Meaning "land of the friendly people" in the language of its original Native American inhabitants, Apalachicola—known in these parts as simply Apalach—lies on the Panhandle's southernmost bulge, a shining example of slow-paced Old Florida. European settlers began arriving in 1821, and by 1847 the southern terminus of the Apalachicola River steamboat route was a bustling port town. Until recently, it was Oyster Capital of the World, but over-harvesting and upriver dams have all but destroyed the industry locally. But oyster farms in other parts of the county are now producing the tasty bivalves that are fresh and readily available.

The newest industry here is tourism, and visitors have begun discovering the Forgotten Coast, as the area is known, flocking to its intimate hotels and bed-and-breakfasts and dining at excellent restaurants. The downtown area is compact, easily walkable, and full of unique local shops selling maritime artifacts, souvenirs, and art. If you like oysters or want to go back in time to the Old South of Gothic churches and spooky graveyards, Apalachicola is a good place to start.

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