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The Best Things to Do in Carrabelle Florida

Discover Carrabelle Florida, a hidden gem in Florida’s “Forgotten Coast.” Carrabelle is less crowded and filled with Old Florida charm and offers a unique mix of attractions. From sun-soaked Carrabelle Beach to the fascinating Carrabelle History Museum, this town is a standout attraction.

carrabelle florida

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This small fishing village in the Florida Panhandle boasts a wealth of experiences linked to the Gulf of Mexico and the tranquil Carrabelle River. Explore historic sites like the “World’s Smallest Police Station,” enjoy outdoor adventures in Tate’s Hell State Forest, or delve into the town’s captivating history at locations like the Carrabelle Bottle House.

Whether you plan a short trip to nearby islands or a quiet day reading under Gulf Coast Pines, Carrabelle, FL 32322, promises abundant engaging activities. Let this guide lead you to the best things to do in Carrabelle, a town that truly embodies the spirit of North Florida’s Forgotten Coast.

History and Significance

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Carrabelle’s history, a town founded as a bustling port and evolved into the quaint vacation spot it is today. Boasting a maritime heritage, Carrabelle’s significance lies in its unique blend of quaintness and cultural richness, making it one of the must-see locations in the Florida Panhandle.

  • Maritime Heritage: Home to the “World’s Smallest Police Station,” a former phone booth turned iconic attraction, Carrabelle’s naval legacy is a charming testament to its past.
  • Historical Monuments: Explore the Carrabelle History Museum and Crooked River Lighthouse, built in 1895. These monuments echo the town’s maritime legacy and provide insight into the lives of past residents.
  • World War History: Visit the Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum, a salute to the service members who trained on Carrabelle Beach, connecting you to a significant part of America’s past.
  • Carrabelle Bottle House: Discover this intriguing structure of over 6,000 bottles, showcasing the town’s creativity and resourcefulness.
  • Navigating Carrabelle’s Waterways: Experience Carrabelle’s scenic nature trails and boat rentals along the Carrabelle River and Apalachicola Bay. These features highlight Carrabelle’s maritime roots and natural beauty.

From the sands of Carrabelle Beach to the corridors of the history museum, each step in this town is a step back in time. Explore Carrabelle’s history to truly appreciate the unique charm that sets it apart in the vibrant landscape of Florida’s tourism scene.

Outdoor & Water Activities

Breathtaking scenery and engaging activities define Carrabelle, a coastal gem on Florida’s Forgotten Coast. The town’s outdoor attractions offer a variety of experiences, making it a perfect destination for tranquil beachgoers and adventurous explorers. Whether you’re a fishing enthusiast eager to explore the rich waters or a lover of sandy beaches and beautiful sunsets, Carrabelle’s outdoor and water activities make it a haven for all.

Fish the Carrabelle River and the Gulf of Mexico

Known for its deep-sea fishing, Carrabelle is a paradise for anglers. The Carrabelle River and the Gulf of Mexico teem with diverse marine life, making the area a hotspot for fishing. With boat rentals readily available, it’s easy to embark on a fishing adventure. Numerous fish cleaning stations are located along the river, making it a seamless experience from the moment you cast your line until your catch is ready for the grill.

Visit Carrabelle Beach

Soak in the sun at Carrabelle Beach, a well-known tourist destination on Florida’s Panhandle. Its white sand beaches and Gulf Coast pines provide a tranquil setting for sunbathing, reading a book, or simply enjoying the gorgeous sunsets. Its uncrowded appeal makes it a gem for those seeking a serene beach experience. The beach also offers a range of facilities, including outdoor showers, picnic tables, and bathroom facilities, ensuring a comfortable day out in the sun.

Explore Tate’s Hell State Forest

For nature enthusiasts, Tate’s Hell State Forest is a must-see. Spread across thousands of acres, this natural habitat offers various outdoor activities, including trail riding and nature walks. As you meander through its trails, encounter diverse flora such as woody shrubs, sand pines, and small oaks. The forest is home to a range of wildlife and offers a unique opportunity to experience the North Florida ecosystem up close.

Consider camping in Tate’s Hell State Forest for an immersive outdoor adventure. With its vast expanse of natural beauty, camping in this forest allows you to fully appreciate the diverse flora and fauna that call it home. To make your camping trip successful, check out this comprehensive list to ensure you have all the essentials.

Carrabelle’s outdoor and water activities provide an unforgettable experience for all types of travelers. The town’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty and offering various recreational opportunities, from the calm Carrabelle Beach to the adventurous Tate’s Hell State Forest, makes it one of the best places to visit in Carrabelle, FL. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful getaway, Carrabelle has something to offer everyone. Experience the allure of Carrabelle’s outdoors as you explore its many attractions and immerse yourself in its natural beauty.

