Florida’s Panhandle

7 STOPS | 154 MILES | 3 hr 14 min

Route 98 east of Panama City and south of Tallahassee borders what is known as Florida’s Big Bend because it is shaped like the one in Texas. But unlike desert land west of the Pecos, Florida’s Big Bend is lush: cool blue waters of Apalachee Bay to the south and Spanish moss-draped forest on the other side of the road. Beyond the natural beauty of a blessedly underdeveloped stretch of Florida’s panhandle, a trip along this road provides access to culinary treasure. Deep-cupped oysters, harvested from the fresh/saltwater mix where the Apalachicola River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, are unique for buttery meatiness that sparkles raw, baked, broiled, or fried. While the natural harvest suffered in 2013 due to a dearth of freshwater flow, oyster season remains a delicious time to explore what Apalachicolans like to call the “forgotten coast.” Wild and cultivated local oysters join a year-around menu of such other marine treasures as shrimp, crab, grouper, and mullet, plus catfish.


Boss Oyster

Boss Oyster is one of the best places to eat the oysters for which Apalachicola is famous. Plus Florida shrimp, flounder, grouper, and redfish!


Apalachicola Seafood Grill

A corner-store Apalachicola lunch room surrounded by a raised sidewalk, this town favorite restaurant serves exemplary Gulf Coast seafood at reasonable prices.


Fisherman’s Wife

This charming Carrabelle town cafe on Florida's Gulf Coast really is run by a fisherman's wife. Count on impeccable local seafood and perfect Key lime pie.


Mineral Springs Seafood

Roadside smokehouse and raw fish store, Mineral Springs on Florida's Gulf coast makes fabulous smoked fish spreads. No on-premises dining. All take-out.


Wakulla Springs Lodge

Surrounded by Florida forest & swamp, Wakulla Springs Lodge is a nature-lover's retreat serving southern food 3 times a day. Fried chicken is a best bet.


Lynn’s Quality Oysters

Friendly, happy, rough-around-the-edges, Lynn’s is a restaurant for oyster-lovers along Florida’s “forgotten coast.” Raw or baked, they're some of the best.


Indian Pass Raw Bar

Local oysters -- raw, baked or steamed -- are featured at Indian Pass Raw Bar, a Florida Panhandle landmark of good eating.