For some, vacation means relaxing and recharging. Others want to explore and get to know the history of the place they’re visiting. Of course, St. George Island is the perfect destination for the former, but did you know it’s also a great fit for the latter? Here on the Forgotten Coast, we’re dedicated to preserving our cultural heritage, and one of the best ways to get to know us is through our museums. Check out these four history-laden hotspots along the Forgotten Coast:
- Apalachicola Maritime Museum
103 Water Street, Apalachicola. Open Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 1pm – 5pm
The Apalachicola Maritime Museum provides a hands-on learning environment for all things nautical. Through programs such as boat building and restoration, historical tours, and education programs, visitors are able to get an insider’s view into the three rivers that converge to become the largest river in Florida—the Apalachicola River. The main exhibit is the Heritage of Apalachicola, a 58-foot wooden ketch from the 1930s. Daily sailing adventures on both the bay and river are offered.
- Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum
Carrabelle City Complex, 1001 Gray Avenue, Carrabelle. Open Monday-Thursday 1pm-4pm, Friday 12pm-4pm, and Saturday 10am-2pm
For World War II buffs, the Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum, in nearby Carrabelle, Florida, is a must visit. The camp was opened in 1942 as a training camp for Infantry Divisions and their support units in amphibious operations. In the following four years of operation, 250,000 men trained there before shipping out to both the European and Pacific fronts. The exhibit tells the story of the United States’ extensive effort during World War II through an widespread history of those who trained there, as well as photographs of daily life in the camp. Veterans who trained at the camp also contributed memorabilia, with everything from uniforms to souvenirs.
- John Gorrie Museum
46 6th St., Apalachicola. Open Thursday-Monday 9am-5pm year-round, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
The John Gorrie Museum chronicles the life of one of Apalachicola’s most famous residents, Dr. John Gorrie. A gifted physician and committed citizen of Apalachicola who served as postmaster, city treasurer, town councilman, and bank director, Gorrie’s most famous contribution was a refrigeration unit for his yellow fever patients. This machine laid the groundwork for modern refrigeration and air conditioning. The museum honors his legacy by showing how one man can impact the world.
- Cape St. George Light Museum and Gift Shop
2B East Gulf Beach Dr., St. George Island. Open every day except Thursday from 10am – 5pm (12pm – 5pm on Sundays), with additional hours for seasonal full moon climbs.
Don’t think you have to leave St. George Island to get your dose of history! The Cape St. George Light Museum and Gift Shop is conveniently located in the center of our little island. This iconic landmark has a long and storied history, with four different iterations defining the skyline over multiple decades. The last structure, which stood for 153 years, was sadly destroyed in 2005, but the museum was built in its likeness. Now, visitors can learn about the history in the museum and replica of the Keeper’s House, as well as climb to the top of the lighthouse for unmatched views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Whatever era or type of history you’re interested in, there’s a museum for it on the Forgotten Coast!