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What is Florida’s Forgotten Coast?

Most of Florida’s many coasts have catchy nicknames, and the Forgotten Coast is one of them. It’s not as popular as some of the others, and that’s partly by design.

Is it forgettable, or is this a magical place you’ll remember for years to come? To find out, we’ll go just a little bit out of the way. We’re heading to an area that’s close to, but removed from, more famous Florida beach destinations.

Catch a ride with us to see if the Forgotten Coast is worth remembering.

Let’s check it out! 

Florida's Forgotten Coast
While in Florida, visit the Forgotten Coast.

About The Forgotten Coast

People in tourism like to come up with intriguing names for places to entice people to visit them. That’s how the phrase Forgotten Coast came about back in 1992. The Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce coined it to call attention to their community. They felt left out to a degree, overshadowed by the more popular beach destinations.

And it’s not just a speck of sand that you could easily overlook. The Forgotten Coast has around 200 miles of coastline, many historic sites, and even a few islands.

Because Florida has so much commercial development, this is, in some ways, its final frontier. It wouldn’t be accurate to call the entire Forgotten Coast pristine and unspoiled, but much of it is. Especially compared to some surrounding areas that tourists crowd into almost year-round. 

Where Is The Forgotten Coast?

Because of its throwback vibe, some people call this area “old Florida.” This unique region of Florida is along the Gulf of Mexico on the eastern end of the Panhandle. That’s the rectangular portion on the westernmost part of the state. It’s south and east of Alabama. 

On a map, you’ll see a triangular point jutting into the Gulf east of Panama City and southwest of Tallahassee. It almost looks like the trigger of a pistol. That’s Franklin County, Florida, also known as the Forgotten Coast. 

It’s south of Interstate 10 and north of U.S. 98. More specifically, this relatively undeveloped scenic coastline lies between the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachee Bay.

Enjoy the sun and sand at these 7 Clear Florida Beaches You’ve Gotta See.

The Forgotten Coast’s Best Beaches

With so many waterways, including the Intracoastal Waterway, this area offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. We love our beach time, as long as it’s not too crowded, so the Forgotten Coast is a wonderful option. Go-to beaches include St. George Island and Dog Island, just offshore, and Mexico Beach, Carabelle, and Alligator Point.

The Forgotten Coast also has a well-deserved reputation for serving up some of the finest freshly harvested oysters and shrimp. Sitting down at a rustic waterfront eatery and enjoying the local bounty is a big part of the experience here. Apalachicola and Port St. Joe fit the bill for this.

Why Is It Called The Forgotten Coast?

In some ways, the residents of the Forgotten Coast want people to leave them alone, particularly developers. But they realize it’s a double-edged sword. Though somewhat independent, they know they need tourism dollars to maintain their unique way of life. 

But the locals felt like they were living in the shadows of other locations that were flashier and drew many more tourists. So they decided to aggressively promote what the area had to offer. So using the nickname the Forgotten Coast was a clever way of marketing their own relatively hidden charms. In short, they’re aiming at visitors who want a more secluded experience.

Beware of these Most Dangerous Creatures in Florida while visiting the Forgotten Coast.

Best Hikes Near The Forgotten Coast 

One way to truly appreciate the natural beauty here is to see it at your own pace on foot. These routes are relatively easy and give you a good sense of the pretty landscapes, plants, and wildlife.

High Bluff Coastal Hiking Trail

Just outside Carrabelle, this popular forest trail loops through a section of Tate’s Hell State Park. 

The entire loop is just under nine miles, but you can use cut-throughs for shorter routes. We love the picturesque wooden bridges and boardwalks over the marsh. 

Another cool feature is the high dune that gives you a distant view of the Gulf. Otherwise, this fun, sunny route is primarily flat and level. Bug spray is a good idea, especially in the summer, and watch for bears. Dogs are welcome, but keep them on a leash.

Gap Point Trail

This out-and-back trail is a little over five miles and allows you to explore part of St. George Island away from its white-sand beach. It’s on the island’s east end, near the mouth of the Apalachicola River. You’ll find incredible views in every direction and fitness stations along the way.

Hiking the length of this trail should take only about 90 minutes or a little more, but it’s not super-easy. The terrain is what they call a coastal scrub forest, and it’s almost desert-like in some spots. The sandy ground is soft in places, and there’s not much shade. For these reasons, they don’t recommend bringing your dogs along, though they do allow them on leashes.

Palm trees along Florida's Forgotten Coast
Go for a hike while exploring Florida’s Forgotten Coast.

Best Camping Near The Forgotten Coast

We love the nighttime and early mornings along the Florida coast, so we enjoy winding down and falling asleep along the water. Here are two camping options on the Forgotten Coast.

Coastline RV Resort

The campground is orderly and comfortable, and it’s hard to beat the waterfront views. The resort is in the tiny town of East Point, just across U.S. 98 from Apalachicola Bay. Each of the 108 sites has full hook-ups, a concrete pad, landscaping, and a picnic area with paving stones. 

You’ll have access to laundry facilities, luxurious bathhouses, swimming pools, and a pickleball court. They also rent cottages and a cabin. Additionally, it’s close to local restaurants and the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve.

St. George Island State Park Campground

If you enjoyed the hike along the Gap Point Trail, you could set up camp to experience more of the island. The campground offers 60 mostly primitive sites set back away from the beach. They also have bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers on site. 

There are six RV sites with gravel pads here, offering partial hook-ups (electricity, water) and a dump station on-site. Trails lead right to the water for beachcombing, fishing, or swimming. There’s also a boat launch.

If you like suspense stories with a little comedy and romance mixed in, check out The Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series.

Is a Forgotten Coast Road Trip Worth It?

If you’re old enough to remember the simpler Florida of bygone days, the Forgotten Coast may revive some precious memories. Younger generations may enjoy seeing a side of Florida they didn’t know existed. 

Either way, a visit to this less-beaten path is one worth making. It may even be unforgettable. To get there, you just drive a little farther east or west than you might think.

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