Carrabelle, Florida Camping

Carrabelle, Florida Camping
Legend tells of a farmer who trekked through the coastal forests and swamps surrounding the town of Carrabelle. Upon emerging from the wilderness he uttered the words "My name is Cebe Tate, and I just came from Hell." Hence, the name of Tate's Hell State Forest that surrounds Carrabelle on the Gulf Coast. What was hell to Tate, today is a paradise to campers looking to paddle, hike, bike, and otherwise explore this undeveloped stretch of the Florida panhandle.

Apalachicola National Forest

Beyond Tate's Hell State Forest lies the immense Apalachicola National Forest. More than 500,000 acres of lakes, woodlands, marshes, rivers, and prairies stretch toward Tallahassee. Outdoor enthusiasts can spend many days hiking, biking, and horseback riding the trails, or traversing the forest--67 miles of which are part of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Several developed campsites with electricity, water, hot showers, and restrooms lay close to Carrabelle in the forest, allowing detailed exploration to find the forest's secrets such as acres of wildflowers and cavernous sinkholes. In addition to the developed campgrounds, primitive camping is permitted throughout the forest and a number of hunt camps dot the landscape.

Apalachicola National Forest
11152 NW SR 20
Bristol, FL 32321
(850) 643-2282
fs.fed.us/r8/florida/apalachicola

St. George Island State Park

The eastern end of St. George Island is protected by St. George Island State Park. A waypoint on the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, the park offers overnight visitors a developed campground with electric and water hookup suitable for tent or RV. A primitive campground only accessible by foot or kayak is also available with no amenities. Saltwater anglers can fish from the beach, the bridges leading onto the island, or by boat utilizing the two boat ramps located in the park. Additional park facilities include restrooms, showers, playground, picnic areas, and hiking trails.

St. George Island State Park
1900 E. Gulf Beach Dr.
St. George Island, FL 32328
(850) 927-2111
floridastateparks.org/stgeorgeisland

Tate's Hell State Forest

The legend of Tate's Hell may induce timidity in some individuals, but more adventurous souls will find a habitat sheltering a large population of Florida black bears. Trekking the High Bluff Coastal Trail gives hikers a snapshot of some of the coastal ecosystems harbored by the forest while the Crooked River offers a water-level view as it twists along the southern edge of the forest. Primitive campsites are scattered among the 202,000 acres of wet prairie, scrub, hardwood hammocks, pine uplands, and swamp of Tate's Hell State Forest. A special use permit from the forestry office is needed for campsites except at Womack Creek, where an iron-ranger accommodates campers on a first-come first-serve basis.

Tate's Hell State Forest
290 Airport Rd.
Carrabelle, FL 32322
(850) 697-3734
fl-dof.com/state_forests

Article Written By David Chandler

David Chandler has been a freelance writer since 2006 whose work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former reconnaissance Marine, he is an active hiker, diver, kayaker, sailor and angler. He has traveled extensively and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida where he was educated in international studies and microbiology.

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