Parks. National Forests, National Reserves, State Parks, County Parks, City Parks, all manner of parks. In roughly alphabetical order and not necessarily a complete and total list we have:
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve
Encompassing over 246,000 acres in Apalachicola Bay , it is the 2nd largest Estuarine Research Reserve system in the nation. Nature Center is located at the north end of Market Street . Attractions include exhibits on the flora and fauna of the area, a nature trail and aquaria facility featuring a variety of local fish and turtles. Open Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm (850) 653-8063. Click to view 360 degree panorama shot on misty morning at the end of the Nature Trail.
Apalachicola National Forest
564,000 acres for birding, camping, boating, wildflower viewing, hunting, and fishing (850) 643-2282
Battery Park and the City Marina
Boat launch, park with picnic tables and great playground Bay Avenue 4th-6th Streets(850) 653-9319. Click to view slide show of last year's extensive boat ramp renovations. Slide show courtesy of Wefing's Marine.
Cape St George Lighthouse
The 79 foot St George Island Lighthouse now stands proudly in the center of St George Island. The lighthouse is open for tours Monday-Wednesday 10-5 , closed Thursday, Friday-Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5 . Call (850) 927-7744 for information.
Cape St. George State Reserve
This 9 mile long reserve is one of three barrier islands that separate Apalachicola Bay from the Gulf of Mexico . The Reserve’s remoteness and wilderness qualities provide an opportunity to explore and enjoy a remnant of Florida ’s original natural landscape. Shell collecting is very good, accessible only by boat .
Crooked River Lighthouse
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 103 foot iron and steel structure was constructed in 1895 to guide ships through East Pass between Dog Island and St. George Island. Decommissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1995, the lighthouse is currently being restored. Interpretive signage and picnic area 3 miles west of Carrabelle
Chapman Botanical Gardens
A tribute to Dr. Alvin Chapman, a prominent 19th century botanist who discovered many rare plant species in the Apalachicola area, the Botanical Gardens features a circular walk around the small grounds with many native trees and other species. There is a boardwalk across some of the less footpath-friendly terrain and a gazebo and other seating areas, as well as distinctive period lighting. Maintenance of the park was recently taken over by the State Park system who were already managing the neighboring Orman House Museum, and many improvements are currently underway. Click to view a 360 degree panorama.
A small pretty city park, Lafayette Park offers a beautiful view of the Apalachicola Bay and has a large open gazebo used for weddings and outdoor concerts. There are two playground areas for the children, picnic tables for the whole family and nice benches where you can sit and quietly contemplate the Bay and quieter times. Summertime often brings a concert or two to the gazebo. The park is lighted and has been used for many night weddings. It is also a beautiful and well loved spot for a small, quiet, peaceful memorial service, and many of the benches and lighting fixtures are dedicated with plaques remembering people's loved ones and family members who have passed on. To reserve call City Hall at (850) 653-9319
Click here to view 360 degree panorama of the park. The park also has a long fishing pier, recently completely rebuilt, that juts out into the bay. Click here to view panorama of that pier. Park panoramas are courtesy of Jeff Galloway Realty.
Built in 1838 by Thomas Orman, the wood for this two-story home was cut to measure near Syracuse, New York and shipped to Apalachicola by sailing vessel around the Florida Keys, then assembled on the bluff overlooking the broad estuary and bay of the Apalachicola River. Today the house still resonates with a genteel aura and warmth of the past. The museum's grounds are directly adjacent to both the Veteran's Memorial Plaza, home to the Three Soldiers Detail Statue, and the Chapman Gardens Park and all three are being renovated with an extensive landscaping project linking them and adding more convenient access and parking. Come visit this museum and the adjoining parks and let Ranger Mike Kinnett, District 1 Interpreter of the Year for Florida State Parks, take you back to 1838 for a look at the people and events that helped shape our state.
Stop by and see the improvements that have been made to the Orman House, Chapman Gardens and the Three Soldiers Detail plaza. Open Thursday-Monday 9:00am-5:00pm North Market Street (850) 653-1209
St. George Island State Park
Nine miles of undeveloped beach, pristine shoreline, majestic dunes and bay forest, sandy coves and salt marshes. A series of hiking trails, boardwalks and observation platforms great for hiking, camping or a leisurely stroll (850) 927-2111
St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center
St. Vincent Island is an unspoiled barrier island at the west end of Apalachicola Bay . The refuge is open during daylight hours. It is only accessible by boat and there are no facilities available. Open 10:00am-3:00pm Monday-Friday Visitor’s Center is located on the north end of Market Street in Apalachicola (850) 653-8808
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
Miles of white sand beaches, striking dunes, 2,516 acre park. Excellent snorkeling, swimming, birding, camping. Voted #1 beach in the nation in 2003 by Dr. Beach (850) 227-1327
St. Joseph Bay Preserve
Over 5,000 acres on St. Joseph Bay. Educational center, programs, and volunteer opportunities. The St. Joseph Bay Preserve is located at 3915 Highway C-30 (850) 229-1787
Tate’s Hell State Forest
Thousands of acres for hiking, biking, and wildlife, wild flower viewing. Canoe trails, cy press forest. Trailhead is located on US Highway 98, 4 miles west of Carrabelle in Franklin County (850) 697-3734
Three Servicemen Statue Detail & Veterans Memorial Plaza
Veterans Memorial Plaza was created in 2008 to honor veterans for their service to our country. The block-long park consists of the Circle of Freedom walkway and the striking Three Servicemen Statue Detail, a bronze sculpture by Fredrick Hart that depicts a realistic image of Vietnam servicemen. Click to view a 360 degree panorama. Located directly in front of the Orman House Museum, the Plaza is a part of the three parks in the neighborhood, the third being Chapman Garden's, that are all being connected by an extensive landscaping project to improve access a parking for all three areas which will be maintained by the Florida State Parks System.