A charming fishing city located on an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico, Apalachicola boasts everything from fresh seafood, to waterfront parks and sandy beaches. What makes this all even better is that so many of the city's attractions welcome dogs too, and this, coupled with dog-friendly restaurants and a reputable animal hospital, makes Apalachicola a pawtastic destination to explore with your pooch.
Located just off the Gulf Coast, but still a part of the Apalachicola city boundaries, lies St. George Island, a 28 mile barrier island. There are miles of beaches to explore here, all of them being relatively quiet and empty, but the most dog-friendly one is the St. George Island Public Beach, with its wide stretch of sand and spacious picnic pavilions. For a more structured dog walk, there are a few different trails to choose from, such as the paved 6 mile St. George Island Bike Path and the 5 mile Gap Point Trail, both of which will give you and Fido an up-close view of various coastal habitats.
In addition to boasting so many stunning areas of wilderness for you and your dog to explore, Apalachicola is also home to several city parks that welcome on-lead dogs. Lafayette Park is right by the waterfront, in the heart of the city's historic district, and features a playground, picnic tables and a long fishing pier that edges out over Apalachicola Bay. Battery Park, with its fishing piers and playgrounds, is also worth a visit, as is Riverfront Park, which is where commercial shrimp boats often dock.
For dogs who love the sun, sand and sea, Apalachicola is a city that will definitely not disappoint.
The City Center of Apalachicola is busy and bustling, with so much for you and your pooch to see and do. For dogs who are eager to explore the water around them, dog-friendly charter cruises are available from Captain Gill's River Cruises, with a boat that features both an air-conditioned cabin as well as an open upper deck from where you and Fido can soak up the sun. Wheelhouse Tours are another option, with one to two hour dog-friendly boat tours that will take you along the historic Apalachicola waterfront. If you are feeling hungry afterwards, there are plenty of dog-friendly choices available to you, from the fresh, local seafood at The Owl Café to the Chinese cuisine at the Hong Kong Bistro.
The Bay City/ Eleven Mile neighborhood is quite a large one, and is home to Apalachicola's one and only dog park. The whole of this city park, known as the Apalachicola Dog Park, is dedicated to pooches and can be found right behind the Apalachicola High School. There are three separate areas within the park, one for large dogs, one for small dogs, and a special area for dogs who do not want to socialize with others, or for older and handicapped dogs. With seats, shade, and water fountains, this is a park that your dog will not want to leave!
About a seven minute drive from Apalachicola lies the small town of Eastpoint, which provides access to the Tate's Hell State Forest. This forest stretches out for almost 200,000 acres, and is home to a wide range of wildlife species, from black bears to bald eagles. The 5.6 mile Wild Bluff Hiking Trail is the best way for you and Fido to explore the wilderness around you, but you will need to keep your pooch on a lead. If your pooch prefers the sea to the forest, Carrabelle Beach and its beautiful white sand is also in this neighborhood. With picnic tables, outdoor showers and more, this is the pawfect spot at which to spend an afternoon with your dog.
Less than a half hour drive from Apalachicola is the City Center of Port St. Joe, which is home to some of the finest stretches of sand in all of Florida. Every dog loves the Cape San Blas beaches, featuring over 17 miles of pristine white sand, as well as picnic areas, a playground and an observation deck from where you and Fido can take in your incredible surroundings. The nearby Salinas Park is also worth a visit. Encompassing a pine forest, as well as picnic facilities and a fire pit, the park also boasts a boardwalk that meanders its way through the park that makes for a pawtastic dog walk. A lead, doggie bags and drinking water are all essential.
The Port St. Joe neighborhood of Highland View/ Beacon Hill is less than a half hour drive from Apalachicola, and is a great place to visit for pups who love the water. Here you will find Seahorse Water Safaris, where you can rent out a pontoon boat so that you and Fido can explore the water together. Snorkel gear and fishing gear are also available to rent, giving you everything you need for a fun day out with your pooch. To treat your dog to a special something afterwards, take him to the Bow Wow Beach Shop, which has an on-site bakery with freshly baked dog cookies.