florida restaurant
Antoine Bootz

WindMark Beach: Outdoor Spaces

The porches and breezeway of this Idea House serve as extensions of the interior, with space for dining, lounging, and entertaining guests. » See Photos

A statue decorating a garden Liven Up Your Outdoor Space

See how these real-life homeowners made their outdoor spaces livable rooms―ideal for entertaining and relaxing. » See Photos

WindMark Beach: Kitchen

Warm tones of chocolate and green decorate this open beach house kitchen. » See Photos

The Forgotten Coast--this beautiful expanse of Florida coast stretching from Mexico Beach in the west to Apalachicola in the east--offers a host of great activities, from fresh seafood and shopping possibilities to fun family excursions and a variety of quality places to stay. And best of all, WindMark Beach and Port St. Joe are right smack in the middle of everything.


School of Fish
51 Good Morning St.
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
(850) 229-1122
Within walking distance of the MyHomeIdeas idea house is the area’s newest restaurant. Run by brothers Clark and Blake Brennan, it serves the best seafood the Gulf Coast has to offer, all seasoned with that New Orleans touch one would expect. Don’t miss the bread pudding.

Avenue Sea at The Gibson Inn
51 Ave. C
Apalachicola, FL 32320
(850) 653-2193
A destination unto itself, Avenue Sea features the fine, fresh cuisine of chef David Carrier, an alum of the French Laundry in Napa Valley.

The Owl Cafe and Wine Room
15 Ave. D
Apalachicola, FL 32320
(850) 653-9888
This relaxed, yet polished restaurant in its historic setting serves delicious locally caught seafood as well as more exotic dishes. Try the lightly fried local oysters over mixed greens with their creamy horseradish dressing. Delicious!

Indian Pass Raw Bar
8391 Indian Pass Road
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
850) 227-1670
A landmark not to miss, Indian Pass Raw Bar is where you go for a cold beer and some of the freshest Apalachicola oysters around--baked, steamed, or raw--but never fried.

301 Williams Ave.
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
850) 229-9200
This hip bistro and catering company offers excellent food for lunch, dinner, or gourmet takeaway in downtown Port St. Joe.

Two Crabs Seafood
102 South 41st St.
Mexico Beach, FL 32410
(850) 648-9000
Open year round, Two Crabs has a fresh seafood market, raw bar, and full menu. It's good dining for the whole family.

Amanda's Bistro & Pantry
2904 Highway 98
Mexico Beach, FL 32410
(850) 648-5102
A popular bistro for the dine-in crowd, Amanda’s Bistro recently added the “Pantry” section: a wide selection of favorite items prepared to be delivered to vacationing families and friends.


The Grady Market
76 Water St.
Apalachicola, FL 32320
(850) 653-4099
With more than a dozen antique shops, artist galleries, and boutiques, chances are The Grady Market has that perfect gift you’re looking for.

Richard Bickel Photography Gallery
81 Market St.
Apalachicola, FL 32320
(850) 653-3900
No one has visually captured the beauty of Apalachicola--from its bay and river to its people--like photojournalist Richard Bickel. His new gallery is full of fine art prints, books, posters, and note cards of the area.

Buddy Ward & Sons
233 Water St.
Apalachicola, FL 32320
(850) 653-8522
Mainly a commercial operation, the Wards will happily sell you a mess of fresh oysters to put on ice and take back home to enjoy--and share.

210 Reid Ave.
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
(850) 227-7194
This eclectic boutique (with unique gifts and fashion accessories) carries everything from special order embroidery and stationary to clothes and garden items.

Palm Tree Books
306 Reid Ave.
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
(850) 229-9277
A great hangout with WiFi, this bookstore is the ideal place to get out of the heat with an iced latte and browse the selection of local interestbooks and best sellers.

L.L. Lanier & Sons Tupelo Honey
318 Lake Grove Road
Wewahitchka, FL 32465
(850) 639-2371
Just up the road from Port St. Joe, you’ll find the Lanier family's Tupelo honey. It makes a great gift and also can be ordered online.


Water Street Hotel & Marina
329 Water St.
Apalachicola, FL 32320
(850) 653-3700
Apalachicola’s new 30-suite hotel is a convenient four-block stroll from the downtown’s destinations.

The Consulate
76 Water Street
Apalachicola, FL 32320
(850) 653-1515
These luxury suites overlooking Apalachicola Bay are housed in the former French Consulate building.

Coombs House Inn
80 Sixth St.
Apalachicola, FL 32320
This romantic Victorian bed and breakfast offers several options in the mansion or in the adjacent villa. Both are a short walk from downtown.

The Old Saltworks Cabins
P.O. Box 526
Port St. Joe, FL 32457
(850) 229-6097
A true getaway location off the beaten path, The Old Saltworks Cabins offer ideal vacation rentals on St. Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Southern Resorts Vacation Rentals
3052 W. Highway 98
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
(850) 229-1350
Featuring a multitude of vacation rentals in the area (such as the new Barefoot Cottages in Port St. Joe), Southern Resorts is a good starting point for finding the spot just right for you and your family.

Port Inn
501 Monument Avenue
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
(850) 229-7678
A newly restored 21-room hotel just across the road from St. Joseph Bay, the inn is convenient to downtown Port St. Joe, as well as the new marina three blocks away.


St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
(850) 227-1327
With its extensive stretch of pristine white sand beaches, St. Joseph is renown as one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Indeed, this 2,516-acre park has been voted the No. 1 beach in the nation by Dr. Beach.

St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge
(850) 653-8808
A pristine barrier island connected by a ferry with no facilities (save for what nature provided), the preserve is open during the day for birding and nature walks. You cannot get more beautifully isolated than this.

Raney House Museum
(850) 653-1700
This striking 1838 home maintained by the Apalachicola Area Historical Society is on National Register of Historic Homes and offers a look at the life of cotton merchant David Greenway Raney. Located on Market Street at the corner of Avenue F, house tours are offered regularly.

Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve
(850) 653-8063
Covering more than 246,000 acres in Apalachicola Bay, this is the second largest Estuarine Research Reserve system in the nation. Open Monday-Friday, 9a.m.-5p.m., the Nature Center at the north end of Market Street has a modest but fun museum, aquarium, and an excellent elevated nature trail out into the marshes.

Book Me A Charter
P.O. Box 333
Apalachicola, FL 32320
(850) 653-2622
Run by affable husband-and-wife team Sandra and Dwayne Allen, this charter service offers tours, guides for fishing, and oystering. Be sure to call in advance--they book up quickly, especially in season.

Seahorse Water Safaris
340 Marina Drive
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
(850) 227-1099
Seahorse Water Safaris provides the full gambit of services, including sunset cruises, scalloping excursions (in season), snorkeling, and boat rentals.


 By Todd Keith, Contributing Editor

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