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Big Bend Scenic Byway

Explore Undiscovered North Florida

Stop #8: Sand Beach Recreation Area, Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area

Driving Directions: Leaving the Cypress Dome, turn left, following signs along the graded dirt road on Dry Creek Road and later North Road for a total of 4.8 miles through Tate’s Hell State Forest to the Byway on SR 65. Turn right (north) on SR 65 and continue west for 3.2 miles crossing scenic creeks to Sand Beach Road. Turn left (west) at the Apalachicola River WEA sign onto Sand Beach Road. Follow Sand Beach Road (a graded dirt road) for 2.8 miles to the small parking lot at the Sand Beach Recreation Area.

Note: This route is not suitable for large motor homes and should not be attempted in heavy rain.

Distance and driving time between this and previous stop: 10.8 miles / 20 minutes.

Sand Beach Recreation Area

Minimum time: 30 minutes.

Description: This site is part of a vast ecosystem that begins hundreds of miles away in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia. The 82,554- acre Apalachicola River WEA contains the largest expanse of floodplain forest in Florida. The floodplain forest of the lower Apalachicola River protects, feeds, and nurtures Apalachicola Bay, the site of Florida’s most productive oyster harvesting. This region is also considered one of the most important bird habitats in the southeastern United States: more than 280 species have been identified in the Apalachicola River WEA. The area lies on the eastern fringe of the Mississippi Flyway and hosts large numbers of birds from both the Midwest and the Atlantic seaboard during migratory periods. Travelers have an outstanding view of the mighty Apalachicola from the tower that also overlooks a beautiful Cabbage Palm hammock and floodplain forest. The site also includes interpretive panels, picnic tables, a short nature walk, and dock.

Other Nearby Destinations: Fort Gadsden Historic Site; Hickory Landing, Wright Lake; Savannahs Scenic Byway.

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