On the coast of Apalachicola Bay in the Gulf of Mexico, the small city of Apalachicola, Florida is a historic fishing village that has retained much of its old-world coastal charm. Bring your kids along to view art and maritime artifacts, or spend your days fishing, swimming, and hiking through the beautiful natural landscape. Moreover, down-home, family-friendly restaurants and cafes provide ample opportunity for relaxing. Be sure to also check out one of the city’s many local historic sites and museums. Book a stay at a vacation rental in Apalachicola today. Start your getaway with these top 10 things to do in Apalachicola with kids.
1. Experience an Airboat Adventure
The Apalachicola River is home to numerous species of fish, birds, plants, and more that are best seen from Florida’s most unique form of transportation: the airboat. Book a guided tour with Apalachicola Airboat Adventures to take a trip down the calm waters of the river, surrounded by lush green mangroves and other Everglades-native species. Watch your kids’ faces light up as they spot alligators, turtles, and manatees in their natural habitat, and help them learn a little more about their favorite animals.
2. Go Fishing
Apalachicola Bay and Apalachicola River are both known as great destinations for sports fishing. Try your luck at one of the well-known fishing hot spots in the area, or further immerse yourself by striking out on a fishing boat. Chartered fishing trips are available from numerous companies in the area, with experienced guides to improve your chances of reeling in a big one, while learning more about the Florida coast. Bring your own tackle or rent equipment on the shore.
3. Go Back in Time at the Orman House Historic State Park
Originally constructed in the 1830’s, the Orman House was one of the first major architectural constructions in Apalachicola, overlooking the river. Today, this historic building is impeccably maintained and offers visitors a trip back in time to the founding days of this Florida city. Take a daytime tour through the mansion, then explore the adjacent Chapman Botanical Garden. Book an Apalachicola vacation rental in November to experience the Orman House’s annual historic Christmas event.
4. Make an Excursion to St. George Island
Cross a narrow section of the Gulf of Mexico by boat to get to St. George Island. This small, tourist-friendly island is best known as the home of the historic Cape St. George Lighthouse. The original lighthouse was constructed in 1852 and was painstakingly reconstructed with era-specific details after the structure collapsed in 2005. Though the construction is relatively recent, the lighthouse offers an authentic experience of the island’s history, as well as gorgeous views of the shore and water. When you’re finished exploring, let your kids and pets run free on one of St. George’s calm and serene beaches.
5. Explore the Saint Vincent National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1968, the Saint Vincent National Wildlife Refuge is a patch of land and ocean totaling over 12,000 acres and covering areas in Apalachicola, as well as surrounding beaches, coastlines, and nearby islands. Enjoy wilderness hikes through this lush green terrain. Fishing and hunting are also permitted in certain areas. Bring along your camera or a pair of binoculars to make the most of the renowned bird-watching opportunities here, and enjoy fresh air while your kids get a firsthand look at fascinating animals.
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6. Enjoy the Shade in the Apalachicola National Forest
A vacation rental in Apalachicola puts you within easy distance of the Apalachicola National Forest, a 564,000-acre forest that encompasses pure wilderness as well as Battery Park and the city’s local marina. Let your kids blow off steam at the playground, and enjoy a picnic lunch using the public picnic facilities. This national forest is also known as a great spot for viewing wildflowers. Arrive in the springtime to take full advantage of the new blooms.
7. Catch a Show at the Dixie Theatre
Walk or drive from your vacation rental down to Apalachicola’s Dixie Theater, a restored theater originally constructed in 1912. The theater is now known for its regular schedule of live productions, as well as hosting special events in varying sizes. Not into theater? Head to the area anyway to enjoy the shops and cafes in this historic, well-maintained district of Apalachicola.
8. Take a Trip to Mexico Beach
Just a few miles away from Apalachicola lies Mexico Beach, a clean and secluded beach along the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy the white sand and deep blue water without the large crowds associated with nearby Panama City. Mexico Beach and the nearby shallow waters are home to five species of sea turtles – bring your swimsuit and goggles and see if you can spot one of these majestic creatures in the wild.
9. Visit the Apalachicola Maritime Museum
Teach your kids all about the seafaring history of Apalachicola and the Florida coast at the Apalachicola Maritime Museum. This museum puts an emphasis on hands-on learning and is home to several fully-functional sailboats as well as regular workshops and demonstrations. Book an Eco-tour with the museum to enjoy a lesson in historic boating along with views of the local wilderness.
10. Learn to Kayak or Paddleboard
The coastline along the Gulf of Mexico is a hotspot for water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, and snorkeling, and Apalachicola is no exception. Book a guided tour, or rent a kayak and enjoy a self-guided adventure through the coastal mangroves.
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