Welcome to the beaches of Franklin County, Florida. Now that's a big welcome because we have over 250 miles of white-sand beaches here. Gulf beaches with miles of gently rolling surf, bay beaches with nature and privacy, beaches that are perfect for families, beaches that are great for fishing, beaches you can drive to and beaches you'll need a boat to enjoy. Every one of our beaches is beautiful but each one is different. Have a look and find your beach.
There are more than 250 miles of beaches stretching from Alligator Point to Apalachicola. This is our list of the ten best.
Tahiti Beach got its name because its remarkable beauty is reminiscent of a South Seas paradise. Located on the easternmost end of St. Vincent Island, this lovely hide-a-way requires a boat for access. Due to sometimes strong currents in West Pass, this is not recommended for swimming. But the beach is perfect for shelling, sun worshiping and, for the more adventurous, a good base from which to explore more of the island’s varied wildlife. Visit Tahiti Beach on St. Vincent Island for dazzling beauty and natural adventure.
St. George Island Public Beach
The public beach on St. George Island is easy to find. From Island Drive, the only access to the island, Go over the five-mile long Bryant Patton Bridge with a gorgeous view of Apalachicola Bay. When you get to the island stop sign, turn right and then left into convenient island parking. The public beach is not only easy to find but there are bath house facilities, covered pavilions for picnics, a playground and ball court for the younger generations. The Cape St. George Lighthouse and lighthouse Keeper's House are also located in nearby Lighthouse Park. Like most beaches in Franklin County this beach gently slopes and, although there are no lifeguards on duty, the surf requires only normal caution to be fun for the whole family. Naturally you should use caution on any beach during rough weather, but difficult swimming conditions are a rarity here. And, if it's people watching you want with your salty sand and water, just pick any holiday and join the fun. The public beach on St. George Island is for people.
Unit Four Beach
Unit Four Beach on St. George Island is on the bay side of the island at East 6th Street and an entertaining walk for nature lovers. The only facility is a picnic table and the parking is minimal, but that's how most folks like this hidden gem. This is an outstanding venue for birding that covers several types of habitat. The fresh-water pools may provide secretive rails and diving kingfishers. A stroll down the beaches lined with shallow oyster bars may yield willet, plovers, herons, diving osprey and marauding eagles. This is a great place to walk your dog but be sure to keep your pet on a leash and pick up after them. This beach connects to some of the most productive shallow-water oyster bars in a bay famous for them and that makes for great fishing in close. Redfish and trout prowl the shallows most times of the year with regular appearances by jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel and whiting. You'll want to wear foot coverings during your walk here, and insect repellant may be handy during the warm months. Bring your binoculars and enjoy the natural inhabitants of St. George Island.
St. George Island State Park
St. George Island State Park beach, located at the far east end on St. George Island, was ranked in the Top 10 by Dr. Beach. At nine miles in length, this is the longest beach front state park in Florida. And you have a lot of choices how to enjoy it. There are two large beach use areas with ample parking, picnic pavilions, beach house facilities, grills and boardwalks. This beach is renowned for its soft, white sand, gentle surf and softly-sloping bottom that makes for easy beach enjoyment for the whole family. If you would like more privacy there's plenty of beach that is easy to get to. A number of small pull-off parking areas provide boardwalk access all along the length of the beach. Fishing is a common activity with spring bringing locally famous runs of pompano and Spanish mackerel, while the fall months bring redfish and speckled trout. Pets are allowed on leashes in parking lots but not on the beaches. Alcohol is not allowed in the park. There is an entrance fee and please observe the speed limit rules as they are enforced. When you bring the family to St. George Island State Park you'll find Florida beaches the way they used to be.
East End Fishing Beach
St. George Island State Park, East End fishing beach. This special use area of the state park is located through a locked gate that requires a special permit (issued at the main gate) and an extra fee. There is a five mile drive to the east end of the island and a parking area. The East End beach is for fishing only. This is one of the most popular fishing areas on the Forgotten Coast and it is as beautiful as it is productive. The deep currents that run through East Pass, which separates St. George Island from Dog Island, bring bait and bait eaters in great schools. In spring and early summer this hot spot is the first and best place to catch pompano. Either fresh shrimp fished on the bottom or silver-headed jigs tipped with sand fleas are the preferred rigs. Early and late with moving water is a sure time for success. Fish your jig very slowly on the bottom and watch your line as the fish will often pick up the lure heading toward you. Large redfish roam the passes and sand flats of the point during spring and fall months. Trout can be found in all but the coldest months. Jack crevalle, bluefish and ladyfish regularly patrol these waters in large schools. There are no facilities other than parking and pets are not allowed. The east end is just for fishing - and famous for it!
This easily-accessed, curving, white-sand beach is located just west of the City of Carrabelle on U. S. Highway 98. There is plenty of convenient parking, outdoor showers, bathroom facilities and covered picnic tables. This is a very popular beach with a gently sloping bottom and calm surf. Since the beach is protected by Dog Island from heavy winds and seas, it is often the most suitable of all our major beaches for families with young children. While the center of the beach near the bath houses can get crowded on holidays, this is a long, curving beach with plenty of space to find your own sand and solitude. The beach borders on St. George Sound and the water is clear and inviting. This is a great beach for nature-watching, too. Dolphin hunt mullet up close in the surf in a sometimes spectacular display. Many shore birds can be sighted and it is a hot spot for birders during spring and fall migrations. Red knots, short-billed dowitchers and ruddy turnstones stop off to feed and rest on their yearly journeys of thousands of miles. Be sure to keep all pets on leashes and respect the birds' need to rest and not be disturbed. So bring your binoculars and your beach chair when you visit Carrabelle Beach and enjoy the best of sun, sea and nature.
Old Carrabelle Beach
This magnificent stretch of soft sand is one of the best-kept secrets in Franklin County. Access is just west of the Carrabelle Bridge on Gulf Beach Road. There is no formal parking area and no facilities. Close to acres of grass beds, this beach offers superb fishing especially in the summer and fall months. But most folks like this lovely stretch of sand for its beauty and tranquility. This romantic beach is locally famous for its sunrises and sunsets. Visit Old Carrabelle Beach and bring someone special.
Dog Island Beach
This beach requires boat access and then a hike. Your efforts are rewarded with a unique beach that is high energy, low density and absolutely sparkling. There are no public facilities or stores on Dog Island. If you want it, bring it with you. This is a beach for the adventurous. It takes an effort but it is a very rewarding effort. Visit Dog Island for a timeless beach experience.
Alligator Point Beach
This beach is on the far east end of Franklin County. Turn off U.S. Highway 98 onto Alligator Point Road and follow it, curving around to the right. This is a long white-sand beach that many locals would probably just as soon stay undiscovered. But it's too pretty to stay hidden. This beach is locally renowned for fishing with spring, summer and fall bringing trout, redfish, pompano and even runs of tarpon. There are no public facilities and public access is limited to a few areas with minimal parking. If you want a long beach with soft sand and nature to view, try discovering Alligator Point Beach.
Bald Point State Park
Accessed off U.S. Highway 98 onto Alligator Point Road, you then follow the signage. This state park beach is perfect for nature lovers. There is an entrance fee and there are facilities and easy parking. Because of the flow of nutrientrich waters down the Ochlockonee River, this beach has an individual personality. Depending on flow and up-river rains, the water can look muddy but it supports a great deal of life. Shallow water oyster beds are magnets for fish and birds. Birders in particular will enjoy the range of shore birds and wading birds. Herons, egrets, marbled godwit, American oystercatcher and sandpipers of all persuasions feed on the shore and exposed bars. Royal terns, Caspian terns, least terns and sandwich terns dive after forage fish in the rich waters. Osprey dive for larger fish and eagles patrol the exposed oyster bars. You’ll probably want to have some hard-soled footwear for walking off the sand beaches on sharp oyster shells. Bring your binoculars and feast on the view of nature at Bald Point beach.