See the world’s smallest police station before making a run to the forest.
Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico on the eastern side of the Florida panhandle, the fishing village of Carrabelle is a great place to go if you want white-sand beaches and easy access to Dog Island and St George's Island just off shore. The community's claim to fame is that it was once home to the world's oldest police station, which was essentially just a police phone in a phone booth. You can still see the original at the Carrabelle History Museum, though there is a replica marking the spot where this whimsical attraction once stood.
A short jaunt from the center of Carrabelle, Tate's Hell State Forest protects all sorts of wildlife, from gopher tortoises and Florida black bears to gopher tortoises and red-cockaded woodpecker. The forest also has around 35 miles of waterways for boating and fishing and a smattering of primitive campsites, most of which have direct river access.
On the eastern end of St. George Island, a barrier island that's sandwiched between Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park is a great place for swimming, sunbathing, and stargazing. If you're lucky, you might even spot a pod of dolphins. The park also has a couple of primitive sites and a developed campground complete with full hookups and a dump station.
Spread out over more than half a million acres, Apalachicola National Forest is the largest national forest in the state. Here you'll find hundreds of miles of trails, over 700 bodies of water, and a wide range of flora and fauna. The forest offers a mix of developed campgrounds, some of which are RV-friendly, and primitive dispersed camping, though some campgrounds are only open seasonally.
You'll get the best weather in Carrabelle if you visit between October and May, when temperatures tend to be a bit cooler and the weather's usually a bit drier than during the summer months. The risk of hurricanes is also lower during this time. Late April is a particularly great time to visit, as this is when the annual Carrabelle Riverfront Festival—which features craft and food vendors and live entertainment—takes place.