Apalachicola, FL is a beautiful Gulf of Mexico city along the scenic bay of the same name, which is named in honor of the region's historic indigenous residents. The city is known for its historic downtown district, which is home to a number of historic sites connected to former resident Dr. John Gorrie, known for developing the process of cold-air refrigeration in 1850. Charming live theatrical productions are presented throughout the year at the Dixie Theatre, originally opened in 1912. Other area attractions include the Orman House Historic State Park, a must-do for history buffs with interest in the area's Antebellum legacy.
1.Orman House Historic State Park
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Orman House Historic State Park is a Florida state park that preserves the historic Orman House, a gorgeous Antebellum home constructed in 1838 by cotton merchant and businessman Thomas Orman. The home showcases lovely Federal and Greek Revival design elements and is located along the banks of the beautiful Apalachicola River along the city's 5th Street. Visitors can tour the home for a nominal fee as part of guided tours Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the morning and afternoon hours. Lovely original design elements are preserved throughout the house, including wooden mantelpieces, heart pine floorboards, and molded plaster cornices. At the adjacent Chapman Botanical Gardens, named in honor of Dr. Alvin Chapman, visitors can peruse a butterfly garden or view the Three Soldiers Detail replica Vietnam memorial statue. Each year, the home hosts the Apalachicola Historic Tour of Homes and a November Historic Christmas event.
177 5th St, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-1209
2.The Raney House Museum
© The Raney House Museum
The Raney House Museum is a National Register of Historic Places-listed Greek Revival mansion that is owned by the City of Apalachicola and operated by the Apalachicola Historical Society as a living history home museum. The 1836 home was constructed for area citizens David and Harriet Raney and housed members of the Raney family until 1914, including son David G. Raney, Jr., a Confederate marine officer in the American Civil War who was captured by Union forces in the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay. In 1973, the historic home was acquired by the city and converted into a public museum facility. Visitors can tour the home Sunday through Thursday afternoons or during the morning and afternoon hours on Fridays and Saturdays. The home showcases original Raney family furniture, along with a collection of significant 19th-century artifacts and documents. Though admission is free, visitors should note that donations are greatly appreciated to facilitate future museum operations.
128 Market Street, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-1700
3.The Apalachicola Maritime Museum
© The Apalachicola Maritime Museum
The Apalachicola Maritime Museum is a nonprofit museum organization in Apalachicola that strives to preserve and present the maritime history of the Franklin County region in a hands-on learning environment for visitors of all ages. The museum was founded in 1995 and offers two locations throughout the region, including a location at the end of the Apalachicola River and a second facility in the nearby city of Chattahoochee. Museum visitors can view artifacts such as the preserved replica Quark ketch boat, constructed in 2002 and designed as a replica of the 1930s-era vessel Mobjack. Exhibits also detail the region's rich ecology and natural wonders, including its barrier islands and waterways. Museum-led excursions are offered periodically, exploring the region's barrier islands via kayak, sailboat, or cruise ship. A wooden boat building school is also presented, along with a variety of classes and workshops related to maritime arts and topics.
103 Water St, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-2500
4.Chestnut Street Cemetery
© Chestnut Street Cemetery
Chestnut Street Cemetery is an historic cemetery facility in Apalachicola, originally established in 1831. The cemetery, which is located along Highway 98 between the city's 6th and 8th Streets, is the oldest cemetery facility in the city and inters many of the area's most notable historic residents, including many figures associated with the town's original development. More than 540 marked graves are showcased, along with a large number of unmarked grave sites and burial areas. Grave sites connected to American Civil War veterans have been marked by the United Daughters of the Confederacy since 1912, with more than 79 Confederate and seven Union veterans interred at the facility. Each spring and fall, cemetery ghost tours are offered at the cemetery by the Apalachicola Historical Society, which details the region's cultural history and are led by interpretive performer tour guides. Visitors can also explore the cemetery as part of self-guided tours via the Chestnut Street Cemetery Walking Tour, which takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
96 6th St, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-1700
5.John Gorrie State Museum
© John Gorrie State Museum
John Gorrie State Museum is a Florida state park and museum in Apalachicola, honoring its namesake John Gorrie, the man to receive the first United States patent for mechanical refrigeration in the mid-19th century and an influential figure in the development of air conditioning technology. Today, the park, which is located along Apalachicola's 6th Street, showcases a replica of Gorrie's famed ice-making machine at its public museum facility, along with a wide variety of other artifacts related to Gorrie's career as a doctor and inventor. Temporary exhibits at the museum chronicle the history of the Florida Park Service and the development and cultural history of the Apalachicola region. Visitors can explore the museum Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays year-round during the morning and afternoon hours.
