.

Today, visitors can enjoy exploring the small island, which can be reached via boat or water taxi.

You can look for dolphins swimming and playing.

Dog Island is known for its finest white sand beaches and unspoiled nature.

There are no public facilities on Dog Island, so make sure to pack a lunch and drinks for your adventure.

Captain Mike runs the Dog Island Ferry and runs all year.

Carrabelle Beach

Boats around Carrabelle downtown
Boats at downtown Carrabelle downtown

Carrabelle Beach is a hidden gem located just 1.5 miles west of the City of Carrabelle in Franklin County, Florida.

This pet-friendly beach offers miles of pristine white sand and crystal-clear water that’s perfect for those who love to swim, paddle, snorkel, or bask in the sun.

Carrabelle hosts a twice-monthly farmer’s market near the beach. It’s a great way to stock up on fresh produce and boiled peanuts for your beach bag.

The town of Carrabelle is small but quaint.

It has a working marina, which is a great starting point for boating and fishing adventures.

Downtown is home to the world’s smallest police station.

You can also visit the Crooked River Lighthouse and Museum.

This iconic lighthouse was built in 1895.

It has since been decommissioned, but the light still works, and you can visit the museum and gift shop.

They also have events, including a country market every other Saturday.

When you are seeking relaxation, this breathtakingly beautiful beach has something to offer everyone who visits Franklin County’s beaches.

Activities And Things To Do On The Forgotten Coast

Discover a world of adventure with activities like fishing, kayaking, hiking, and exploring historical sites.


For fishing enthusiasts, the waters off Florida’s Forgotten Coast are an angler’s paradise.

The region offers world-class fishing opportunities catering to novice and experienced fishermen.

Carrabelle is a popular destination and is considered one of the best destinations for fishing.

You can go after species like grouper, snapper, king mackerel, and redfish.

Whether it’s surf fishing along the shore or taking a charter boat out into deeper waters where amberjack or tarpon roam free, people come from all over to fish these pristine Gulf Coast beaches.

Kayaking And Paddleboarding

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to explore the Forgotten Coast, kayaking or paddleboarding is definitely worth considering.

Adventurers can explore the Carrabelle River or the St. Joseph Bay by renting kayaks or paddleboards from local businesses like Happy Ours Kayaks and Forgotten Coast Paddlesports.

For those who prefer a more guided experience, eco-tours are available that will take you through some of the area’s most beautiful natural habitats, where you might even spot bald eagles soaring overhead.

Hiking And Wildlife Viewing

One of the best ways to experience this area’s natural beauty is by hiking and viewing wildlife.

With miles of untouched coastline, nature trails, and wildlife refuges, visitors can witness some of the most pristine ecosystems in North America.

A white squirrel visited our porch on our first day at Alligator Point. I have never seen one in real life, and I’m a veterinarian.

white squirrel
A white squirrel we named “Frosty” outside our deck in Alligator Point

Whether you’re exploring the winding trails of St. George Island State Park or wandering through Alligator Point’s lush forests, hikers will be transported into a world of serenity and wonder.

Alongside hiking trails, visitors can find numerous spots for bird watching and wildlife photography throughout Franklin County’s many wetlands and estuaries.

American Oyster Catcher on the Beach
We saw American Oyster Catchers daily on the beach

Exploring Historical Sites

Exploring historical sites is a must-do activity while visiting florida’s forgotten coast.

The area is steeped in history, with museums and landmarks that tell the story of its past.

For instance, visitors can explore Fort Gadsden Historic Site, which dates back to the early 1800s and was once an important military post during the Seminole War.

Or take a step back in time at the Raney House Museum in Apalachicola, built in the 1830s by one of the town’s most influential families.

Shopping And Local Art Galleries

One of the best ways to experience the authentic charm of the Forgotten Coast is by exploring its local galleries and shops.

On Apalachicola’s quaint Market Street, there are plenty of one-of-a-kind finds for travelers looking to take home a piece of Florida charm.

The area is known for its thriving arts community, with art walks and exhibits showcasing the work of local artists throughout the year.

Additionally, tourists can browse antique stores, gift shops featuring handmade crafts inspired by coastal life, and apothecaries selling natural beauty products from locally sourced ingredients.

Accommodations And Dining Options On The Forgotten Coast

Discover cozy beachfront rentals with stunning ocean views on the Forgotten Coast and locally owned restaurants serving fresh seafood and southern cuisine – read more to plan your perfect vacation getaway.

Beachfront Rentals

If you’re looking for the ultimate seaside escape, the Forgotten Coast is the perfect spot to rent a beachfront property.

With miles of pristine gulf coast beaches and charming coastal communities, there’s no shortage of picturesque locations to choose from.

We use VRBO and Airbnb for most of our rentals; however, there are several local vacation rental agencies as well.

Rental Companies

As someone who has stayed on Florida’s Forgotten Coast, I highly recommend staying in one of the many rental properties available.

Here are some rental companies that offer great options for your stay:

  1. Forgotten Coast Property ManagementThis company offers many properties, from beachfront homes to cozy cottages.
  2. Sunshine Vacation Rentals– This rental company offers a variety of properties along the Forgotten Coast, including St. George Island and Port St. Joe.

As digital nomads, we prefer staying in rental homes.

It allows us to live like a local and fully appreciate the beauty of these hidden beaches.

Plus, I can find rentals with a yard for our dog, making his trip much less stressful.

It makes us feel like locals and we can live the forgotten coast life.

Hotels And Resorts

Looking for the perfect place to stay?

Here are some of my top recommendations for hotels and resorts:

The Gibson Inn
The Gibson Hotel
  1. Gibson Inn – This historic inn is located in downtown Apalachicola. We stopped in for a great lunch and were impressed by its charm and delightful cocktails. You can walk to all the shops in Apalachicola and take in the farmers market on Saturdays.
  2. St George Inn – Offers 3 floors of uniquely decorated rooms within walking distance of the beach. They are pet friendly, and their pet policies can be found on their “policies” page.
  3. The Old Carrabelle Hotel– This charming inn in Carabelle is perfect for those looking to experience the local culture and history. It is small, with only 5 rooms, so it feels like you are staying with friends rather than in a hotel.

Local Restaurants And Seafood Spots

As a traveler, you must treat yourself to some of the best seafood and local cuisine. Here are some local restaurants and seafood spots to visit during your trip:

  1. Indian Pass Raw Bar – A local favorite for over 100 years, serving up oysters and other fresh seafood dishes in a laid-back, rustic setting. They recently reopened after sustaining damage from Hurricane Michael. This place is all about a laid-back atmosphere and seafood. Located in Port St. Joe.
  2. Up the Creek Raw Bar – Located in Apalachicola, this spot offers some of the freshest oysters around and an outdoor deck overlooking the water. They offer a little more upscale dining compared to Indian Pass Raw Bar.
  3. Provisions – A newer addition to Port St. Joe’s dining scene, featuring locally sourced ingredients and creative dishes like lobster mac ‘n cheese.
  4. Killer Seafood – This casual Mexico Beach spot serves fresh seafood baskets and sandwiches perfect for a beach day lunch. Killer Seafood is a food truck in Mexico Beach so you can just walk off the beach, grab delicious seafood snacks and then continue with your beach day.
  5. Owl Cafe – If you want to taste old Florida charm, head to this Apalachichola institution for classic Southern fares like fried chicken and sweet tea. They also have a tap room across the street for tasty beers.
  6. Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe – Located on St. George Island, this is the only beachfront restaurant where you can walk onto the sand after your delicious meal. It’s also pet friendly.

Make sure to try out some of these local gems during your trip to experience all the area truly has to offer!

Locally Sourced Produce And Southern Cuisine

One thing that makes the Forgotten Coast stand out is its incredible cuisine, inspired by local ingredients and Southern flavors.

Gulf County is known for its coastal cuisine, with many chefs using fresh seafood caught right off the coast.

As a traveler, you can expect dishes that are carefully composed and made from locally sourced produce to keep food miles low while supporting small businesses.

From restaurants serving classic seafood dishes like shrimp tacos to sidewalk cafes offering homemade pastries and coffee, there’s something for every taste bud here on the Forgotten Coast!

And let’s not forget about Apalachicola – this little county seat is famous for oysters harvested straight from Apalachicola Bay and amazing crab cakes served at local Mom & Pop spots.

There are great seafood markets where you can purchase fresh local seafood if you prefer to cook at home.

My husband loves fresh seafood and visits seafood markets at least twice weekly.

One of his favorites is Mineral Springs Seafood in Panacea, Florida.

Mineral Springs Seafood

Don’t let the exterior fool you, there is fresh fish inside.

They are also known for their fish dips. My husband highly recommends the Hot Mess fish dip! This is some of the best dip on floridas forgotten coast.

Numerous roadside stands also sell fresh produce in addition to the weekly farmer’s markets.

Here is an SEO optimized paragraph about the best beaches on the Forgotten Coast of Florida for your blog article:

Best Beaches of the Forgotten Coast

Stretching along the Florida Panhandle between Apalachicola and Mexico Beach, the Forgotten Coast features some of the Sunshine State’s most pristine and secluded beaches.

With sugar-white sand and calm waters, St. George Island State Park is consistently ranked one of the best beaches in the U.S.

Just across the bridge, St. George Island offers even more unspoiled shoreline and excellent shelling. Heading east, Cape San Blas is a gorgeous curved peninsula with beaches that seem to go on forever.

For an even more remote experience, head to the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.

Seaside towns like Apalachicola and Port St. Joe offer laidback charm along with great seafood restaurants and boutique shops just steps from the sand.

Best Time To Visit And Travel Planning Tips

Find the best time to visit this unspoiled area of Florida, plan your trip accordingly, and get insider tips on transportation options and safety considerations.

Weather And Seasonal Events

April is an exceptional time of year on Florida’s Forgotten Coast, with warm weather and a lush landscape.

This makes it perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply enjoying the stunning scenery.

Compared to the winter months of January and February, March and April offer warmer weather, more hours of sunshine, and warmer temperatures overall.

September-October is also considered to be the best time to visit Florida based on average weather conditions, lighter crowds than during peak season in summer months (June-August), and attractive rates at accommodations throughout the region.

If you are like me and prefer to avoid cold weather all together, you can visit the Gulf Coast of Florida in January and February and come to the Forgotten Coast as it warms up in the spring.

This is a great time for visiting forgotten beach florida.

Transportation Options

Looking to plan your trip and wondering about transportation options? Here are some ways to get around this hidden gem:

  1. Car Rental: Renting a car is one of the most popular ways to explore the Forgotten Coast. Visitors can rent cars from major rental companies located in nearby airports or downtown areas. Make sure to bring a paper forgotten coast florida map as there are some spotty cellular areas.
  2. Taxi Services: There are not many taxi services in this area, but in the heart of the towns, you may be able to find an Uber or Lyft if you do not mind waiting.
  3. Bike Rentals: The Forgotten Coast offers several bike rental shops, providing an eco-friendly and scenic way to explore the coastline.
  4. Airports: The closest airport to the West (Mexico Beach/Port St Joe) is Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) in Panama City. This is approximately 1 hour away as you must drive through Tyndall Air Force Base to get there. Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH/KTLH) is the closest airport to Alligator Point. It is approximately 42 miles from Alligator Point.
D4C9C221 26AE 42F0 A83B 26A1CE687EBE compressedBike rentals forgotten Coast

Safety Considerations

As with any travel destination, safety is important when visiting florida’s forgotten coast.

While the area is generally safe, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions.

For example, during hurricane season (June-November), visitors should watch weather reports and follow any evacuation orders from local authorities.

It’s also recommended that travelers keep valuables out of sight in their vehicles and avoid walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas.

Additionally, be mindful of wildlife such as alligators or snakes when exploring natural habitats like St Marks National Wildlife Refuge or Bald Point State Park.

When we checked into our VRBO in Alligator Point, it took us some trial and error to open the trash can.

It had a bear latch on it. Luckily, a bear came by and showed us how to open it.

We really love the forgotten coast of florida.

When we are here, we slow down, take beach walks and enjoy a place that won’t stay a secret much longer.

1. What makes the beaches of the Forgotten Coast different from other popular Florida destinations?

The Forgotten Coast offers secluded, undeveloped stretches of sand that are unspoiled by large commercial resorts and crowded tourist attractions. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful escape to nature with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.

2. What are some must-see beaches on the Forgotten Coast?

Some top picks for beaches on the Forgotten Coast include St. George Island State Park, Cape San Blas, Alligator Point Beach, and Carrabelle Beach. Each location offers its own unique features such as crystal clear waters or rare marine life sightings.

3. Are there any family-friendly activities to do in addition to beach-going on the Forgotten Coast?

Absolutely! From hiking trails in protected parks to wildlife observation points and historic sites like lighthouses and museums – there is plenty for families with kids of all ages to explore along this stretch of coastline in Florida.

4. What’s the best time of year to visit this area?

The best time to visit depends upon your preference and weather patterns, but generally speaking – spring through fall is considered prime due to clear skies & comfortable temperatures.

This makes it ideal for many outdoor activities ranging from swimming along shorelines or heading out deep sea fishing excursions.

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!

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