Sail the Carrabelle Harbor

Set sail in Carrabelle Harbor and soak in the coastal charm of the Forgotten Coast. Carrabelle Harbor is a hub for sailing enthusiasts, known for its calm waters and scenic views. Rent a boat, take a short cruise, or enjoy the beautiful harbor views. Sailing in the harbor is truly a community treasure and one of the best things to do in Carrabelle, FL.

Kayak the Coastal Paddling Trail

Explore Carrabelle’s natural beauty on the water by kayaking the Coastal Paddling Trail. Known for its lush surroundings and clear blue water lines, the trail provides an intimate view of the area’s diverse natural habitats. Be sure to bring your sports camera to capture the thrilling moments of wildlife. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced kayaker, paddling through these scenic routes is a must-do water activity in Carrabelle.

Charter a Fishing Trip

Carrabelle offers premier fishing experiences for anglers of all skill levels. You can charter a fishing trip and explore the rich waters of the Gulf of Mexico. You can choose your adventure and potentially reel in a big catch with various charters available. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice, a chartered fishing trip highlights the Carrabelle experience.

Discover Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Opportunities

The clear waters around Carrabelle offer fantastic opportunities for scuba diving and snorkeling. Discover a vibrant underwater world inhabited by a variety of marine life. Whether it’s your first dive or you’re a seasoned diver, Carrabelle’s waters hold an array of beautiful sights beneath the waves. So, get your gear on, and plunge into an underwater adventure in this unique corner of the Florida Panhandle.

Hunting in the Apalachicola National Forest

The Apalachicola National Forest, about 10 miles from Carrabelle, FL, offers a rich hunting experience in the fall and winter. Spanning 582,691 acres, this wildlife management area is home to diverse species like turkeys, alligators, and bears. Before embarking on your hunting adventure, equip yourself with the right gear. Check out this guide on the best hunting binoculars to enhance your experience. For more information on hunting regulations, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website.

Family Fun

Families seeking an enriching vacation in the Sunshine State will find plenty to love in Carrabelle, FL. Known for its family-friendly atmosphere, Carrabelle boasts a variety of experiences suitable for all ages. From its parks’ quiet charm to the beach’s fun-filled adventures, the whole family can enjoy countless things to do in Carrabelle. Let’s explore a couple of these attractive options.

Enjoy a Picnic at George Sands Park

Unwind with the family at George Sands Park, a popular local haven where the tranquillity of Carrabelle can be fully appreciated. This spacious park offers a green oasis, perfect for picnics, with tables scattered across its sun-kissed fields. Children can frolic in the playground while adults soak up stunning riverside views. Whether you’re enjoying homemade sandwiches or local takeout, picnicking here is one of the best things to do in Carrabelle, FL. The park’s serene ambiance fosters family bonding amidst the town’s natural beauty.

Visit the Carrabelle Bottle House

No visit to Carrabelle is complete without seeing the Carrabelle Bottle House, one of the city’s most unique attractions. Constructed entirely from glass bottles, the Bottle House is one of Carrabelle’s best things and a community treasure. It’s not just a quirky structure – the house tells a fascinating tale of recycling and artistry. Visitors can enjoy the intricate designs and patterns created by the various colored bottles, demonstrating the unique blend of creativity and sustainability that the Bottle House embodies.

Take a Boat Ride to Dog Island

Adventure awaits at Dog Island, an unspoiled barrier island just a boat ride from Carrabelle’s coast. Charter a boat or hop on a ferry for a family expedition across the crystal waters of the Gulf of Mexico to this isolated paradise. You’ll find untouched beaches, weaving nature trails, and abundant wildlife here. Spend the day exploring, swimming, or simply reclining on the sandy shores, making it a memorable family trip. Don’t forget to hunt for unique shells and elusive sand dollars! Remember, as Dog Island is a pure retreat with limited facilities, pack all essentials for your day trip.

Check Out the Big Bend Maritime Center

For those interested in marine history and the ecology of Apalachicola Bay, a visit to the Big Bend Maritime Center is in order. This educational center offers a fascinating insight into the maritime history of North Florida. The center features informational kiosks that detail the area’s shipping history, fishing industry, and the ecology of the surrounding waters. As part of the center, you can also explore the area’s natural habitats through guided tours, making it a fun and informative activity for all ages. Located along the Carrabelle River, the Big Bend Maritime Center is another essential addition to your list of things to do in Carrabelle, FL.

Visit the World’s Smallest Police Station

The World’s Smallest Police Station is a quirky attraction and one of the best things to see in Carrabelle, FL. Originally a phone booth, it was designated as the city’s police station in 1963. It’s a testament to the town’s charm and humor, creating a perfect photo opportunity. This well-known tourist destination is a unique piece of Carrabelle’s history and is certainly not to be missed.

