Apalachicola, Florida is famous for its succulent oysters and locally caught seafood as well as it’s diverse history in cotton, sponges, and A/C. Yes, air conditioning…this is where Dr. Gorrie invented the ice machine, as a means to comfort yellow fever patients, which evolved into modern day A/C. Its easy accessibility by boat, in addition to the oysters, fishing, quaint antique and art shops, fine restaurants, make Apalachicola an appealing location for small boat sailors.
- Name: Apalachicola, FL
- Where: Apalachicola is located in the panhandle 75 miles southwest of Tallahassee, at 29°43′31″N 84°59′33″W on Apalachicola Bay and at the mouth of the Apalachicola river. Map and Chart
- Weather at Base Camp
- Ramp: Free public double ramp at the City Marina.
- Amenities: Ice, food, fuel, Internet, motels, restaurants, convenience stores are available in Apalachicola.
Apalachicola is more of a destination than a starting point. The town is strategically located along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GICW). You can reach Apalachicola by sailing west in Apalachicola Bay following the markers from the Florida Big Bend area (St. Marks, Carrabelle, etc.) or by taking the GICW from Panama City through East Bay and Lake Wimico to the Apalachicola River.
There are several marinas and hotels along the Apalachicola River which have transient slips available. Scipio Creek Marina (301 Market Street Phone: (850) 653-8030) has a boat store and offers fuel, restrooms food and a variety of services. Calling ahead for a slip is always a good idea. In addition, Papa Joe’s Oyster Bar and Grill serves up succulent local oysters and grouper sandwiches. Their menu is varied.
My favorite spot to tie up in a slip is the Water Street Hotel & Marina (329 Water Street (850) 653-3700). They have a very friendly staff, floating docks and 20 transient slips. The shower and rest room facilities are clean and very nice. Visiting family members and friends not staying on the boat can sleep in luxury in one of the rooms at the hotel. Discounts are available to BoatUS members. No matter what your arrangements, Sheryl the General Manager will take good care of you!
Of course, if you travel with a dinghy, it is also possible to stay out “on the hook” in the Apalachicola River.
No matter how you decide to secure your boat, all of the above spots are within walking distance of Apalachicola’s waterfront shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Wireless Internet access is available at Cafe con Leche located at 32 Avenue D. Phone: (850) 653-2233. They also offer fresh baked pastries and a variety of coffees.
Whether you arrive by boat or automobile, the Apalachicola Maritime Museum is worth a visit. It is located at 103 Water Street and the centerpiece of the museum is the fifty four foot sailing vessel, the “Heritage”. The Heritage makes regular 2 ½ to 3 hour sailing trips on Apalachicola Bay out to Sykes Pass and beyond depending on weather. The trips are available at no charge to members of the museum. Advance reservations are recommended.
Picture credit: Terry Poling – Heritage Sailing Vessel
Every year in late April, the Annual Antique & Classic Boat Show brings in 3,000 or more sailing and boating enthusiasts. There are many classic examples of traditional wooden boats, custom built boats and antique motors, nautical memorabilia, etc. This year the show is scheduled for April 25, 2009.
For more information on Apalachicola attractions, visit the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce at 122 Commerce Street, Apalachicola, FL 32320. (850) 653-9419.
Contributed by Rob Powis