Wakulla Beach

By Harry Smith

You won’t find high rises, jet ski rentals or tiki bars. No, you won’t see crashing waves, sand dunes or boogie boarders. No, this is not a beach that typically comes to mind when thinking of Florida, but rather, a beach that exists along the Forgotten Coast, a portion of what some of us call the ‘Real Florida.’ The road leading to Wakulla Beach (Wakulla Beach Rd.), provides a prelude of what’s to come. You can tell that this is no ordinary beach before you even get there.

What you WILL find on this beach are wild pigs, fiddler crabs and wading birds. Yes, you WILL see marsh grasses, Cabbage palms and hotel ruins. That’s right, hotel ruins. In the 1920s, Senator Henry N. Walker erected his second hotel after the previous one was destroyed in a hurricane. Wakulla Beach Hotel was known to attract everyone from tourists and hunters to legislators and World War II soldiers who were returning home. In the late 1940s, the land then became part of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and the hotel was demolished. Remnants can still be seen along with a kiosk outlining the hotel and its history.

Wakulla Beach is a popular area among locals for fishing; both recreational as well as commercial. On any given day you are almost guaranteed to see a mullet fisherman or crabber heading out to provide for their family. Mullet has been a staple among fishermen and an important part of North Florida history. You will also find recreational fishermen either fishing from shore or launching their favorite vessels, usually in the form of kayaks or small jon boats. The shallow water bay is home to an abundant number of fish and is best accessed by smaller watercrafts. The expansive grass flats provide excellent Speckled Sea Trout fishing and the oyster bars that riddle the area offer up feeding opportunities to Red Drum.

To see more of this area from foot, pick a low tide and follow the small trail west of the beach. This will take you to West Goose Creek. Here you can explore tidal pools and oyster bars. Be sure to wear proper footwear as oyster shells can be razor sharp!

With Wakulla Beach being about 25 miles south of Tallahassee, it makes for a great mini day trip when visiting Florida’s Capital City. Bring a fishing rod, hiking boots/shoes, camera and come experience some of the ‘Old Florida’!

To access Wakulla Beach, head South on Woodville Hwy until you reach Hwy 98, turn right and Wakulla Beach rd. will be on your left in about 3.5 miles. Follow Wakulla Beach rd. to its end.

Harry Smith

As a Tallahassee native, Harry has always appreciated the great outdoors. Now as a guide and long time avid kayak angler, he takes great pride in opening the eyes of veteran residents as well as newcomers to the state to all of the wonders that north Florida has to offer. Whether it is by foot, bike, or kayak, Harry never turns down an adventure and is always eager to share ideas among fellow enthusiasts. As the owner of Harry Smith Outdoors, and an ambassador for the state, he can always be found with a smile on his face and the outdoors on his mind.

You can find Harry on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hsmithoutdoors or come by and see him in Railroad Square Art Park at 694-4a Industrial Dr. Tallahassee, FL 32310.


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