Museums & Historical Sites

Museums and historical sites are critical to understanding a place’s past and present. They offer a journey back in time, revealing stories and experiences that shaped the community and culture. In Carrabelle, FL, no shortage of historical sites and museums offer unique experiences and insight into the city’s rich past. Let’s delve into some of the best places to visit in Carrabelle to get your fill of history and culture.

Explore the Crooked River Lighthouse and Keeper’s House Museum

The Crooked River Lighthouse, originally built in 1895, is a testament to Carrabelle’s maritime past. One of the best things to do in Carrabelle, the lighthouse offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding Forgotten Coast. Adjacent to the lighthouse is the Keeper’s House Museum, a time capsule filled with maritime artifacts and tales of those who kept the lighthouse operational over the decades. A visit to the lighthouse during the full moon offers an extraordinary sight, making it a must-see attraction in Carrabelle. Once at the top, enhance the experience with a pair of quality binoculars to observe all of Carrabelle from this vantage point!

Lighthouse Tower Climb:

  • Open, depending on the weather.
  • Cost:
    • Adults (13+): $5.00
    • Youth (6-12 yrs): $3.00
    • Children (5 & under): Free
  • Requirement: Climbers must be at least 44 inches tall.

Learn at the Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum

The Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum is a must-see in Carrabelle. This historical museum offers an immersive look into the life of soldiers and their training during the World War II era. Its collection of wartime artifacts, photographs, and vehicles honors the legacy of service members and the area’s significant role in global history.

Discover the Carrabelle History Museum

The Carrabelle History Museum is a treasure trove of local history. It features exhibits on Carrabelle’s rich maritime past, indigenous cultures, and pivotal historical events. It’s an excellent place for anyone interested in learning more about the fascinating history of the Florida Panhandle, making it one of the top attractions in Carrabelle.

See the Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Center

The Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Center is a haven for nature lovers and conservation enthusiasts. Here, you can learn about the area’s native sea turtle species and their vital role in the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. Interactive exhibits and educational programs make this center an engaging experience for all ages and a critical part of any visit to Carrabelle Beach.

Shopping and Local Markets

Shopping in Carrabelle, FL, is a charming experience encapsulating the coastal town’s vibrant culture and close-knit community. Each visit to the local markets unveils unique finds and immerses tourists in Carrabelle’s rich history and lifestyle. From artisan crafts and antique treasures to fresh local produce and seafood, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and discover in Carrabelle’s quaint shops and markets.

Shop at Downtown Carrabelle

Downtown Carrabelle is the heart of the city’s shopping experience. It’s a vibrant area filled with eclectic shops selling various items. Look for local art, handmade crafts, and nautical-themed gifts. The downtown is also home to the Carrabelle Bottle House, a unique attraction testament to the city’s artistic spirit. As you explore Carrabelle, enjoy the picturesque views of the Carrabelle River and the unforgettable sunsets at Carrabelle Beach.

Nightlife and Entertainment

While Carrabelle may be a small coastal town in Florida, it boasts a laid-back nightlife and entertainment scene that perfectly complements its beach town vibe. It’s the perfect destination for travelers seeking a relaxing evening after exploring the town’s numerous attractions during the day. From live music venues to comfortable bars, Carrabelle provides a variety of experiences for every type of traveler.

Enjoy Music at the Fathoms Steam Room & Raw Bar

One of the best things to do in Carrabelle at night is to enjoy live music at the Fathoms Steam Room & Raw Bar. This waterfront restaurant offers a menu packed with fresh seafood like Apalachicola Bay oysters, and hosts live music performances. It’s a great place to relax after a day exploring the Crooked River Lighthouse or the Carrabelle History Museum. With views of the Carrabelle River and the sound of local musicians playing in the background, it’s an ideal setting for a memorable night on the Florida Panhandle.

Relax at Harry’s Georgian Bar

Harry’s Georgian Bar is a charming and cozy spot that offers a laid-back atmosphere for those looking to wind down their evening. Located near Carrabelle Beach, it’s a great place to enjoy various drinks after a day spent in the sun and sand. With friendly staff and a welcoming environment, it captures the essence of Carrabelle’s inviting community. Whether you’ve finished your day on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico or visited the nearby islands, ending your night at Harry’s Georgian Bar is a great way to experience Carrabelle’s understated yet enjoyable nightlife.

Dining and Cuisine

Sampling the local cuisine is an essential part of experiencing Carrabelle, Florida. The town’s culinary scene is rich in fresh seafood and local flavors, given its location along the Gulf of Mexico. When exploring Carrabelle, take a short break from the beach, lighthouse visits, or museum tours to dine at some recommended spots.

