Alluring Apalachicola

The alluring Apalachicola river basin in Florida’s panhandle was our first boondocking experience in Florida as we continue with our story of how and where we manage to travel. This beguiling little fishing town was great fun to wander around on foot and in the Jeep. It is also a very dog-friendly place.

The name”Apalachicol” comes from the Apalachicola Tribe and is a combination of Hitchoti Indian words”apalahchi” meaning”on the other side” and”okli” meaning “people”.

   Apalachicola History

Alluring Apalachicola

Before our Jeep issues occurred that you will read about later in this post, we drove into the town of Apalachicola to see what we could find. The main street running through town has unusual and friendly shops, more than a few restaurants (all serving great seafood), and very attractive-looking inns and B&Bs. This area, of course, is known for its oysters. I’m sad to say we didn’t try the oysters. As I always say, next time, right?

Alluring Apalachicola
Alluring Apalachicola

We enjoyed some delicious fried shrimp and chowder at the Apalachicola Seafood Grill.

Alluring Apalachicola

Coombs Inn & Suites is just one of the inviting looking inns available for tourists to the Apalachicola area.

Orman House Historic State Park

177 5th Street
Apalachicola, FL 32320

Alluring Apalachicola

Thomas Orman built his home overlooking the Apalachicola River in 1838. Orman was instrumental in making Apalachicola a major cotton exporting port during the mid to late 1800s. The Orman Home is now a Florida State Park and is open Thursday through Sunday. We were not in Apalachicola on those days, so we were unable to tour the home.

Alluring Apalachicola

The Three Soldiers Detail, standing on the lawn in front of Orman House, is a bronze replica of the Vietnam memorial statue in Washington, D.C.

Chapman Botanical Gardens

Alluring Apalachicola

These gardens, across the street from Orman House, honor the prominent 19th-century botanist, Dr. Alvin Chapman. This is a peaceful walking garden, lovely and full of plants, even in January. There are lots of open spaces, a large gazebo, walkways, paths, and beautiful plants. It was a perfect place to walk with our dogs and enjoy the sunshine.

Alluring Apalachicola

St George Island

Alluring Apalachicola

This island of paradise is just across a few bridges, 15 minutes or so, from Apalachicola. It is a quiet and serene vacation destination with several miles of beaches for swimming, sunning, fishing, and enjoying nature. You will find no high rises or big box stores due to strict zoning and building codes. What you will find here are a few hotels and inns as well as vacation cottage rentals.

We would have loved to stay at St. George Island State Park on the island. The next available RV campsite availability at the time I checked is December 2021! We will have to plan far ahead if we want to visit here!

Bloody Bluff Landing

Bloody Bluff Road
Eastpoint, FL 32328

Alluring Apalachicola

We chose this campsite because we were looking for a camp close to the town of Apalachicola and we read, and saw, from pictures, that this was right on the Apalachicola River. It is isolated, down a dirt country road primitive campsite in the middle of a tall timber forest.

Also in Bloody Bluff Landing’s favor is its overnight camping fee — FREE! Campers are required to obtain a permit to camp here either in a tent or RV, but there is no fee. There are a grand total of five campsites to choose from. Only one was available for a permit when I “booked” After talking to people from the area, we learned that local hunters have these sites booked all the time.

Alluring Apalachicola

As we arrived, a local family was just finishing their picnic and getting ready to leave. Two trucks with boat trailers were at the boat dock, but no one else was there. When the family left, we were totally alone at the end of Bloody Bluff road, just us, bear-proof trashcans, and the incredible sky full of stars!

Alluring Apalachicola

Early morning mist on the Apalachicola River

Yes, there are bears in the area, apparently. This was quite a surprise to me. I always think of bears being in the mountains or places like Yellowstone. The story a fisherman at the dock told Steve confirmed the presence of bears, though. The fisherman told Steve that he discovered the hard way there really are bears in the vicinity.

He’d left some bits of beef jerky in his boat overnight, and the next day he discovered his fishing boat had been mangled up pretty badly by a bear that smelled, and found, the jerky. That’s as close to a bear as I’ve ever been.

Alluring Apalachicola

Empty campsite!

Would you stay overnight at Bloody Bluff Campsite in Apalachicola, Florida? It sounds a little spooky, doesn’t it? Where would a campsite get a name like that? Well, after checking online, I discovered a few different stories.

Alluring Apalachicola

Driving down this road from the campsite was the definition of spooky!

Bloody Bluff most likely commemorates 1800s Indian battles or skirmishes fought at this site. This Fort was built by and then abandoned by the British, then became known as the Negro Fort. This Fort was a safe haven for the most extensive free Black colony in North American history. However, in 1816 this Fort was destroyed by the United States’ deadliest cannon fire in its history. A single cannonball was heated to red hot and shot into the Fort, hitting an ammunition shed that exploded, causing the deaths of 270 men, women, and children.

Later, a new structure, Fort Gadsden, was built by Lt. James Gadsden under orders from Major General Andrew Jackson. Fort Gadsden was in use until 1821.

There are several different historical accounts and a few books written about this. I am by no means a historian, but Steve and both enjoy hearing and learning about historical stories in the locations we visit. If you are interested in factual historical information, here are a few links to look at and some books available from Amazon.

Fort at Prospect Bluff

The Seminole Wars

After a peaceful night’s sleep all alone in the woods, we struck out down the hard-packed red sand road to do a little exploring in the Jeep. This is what we encountered – more than once.

So, we were headed back to our campsite at the end of our day, exploring, and the check engine light came on the Jeep’s dashboard. Steve stopped on the roadside and checked under the hood discovering the serpentine belt had come loose. He put it back in place with the help of a passerby that stopped to help. When the engine was started again, the belt came off a second time. Steve discovered a problem with the harmonic balancer.

Alluring Apalachicola

I think it’s broken.

We were fortunate that anyone was driving down this road at all; then extraordinarily lucky and grateful that a family of strangers stopped to help us! A second family, who had been hunting with the Good Samaritans in the other vehicle, also stopped to help. Steve and our new best friends all determined that all the zillion tools Steve always carries with him in the Jeep would not fix the problem.

We would have to tow the Jeep to a shop and have the darn harmonic balancer replaced. One of the guys that stopped to help us hooked our Jeep up to his truck and towed us back to our campsite. We run into the most amazing people everywhere we go! I do not believe AAA would have agreed to come to our aid out there in the middle of nowhere, and I also do not think they would have ever had even located us!

Our two-night stay at Bloody Bluff was over, and we were headed to Rodman State Park in Palatka, Florida, the next day. Steve located a repair shop on the way, sort of, in Gainesville. We dropped the Jeep off there for what we were told would be a quick repair and went on our merry way in the RV to Rodman State Park for our one night’s stay.  

Next week, come back to read about more of our journey into Florida, the delightful people we happened on, the sites we saw, and the adventures we had. We are already planning another visit to Florida. This trip is difficult because almost all RV parks are fully booked this time of the year when all the snowbirds make Florida their home.

The Harvest Host and Boondockers Welcome hosts we were able to stay at are what made this trip possible at all. There was no room for us most everywhere we checked. Although we love Harvest Hosts and Boondocker Welcome hosts, we know to book Florida sites way far in advance for our next trip to Florida.

Alluring Apalachicola

4 thoughts on “Alluring Apalachicola

  1. Pingback: Where did our Florida RV adventure take us next? | Always Want To Go
  2. Pingback: Not enough time in St. Augustine | Always Want To Go
  3. Pingback: Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird? | Always Want To Go
  4. Pingback: Motorhome travel. Great or not so great? | Always Want To Go

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *