|Carrabelle in Florida's Panhandle is an oasis for RVers.|
For more information, contact the Carrabelle Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Drawer DD, Carrabelle, Florida 32322
Highway 98 - the scenic highway of Florida's Panhandle - weaves through many communities along that popular tourist route. Although Panama City is a favourite tourist stop, there are many smaller towns and cities that have everything the larger centres have - only on a smaller, less crowded scale.
While travelling along this route, we stopped at Mexico Beach to visit some friends. The village is quieter than Panama City and its fine, white sandy beaches were just as beautiful.
There are a number of campgrounds along this route, but we decided to spend our next extended stay in the laid-back oasis listed on the map as Carrabelle. Our campsite was perfect - we were directly across from a highway picnic-style rest area that bordered a secluded beach.
Although visitors could only park for a picnic and stroll the beach, we RVers had the opportunity to walk, fish or build sand castles at sunrise, mid-morning, afternoon and sunset. (In other words, we had the run of the beach any time of the day!) The stretch of glimmering sand located beside azure blue water had one more interesting personality. Numerous decaying tree stumps left from a storm dotted the shore and caused the area to look a lot like the moon's surface.
Carrabelle was busy, but in a very relaxed way. Most foodstuff and necessities were available but there weren't any big name department stores or shopping centres. For those who must have those, it's only a short drive to Tallahassee. Carrabelle also boasts the smallest police station in the world - a phone booth.
Freshwater and saltwater sportsfishing enthusiasts flock to this area for quiet fishing from the shore, the bridge or they can charter a boat. All of Franklin County is a great spot for pleasure boating, watching migrating birds, canoeing, hunting, picnicking, sailing, swimming or water skiing. Golfing is also a favourite pastime, especially for those living in Lanark Village retirement community. If you like the taste of fish, but prefer not to catch your own, there are plenty of restaurants that serve feasts from the sea. You can also buy freshly caught fish and cook it yourself.
Nearby Barrier Island is even more secluded. A causeway takes you to St. George's Island with its private gated plantation community at one end and a state park at the other. In between, there are a variety of beach houses and massive sand dunes. There are also lots and lots of shells on this remarkable beach. Because it's so quiet, it's perfect for a day of beachcombing.
Since this heart of Florida's "Forgotten Coast" is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Apalachicola River and Bay, it is easy to see why seafood production - especially the harvest of shellfish and oysters - is so extensive throughout the area. The history in Franklin County dates back to the Civil War.
Although residents love their solitude, Franklin County doesn't wish to shut out the world. A variety of annual celebrations including a Chili Cook-Off in March; Antique Car Races and Show in April; a Waterfront Festival with a Seafood Gumbo Cook-Off and Saltwater Fishing Tournament in June; a Bluegrass Festival in October and a Florida Seafood Festival in November keep things interesting for residents and visitors alike.
This area is a four-season outdoor lover's paradise. The average summer temperature is around 81 degrees F, with a low of 53 degrees F during their very short winter.
All in all, wherever you stop along Florida's Panhandle beaches, especially during spring and fall, it promises to be a most memorable getaway.