Savor Seafood at The Fisherman’s Wife

One of the best things to do in Carrabelle, FL, is to enjoy a meal at The Fisherman’s Wife. As a popular tourist attraction for foodies, this restaurant offers an array of seafood dishes, including mouthwatering Apalachicola Bay oysters and scallops. After spending a day on a boat or walking along Carrabelle Beach, The Fisherman’s Wife provides a welcome retreat where you can savor the tastes of the Florida Panhandle in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Dine at Carrabelle Junction

Another must-see on your culinary tour is Carrabelle Junction. This cozy eatery, located along the Carrabelle River, features a diverse menu that caters to all tastes. Known for its friendly staff and flavorful dishes, Carrabelle Junction is an excellent place for locals and visitors. Whether you’re reading a book with a coffee in the morning or having a picnic lunch with the family after exploring the nearby Carrabelle History Museum, this spot should not be missed.

Enjoy the Menu at Fathoms Steam Room & Raw Bar

Located on the waterfront with views of Carrabelle’s stunning sunsets, Fathoms Steam Room & Raw Bar offers an extensive menu filled with local seafood and other delicacies. Dine on fresh catches from the Gulf of Mexico, savor the famous Apalachicola Bay oysters, or enjoy other locally inspired dishes. The restaurant also offers live music performances, making it a dining destination with a side of entertainment. After spending the day at the Carrabelle Bottle House or the Crooked River Lighthouse, Fathoms offers an excellent relaxing venue to refuel. This truly is a community treasure in Carrabelle and one of the best places to experience the city’s vibrant food scene.

Best Places to Stay in Carrabelle Florida

Selecting suitable accommodation is crucial for a memorable travel experience. Carrabelle, Florida, provides a range of options, from charming inns to RV parks, ideal for every traveler’s needs and budget. Staying in the city makes it easier to explore Carrabelle and experience the best things this city offers, from Carrabelle Beach to the numerous picnic tables around the city.

Stay at the Old Carrabelle Hotel

The Old Carrabelle Hotel is truly a community treasure. This charming, historic inn is located near Carrabelle’s waterfront, offering easy access to the beach, the Carrabelle River, and other attractions such as the Carrabelle History Museum and the Crooked River Lighthouse. Enjoy the unique blend of historic district charm and modern amenities during your stay.

Experience The Moorings at Carrabelle

If you’re looking for a different stay, consider The Moorings at Carrabelle. Located along the Carrabelle River, this marina and lodging offers a unique experience. It’s an excellent place for boating enthusiasts or those simply seeking stunning waterfront views, with the Gulf of Mexico just a stone’s throw away.


What are the best things to do in Carrabelle, Florida?

Some of the best things to do in Carrabelle, FL, include visiting the beach, exploring the Crooked River Lighthouse, and visiting the Carrabelle History Museum.

Can you tell me about Carrabelle Beach?

Carrabelle Beach is a beautiful sandy beach in Carrabelle, Florida. It is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.

What is the Crooked River Lighthouse?

The Crooked River Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse in Carrabelle, FL. It offers stunning views of the surrounding area and hosts various events and tours.

What is the Carrabelle Bottle House?

The Carrabelle Bottle House is a unique attraction in Carrabelle, Florida. It is made entirely out of recycled bottles and offers a fascinating glimpse into the creativity of local artists.

Is there a Carrabelle River?

The Carrabelle River is a river in Carrabelle, FL. It is an excellent spot for boating, fishing, and enjoying the area’s natural beauty.

What can I see at the Carrabelle History Museum?

The Carrabelle History Museum showcases the area’s rich history, including exhibits on the local fishing industry, military history, and the history of Carrabelle itself.

Are there any other attractions in Carrabelle, FL?

Carrabelle, FL, has several other attractions, including the Camp Gordon Johnston Museum, George Sands Park, and Fathoms Restaurant.

Can I rent a boat in Carrabelle, FL?

Yes, boat rental services are available in Carrabelle, FL. Renting a boat is a great way to explore the nearby islands and enjoy the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

What can I do in Carrabelle, FL, besides visiting the beach?

Besides visiting the beach, you can explore the town’s history at the Carrabelle History Museum, enjoy outdoor activities at George Sands Park, and dine at local restaurants like Fathoms.

Are there any nearby islands to explore in Carrabelle, FL?

Carrabelle, FL, is near several beautiful islands like Dog Island. These islands offer stunning beaches and are great for day trips or overnight stays.

Closing Thoughts

Carrabelle, Florida, is an intriguing destination with rich history, stunning natural beauty, and a welcoming community. Its unique charm lies in its mix of attractions, from the world’s smallest police station to the majestic Crooked River Lighthouse and the delectable seafood caught fresh from the Gulf of Mexico.

Whether you’re here for the sandy beaches, the history, the boat rides on the Carrabelle River, or the laid-back lifestyle, there’s no denying that Carrabelle is a hidden gem on Florida’s Forgotten Coast. The city of Carrabelle invites you to explore its treasures, immerse in its community, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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