Apalachicola-Florida's Quiet Side

Explore Apalachicola, the fishing village with a mind of its own and good times to share.
Wanda McKinney

Bay or Beach
When you arrive in Apalachicola, options both old and new offer a lovely stay. The grande dame in town--the Gibson Inn, built in 1907--lures you with her welcoming Victorian-style porches, rocking chairs, and 30 comfortable rooms. Rates start at $95. Ask for Room 101 if you want a quiet, private spot. It's located away from the well-known restaurant on one end of the building. But do take advantage of the first-rate dining on the premises. Avenue Sea boasts chef David Carrier, who hails from The French Laundry, a famed establishment in Napa Valley. Be sure to make reservations; he's that popular and that good.

Or try out the new kid on the banks: Water Street Hotel & Marina has 30 one- and two-bedroom riverfront suites, which feature washers and dryers, kitchens, screened porches, and more. Rates begin at $149.

If you'd rather dig your toes into the sand each morning, another option awaits less than 9 miles away on St. George Island. This barrier island--28 miles long--offers a large variety of beach houses, cottages, and condos. And the price is really right during February. Rent a three-bedroom Gulf-front beach house for two nights for only $300.

Dining for Compliments
Avenue Sea serves up the wonderful Apalachicola oysters--not shucked until they're ordered--as well as Gulf shrimp and blackened redfish.

For a perfect view, enjoy dinner on the second floor of the Owl Cafe, overlooking the waterfront. Sample the fried oysters, along with the seafood bisque, if available. Add a kick to your seafood paella with the Venezuelan flavors of Tamara's Cafe Floridita. The owners claim that love and magic are in the sauce. A laid-back experience awaits at Papa Joe's Oyster Bar & Grill at Scipio Creek Marina. You just might find some of the best fried oysters of the whole trip here, perfectly battered and meltingly good. After your lunch, take a guided boat tour, and learn the source of all this bounty.