42 6th St, Apalachicola, FL 32320
6.The Three Servicemen Statue
The Three Servicemen Statue, also known as Three Soldiers Detail, is a one-of-a-kind replica statue located within Apalachicola's Veterans Memorial Plaza, originally dedicated in 2008 as a replica of the statue of the same name, which is showcased within Washington, D.C.'s Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. The statue, which was created by nationally-renowned sculptor Frederick Hart, strives to honor the heroism of the soldiers who served in the Vietnam War, serving as a visual representation of the courage and devotion of United States military forces. Apalachicola's sculpture was created from the statue's original molds and is set upon a black granite pedestal. It is located adjacent to the Orman House State Park historic home museum within the park's Chapman Botanical Garden facility.
71 Avenue B, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-1318
7.Saint Vincent National Wildlife Refuge
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Saint Vincent National Wildlife Refuge is an expansive 12,490-acre United States National Wildlife Refuge located along Apalachicoa's barrier island St. Vincent, within the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge was originally established in 1968 following the island's purchase by the Nature Conservancy and subsequent transfer to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Though the nine-mile island has shown signs of human visitation since its occupation by area indigenous tribes in the year 240 AD, it rarely attracts large concentrations of visitors today due to its access being restricted to boat traffic. Park visitors can view a wide variety of native wildlife species at the island, including alligators, endangered species such as loggerhead sea turtles, and an array of native and migratory bird species. Visitors can stroll along the island's beachfront or explore its unique tidal marsh, sand dune, mixed hardwood, scrub oak, and cabbage palm habitats, though all visitors are asked to be respectful of sensitive environments and obey a leave-no-trace policy.
3100 County Rd 30A, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-8808
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8.Bowery Art Gallery and Studio
© Bowery Art Gallery and Studio
Bowery Art Gallery and Studio is a fine arts and crafts gallery and studio in Apalachicola, originally established in 2012 by local gallery curator Leslie Wallace-Coon. The gallery strives to cultivate a high-quality showcase of the works of regional and local artists, displaying the works of more than 60 artists creating in a variety of media and styles. Artists represented showcase works of photography, pottery, sculpture, fiber art, mixed media, and fine jewelry, with showcases presented periodically by guest artists working in other styles. Visitors are welcome to stop into the gallery during operating hours and peruse its rotating exhibits. The gallery is pet-friendly and open to well-behaved four-legged friends.
149 Commerce St, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-2425
© Dixie Theatre
Dixie Theatre is an historic theatrical and live performance venue in Apalachicola that was originally developed in 1912 and converted into a motion picture house in 1915. The theater served as the Franklin County region's premiere live entertainment venue until 1967, when it was closed and abandoned and left to decay. In 1993, the theater building was purchased by Rex and Cleo Partington of the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. It was fully renovated in 1997 and premiered an inaugural season of Broadway-style theatrical productions the follow year. Today, the theater is one of only a few family-owned theaters in the United States to be designated as a Professional Equity Theater, presenting a full slate of live theatrical productions each year, including musical, comedy, and drama performances. Ragtime piano performances by Bob Milne are also showcased, along with a DIXIE Does Nashville concert series and periodic movie showings.
