The Forgotten Coast is a coastal stretch of the Florida Panhandle so named for being left out of Florida tourism promotions for several years in a row. This region is comprised of Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, and Wakulla counties.
- 1 Apalachicola – County seat of Franklin County, the historic Heart of the Forgotten coast featuring 200 historic buildings and amazing oysters.
- 2 Carrabelle – Home of the "World's Smallest Police Station" - it's in a phone booth.
- 3 Crawfordville – County seat of Wakulla County
- 4 Eastpoint – the commercial center of the Forgotten Coast, with a number of shops and restaurants.
- 5 Monticello
- 6 Port St. Joe – County seat of Gulf County, good fishing, shopping.
- 7 Saint Marks – History and the HuManatee Festival
- 1 Apalachicola National Forest
- 2 St. George Island – a small island connected by bridge to the mainland, St. George is a tiny town surrounded by a sprinkling of vacation homes and a state park in the dunes.
This is the part of the Gulf of Mexico's coast just south of Tallahassee, on the eastern end of the Florida Panhandle. Consequently it's a mixture of Florida's typical coastline "style" of long, skinny beach islands across a waterway from the coast, and coastal swamp. The former has far more tourist appeal, and as a result the tourist's focus is in the western part of this region with towns such as Port St. Joe and St George.
For a coastal region, the population in this region is small, with only a few thousand spread in a few towns, quite unlike the not-so-distant Tallahassee, the state capital a few miles to the north of Crawfordville. The vast majority of the land area is rural, despite the tourist appeal, with even the intracoastal and beach areas sparsely populated by Floridian standards.
As is the case across most of Florida, the beaches are on islands, with a natural waterway separating the beaches from the mainland. Therefore there are in practice three shorelines: one on the mainland and two on each of the islands. While the important towns are on the mainland, the tourism is on the more attractive shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico.
You will want a car to enter and explore this region once you've landed at Tallahassee's airport, as it's sparsely populated and lacks sufficient public transit infrastructure.
US-98, which follows the Florida Panhandle's Gulf Coast, is the main highway in the region. It stays on the mainland, as the beach islands in this part of the state are too inconsistent to be linked by highways and bridges as they are in the Keys. It makes a number of curves following the course of the coastline. US-319 connects to the region from Tallahassee.
US-98 is the primary route along the coast, and as the region is a coastline, there aren't roads crossing it that would be used to navigate within the region — only to enter or leave.
There are four Florida Lighthouses in the Forgotten Coast. Only the St. Mark's Light is not climbable.
1 Wakulla Springs is one of the world's deepest and largest freshwater springs, near Crawfordville and St Marks. 2 Wewahitchka includes two lovely lakes just a short drive from the coast. FL-71 goes north from Port St Joe to Wawahitchka, which is several miles to the north along this route. There is also a river to the east of the town.
- Big Bend Scenic Highway. US-98 between Mexico Beach and Panacea. Three of the four historic lighthouses in the area are along this stretch. Port St. Joe, Apalachicola, St. George Island and Carrabelle are a few of the highlights. Speed limit is 45 mph, so relax and enjoy casually driving through forests, interspersed with views of the Gulf of Mexico.
1 St Vincent Island is a long thin sandbar peninsula with one of the top 10 state parks in the US. There is a bridge across the inlet from the mainland to St George Island, which has a beach.
Eat and drink
This is a hurricane-prone region, so plan trips carefully during the June-November period, which is the hurricane season.