One of my favorite afternoon trips while staying at A Tropical Breeze on Cape San Blas is to drive over to Apalachicola to browse the shops, take pictures of the shrimp boasts, to see the oyster boasts out in the bay and to enjoy a pleasant lunch or dinner at The Owl Cafe or one of the seafood/ oyster restaurants with a water view. Here is a recent Wall Street Journal article about Apalachicola.
GO FISH | Boats docked in Apalachicola Sara Clemence/The Wall Street Journal
Up until recently, the sight of oystermen using long-handled rakes to harvest shellfish in Apalachicola Bay was about as common as new condos in Miami.
The local oystering industry is going through tough times; Georgia has been draining the rivers that supply oyster habitats. But a fishing-town feel remains in this Panhandle spot—as does the Southern vibe that results from being closer to Alabama than Orlando. And though the old French consulate now houses a shop where you can buy woven belts and vintage sterling-silver teaspoons, Apalachicola hasn't been totally taken over by tourists—yet.
Opt for an elegant bed-and-breakfast: Coombs House Inn, a 1905 mansion with polished wood paneling, oriental rugs and four-poster beds. The shops, galleries and restaurants of downtown, where much of the architecture is from the same era, are just a few blocks away.
Café con Leche, a coffee shop across from the waterfront, serves up wicked pastries, like strawberry scones and sour cream-cardamom-walnut coffee cake. Next door, Forgotten Coast Books specializes in used and out-of-print titles focusing on Florida. Around the corner, Bowery Art Gallery & Studio features works by local and regional artists.
Walk to the western end of Market Street, where shrimping boats dock and there's an enormous pile of spent oyster shells. (You may be more likely to see oyster skiffs tied up in gritty Eastpoint, on the far side of the causeway.) Take an estuary tour by motorboat or kayak to spot wildlife and learn about local ecology; there are several outfitters in the area.
Head to Up the Creek Raw Bar in time for sunset. Its high-ceilinged dining room, adorned with nets and stuffed fish, overlooks the tawny grasses of the bay. It goes beyond the usual fish-house fare—blackened mahi-mahi comes with fried green tomatoes—and, of course, it serves oysters.