21 Avenue E, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-3200
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10.Trinity Episcopal Church
Trinity Episcopal Church, also known as Christ Church, is an historic church facility located along Apalachicola's 6th Street and Avenue D, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972. The church was originally designed in White Plains, New York and constructed in Apalachicola in 1838 as the Christ Church. It was reorganized as Trinity Episcopal Church in 1936 and holds the distinction today as Florida's sixth-oldest church facility and second-oldest continually-operating congregation. Visitors can attend weekly services or explore its historic facilities, including its Queen Anne-style 1900 rectory, its adjacent 1932 Benedict Parish Hall, which is now home to the St. Benedict Montessori School, and its serene outdoor Trinity Memorial Garden, which showcases a mosaic fountain and memorial brick walkway. Community gatherings and classes are also held in the church, including tai chi and yoga classes and the Isle Newell Concert Series.
79 6th St, Apalachicola, FL 32320
© Apalachicola Riverkeeper
Apalachicola Riverkeeper offers educational eco-outings throughout the Apalachicola River basin area, owned and operated as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the stewardship of the Apalachicola River and Bay. The company, which is a part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, offers a wide variety of eco-touring experiences throughout the year, including spring and fall nature hikes and year-round kayaking excursions along the river. All group tour sizes are limited, so participants are encouraged to register well in advance of selected tour date to ensure availability. Trips are operated on a donation-based model and are operated by an all-volunteer staff. Loaner kayaks are available for participants if needed. Visitors should note that tour schedules can change last-minute due to weather conditions and are encouraged to bring bottled waters, snacks, and sunscreen on all tours.
232 Water St, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-8936
12.Up the Stairs
© Up the Stairs
Up the Stairs is a charming and atmospheric bar and grill in Apalachicola, owned and operated by restaurateur Keri Beth Hall. The upscale bar is open to diners ages 21 and older, offering a variety of elegant American-style entrees prepared with a combination of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Entree options include favorites such as 14-ounce ribeye steak with horseradish sauce, grilled snapper with spinach and vermicelli, duck confit, and puttinesca with mahi mahi. An extensive martini list features unique variants such as creme brûlée martinis, while a signature cocktail list is served up alongside an extensive list of bottled craft beers and an ever-evolving wine list. Small plate dining is offered in the bar's lounge area, featuring unique shareable appetizer plates such as crab croquettes.
76 Market St f, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-4888
© Photocreo Bednarek/stock.adobe.com
Owl Café is a laid-back American-style seafood restaurant located within the heart of Apalachicola's downtown district, atop the second floor of an historic downtown building. The restaurant serves up a varied menu of daily chef selections prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, including locally-caught seafood selections such as blackened grouper, sauteed salmon, lump blue crab cakes, and deep-fried Apalachicola Bay oysters. Land entrees include eight-ounce filet of beef tenderloin served with gorgonzola cream, chicken breast marsala, and Cajun-style chicken and shrimp jambalaya. Pasta dishes are also served at lunch and dinner, including linguine and penne pasta with diners' choice of chicken, shrimp, or sausage. An extensive wine list is offered to complement all entrees, and a porch area offers outdoor seasonal seating on the Apalachicola River waterfront. Next door, the Owl Café Tap Room serves up draft beers, specialty cocktails and spirits, and delicious appetizers such as pulled duck confit fries.
15 Ave D, Apalachicola, FL 32320, Phone: 850-653-9888
13 Best Things to Do in Apalachicola, FL
- Orman House Historic State Park, Photo: Sven Böttcher/stock.adobe.com
- The Raney House Museum, Photo: The Raney House Museum
- The Apalachicola Maritime Museum, Photo: The Apalachicola Maritime Museum
- Chestnut Street Cemetery, Photo: Chestnut Street Cemetery
- John Gorrie State Museum, Photo: John Gorrie State Museum
- The Three Servicemen Statue, Photo: kthx1138/stock.adobe.com
- Saint Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Sheri Swailes/stock.adobe.com
- Bowery Art Gallery and Studio, Photo: Bowery Art Gallery and Studio
- Dixie Theatre, Photo: Dixie Theatre
- Trinity Episcopal Church, Photo: innarevyako/stock.adobe.com
- Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Photo: Apalachicola Riverkeeper
- Up the Stairs, Photo: Up the Stairs
- Owl Cafe, Photo: Photocreo Bednarek/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Jacob/stock.adobe.com