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Florida Coastal Access Guide - Franklin County at a Glance Quicklinks

Franklin at a Glance

Coastal Cities
Apalachicola, Alligator Point, Carrabelle, Eastpoint
Popular Spot St. George Island State Park
Sandy Beaches 55 miles
Public Accesses 69
Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail 11 sites
State Parks & Lands Acres
Bald Point Island State Park 4,875
John Gorrie Museum State Park 1
Orman House State Park 10
St. George Island State Park 2,023
Alligator Harbor State Aquatic Preserve 14,366
Apalachicola Bay State Aquatic Preserve 80,000
Cape St. George State Reserve 2,295
Tate's Hell State Forest (Liberty) 202,437
Apalachicola River Wildlife & Environmental Area (Gulf) 64,471
Federal Lands Acres
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve 246,766
Apalachicola National Forest
(Leon, Liberty & Wakulla)
St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge 12,490
Bays & Inlets
Alligator, Apalachicola, Big, Blounts, East & Little Ochlockonee bays, East & West bayous, Rattlesnake Cove, St. George & St. Vincent sounds
Rivers & Paddling Trails
Apalachicola, Little St. Marks, St. Marks, East, New, Crooked & Ochlocknee rivers, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

Franklin County is reminiscent of rural villages that dotted the gulf coast in the 1950s and 60s. Less developed than neighboring counties, it has 53 miles of mainland coast and another 48 miles of barrier island sanctuaries, including St. Vincent Island, Cape St. George Island "Little St. George" and Dog Island with hundreds of feet of uninhabited sandy shore.

"Big" St. George Island, a 28-by-two mile-wide barrier island and nearby Apalachicola attract thousands of visitors every year to local shops, restaurants and sandy beaches. Its rugged undeveloped, eastern nine miles on both the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay sides are protected in St. George Island State Park.

The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) is a sanctuary and a research and education facility for the Apalachicola Bay estuary, which includes Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve, one of the most important bird habitats in the southeast. More species of native plants and animals are found here than any comparable region in the country. The 80,000-acre Apalachicola Bay Aquatic Preserve produces 90% of Florida's and 10% of the nation's oysters.

One of Florida's major rivers, the Apalachicola, enters the gulf in Franklin County. The area is dotted throughout with shell mounds, evidence that more than 40,000 Indians lived here before Europeans arrived in the 1600s. "Apalachicola" is the Indian word for "Land Beyond."

Highway 98 parallels the coast through much of the county providing many opportunities to access the many public beaches. Coastal activities include fishing, hunting, wildlife observation, birding, hiking trails and plenty of opportunities for nature photography.

Reachable only by boat, the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge is an undeveloped barrier island that provides sanctuary to a variety of plants and animals. Its wetlands, forests, shrub and sand dunes are habitat for nesting bald eagles and loggerhead sea turtles and migratory birds. It is one of several southeastern islands that breed endangered red wolves. Once weaned, the wild pups are reintroduced to sites such as Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.

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Last updated: October 28, 2015

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