Secluded Florida Weekend Getaways: The Forgotten Coast

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Florida Weekend Getaways

Florida Weekend Getaways

When most folks hear “Florida weekend getaways,” they immediately envision crowded Miami beaches or Daytona’s overpopulated summer destination.  Beautiful places they certainly are, but when hunting down family weekend getaways in Florida?  Um, no thanks.

When I quickly searched for an obscure vacation spot in our beautiful South for our last-minute family vacationI stumbled upon the “Forgotten Coast.”  Do you know how I’m certain that this past weekend’s vacation on Florida’s secluded beaches was a success?  We were all sad to leave our oasis – it was one of the most peaceful vacations we’ve ever had.  Sometimes, that’s a very good thing.


Where is the Forgotten Coast?

On the Florida map, you will find the Forgotten Coast just south of Tallahassee Florida that begins in Wakulla Springs and spreads to Mexico Beach.  We spent our time of “Old Florida charm” at Carabelle Beach, St. George Island, and Apalachicola.

This area seems forgotten because at each end of it are the bustling cities of Tallahassee to the North and Panama City to the Southwest.  As the other areas boomed with development over the years, this quiet retreat has remained an undeveloped, fisherman’s paradise with vintage appeal.  It’s part of the Big Bend Scenic Byway – where Florida’s Coast bends westward and is full of more natural beauty than bright lights. If you are looking for over-the-top luxury or condos, you’re in the wrong place.

Things to do along The Forgotten Coast

Visit Carrabelle Florida 

Marshes, inlets, small secluded beaches, and State Forest trails are king here, with no high-rises cluttering up the shore on its two-lane road along the sea.  There’s a marina, a cool diner, RV campgrounds, seafood joints, a few antique stores, a grocery store, a dollar store, and a unique lighthouse.

Since Carrabelle is on the gulf coastline but also in the center of where three rivers come together and two island sounds are nearby, don’t expect beach waves.  Take notice that different accommodations are dotted along different areas – not only the beach but also along inlets and rivers as well.

Don’t Miss:  Carabelle Junction, WWII Museum, World’s Smallest Police Station, Crooked River Lighthouse

Florida Weekend Getaways
Carrabelle Pier at Ho Hum Campground ~ BABS, cc
Florida Weekend Getaways
World’s Smallest Police Station ~ Chuck Coker, cc
Drive along Carrabelle Beach

Grab an Ice Cream & Stroll along St. George Island

St. George Island is the perfect mix of “tiny Cape Cod community meets all-natural barrier island.”  Once you’ve crossed the bridge to St. George, you’re greeted by the Cape St. George Lighthouse on a two-lane road with a park, museum, pavilion, playground, and boardwalk to the beach. You’ll find beachwear shops, Island Outfitter stores, an ice cream parlor and a mini Starbucks.

Continuing to drive south will take you to the remote half of St. George, known as St. George Island State Park.  This area of the forgotten coast is known for its spectacular fishing, secluded beaches, campground, birding, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding – the perfect spot for Florida weekend getaways.  There are six picnic shelters complete with tables, grills, and bathrooms, with boardwalks to take you straight to its dog-friendly beaches.

Florida Weekend Getaways
Bridge to St. George Island ~ Jordi E, cc
Florida Weekend Getaways
Florida Weekend Getaways

Don’t Miss:  St. George Visitor Center, The State Park, and the Apalachicola Bay sunset over the water.

Shuck Oysters at Apalachicola Bay

Chances are, you may have heard of the infamous Apalachicola oysters, or maybe Apalachicola’s historic importance as a bustling, Gulf seaport. It’s rumored that they send over two million oysters around the states.  I have never heard a bad review from locals or visitors when speaking of the seafood restaurants within the historic district.

If anything proceeds the food, its the shopping.  There are several downtown streets full of specialty shoppes- all quaint and beach-y.  The friendly locals are pleased to offer helpful restaurant and cafe suggestions if you ask. Walk to the waterfront just a couple blocks away from main street and check out the weather-worn boats responsible for the keeping this steadfast town charmingly successful.

Don’t Miss:  Apalachicola Chocolate Company, Apalach Outfitters, and Grady Market.

Florida Weekend Getaways


What’s your favorite spot for Florida weekend getaways?

More helpful family travel that you might enjoy:

You won’t believe these Vacation Spots in Georgia

Family Friendly Things to do in Charleston

Best Weekend Getaways near Savannah

Camping Experts Share their favorite Camping spots

Best Vacations Spots for Families


Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. Lisa/SyncopatedMama
    June 21, 2016 / 9:16 am

    This area and Cedar Key are some of my favorite secret spots in our state! It’s been over a decade since I’ve been up there, might be time to re-visit soon!

    • Shan
      June 22, 2016 / 6:42 am

      Thanks, Lisa. Cedar Key is on the bucket list before this year is up. Come back on up soon!


  2. Kristi
    June 21, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    Looks beautiful. I’ve been to Florida several times a year, but have never been there! I will add it to my must do list!

    • Shan
      June 22, 2016 / 6:41 am

      Thanks, Kristi. We love all the beautiful south has to offer – every inch. 😉


  3. Mother of 3
    June 21, 2016 / 9:51 pm

    That looks amazing! With three young kids Florida tends to mean “Orlando!” But we’ve been trying to switch it up and check out other areas of Florida too.

    • Shan
      June 22, 2016 / 6:40 am

      Thanks. Everyone needs to see Disney at least once but we tend to take the road less traveled most of the time. Florida has a whole “other” side that I never knew about either. Enjoy!


  4. Larry
    June 22, 2016 / 6:04 am

    Definitely bookmarking this. The only time we’ve been to Florida was for Disney, but we’ve talked about visiting the beach many times. It’s about the same distance for us to drive to a Florida Beach as it is to drive to a NC or SC Beach for us!

    The pictures are beautiful! Thanks for taking the time to write this up, definitely some places on here we would love to visit someday.

    • Shan
      June 22, 2016 / 6:38 am

      Thanks, Larry. I appreciate your kind words – I love travel writing about our glorious south. Yes, Florida is SO much more than Disney!


  5. Jen @Practical, By Default
    June 22, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    Ive never been but looks amazing. Thank you for sharing your photos. And of course the map! 🙂

  6. Amy
    June 26, 2016 / 6:32 am

    These pictures are just gorgeous. We have been visiting Florida about every other year now to see City Spouse’s family who live over by Orlando. We are lucky to even get to see the beach while we are there. LOL
    I can’t wait to get some time to visit the other side of the state. It looks amazing.
    Thanks so much for sharing to the Monday Mish Mash.

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