This part of the Florida Panhandle is often referred to as the forgotten coast. It has lagged behind some of the other parts of Florida during the last century and is only now showing some small signs of growth. This lack of commercial development allows us to see what the coast looked like before everyone started to flood into Florida.
As we started back towards home, we made some quick stops along this coast to enjoy that feeling. First was the town of Apalachicola. This town became a coastal boom town starting in the early 1800's with the cotton trade. By 1840, it was the third largest cotton port in the United States. Also during the period the town became a major supplier of sponges. By early 1900's the demand for sponges plummeted. The town shook these losses off and so became the oyster capital of Florida with 90% of all oysters harvested in Florida coming from Apalachicola Bay. It still has a seafood industry and has become a tourist attraction, as well. Walking around the town, you will able to feel its history on every street.
One great thing about Florida is the many public accesses to waterfront and beach locations. You can usually find a good spot in any town along a body of water to park and enjoy the view. Now, with our smaller motorhome, we try to find these places while traveling to stop and have lunch or just to enjoy the view. We have driven through the town of Port St Joe a number of times, but never slowed down. This time, we got off the main road and found a waterfront park to have lunch. It is amazing how many people just drive thru the parking lot at this time of day for a quick look at the water before returning the their daily labors.