Carrabelle, Florida, a historic working community, is located right on the Gulf of Mexico in the eastern Florida Panhandle. A true fishing village, its people have been harvesting from the sea for more than 100 years. Shrimping, oystering, commercial and recreational game fishing together with lumber, turpentine, flour mills, the railroad and tourism have been the mainstays of Carrabelle’s economic development over the years.
Although a hidden secret no longer, Carrabelle’s ideal location is surrounded by state and national forests, together with its beautiful, deep water seaport. The community of 1300 residents welcomes travelers who enter by boat, or arrive via scenic Highways 98 along the coast, and County Road 67 through the state and national forest lands.
Carrabelle is governed by five elected officials serving as Mayor and Commissioners. A city Administrator oversees the daily operations of the Public Works and Building departments, Code Enforcement and office personnel as well as police and volunteer fire services. City Hall is located in the heart of downtown Carrabelle and many residents take advantage of the convenient location to pay bills in person, or to give their opinions about “the state of the City.”
One of only a few small towns in historic Franklin County, Carrabelle is proud of its independence and home-grown residents. Visitors can mix easily with local folks in the coffee shop, neighborhood bars and restaurants, the grocery, pharmacy, service/convenience stores and at the post office too. Hardware stores plus a gift shop ensure that both male and female travelers can buy necessities or just browse for souvenirs during their visit. The Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Center, the World’s Smallest Police Station, the WWII Camp Gordon Johnston Museum and local shrimp boats are special highlights not to be missed when enjoying a walk toward the scenic Riverfront Pavilion and the public fishing dock located on Marine Street. Travel east to find C30A along the Gulf waterfront and see birds, fish and even an occasional alligator.
Carrabelle is home to several featured parks which have been developed for public enjoyment. Veterans’ Park, where the City pays tribute to servicemen and women, is located in the center of town on Highway 98 Travel north on Highway 67, turn left on Avenue F to find Tillie Miller Park on your right. The newly refurbished park includes restrooms and a new tennis and basketball court as well as playground equipment for children and a covered gazebo and pavilion for community activities. Or, continue north on the same Highway 67 to find John David Patton wildlife park on the right. This new environmental park was built and named to honor Carrabelle’s only fallen police officer who was killed in the line of duty on July 9, 1977. Walking paths, plantings, a covered pavilion and restrooms are available at this site. The entrance sign commemorates Patton’s sacrifice with a Charles A. Lindbergh quote: “In wilderness, I sense the miracle of life.”
As the visitor travels just west of town on Highway 98, which has been newly designated as part of this 220 mile-long Florida Big Bend Scenic Byway, watch for the newly restored historic Crooked River Lighthouse in its wooded setting on the north side of Highway 98.
There are miles and miles of white sand beaches, open to the public for walking, shore fishing and just enjoying nature. A public wayside park with bathroom facilities is located less than a mile west of town, just across from a motor home park. Further west, the Tate’s Hell Forest walking trail sign will lure the visitor into that trailhead. Also watch for the directional sign to the unique stand of dwarf cypress north of Highway 98. The white heads and tails of soaring eagles, together with pelicans, herons, and osprey can be seen circling overhead along the beautifully scenic waterfront highway while occasionally a shark or dolphin fin will break the water’s surface quite close to shore!
Carrabelle welcomes you to come for a visit, or stay for a lifetime.