I don’t know whether that name, the forgotten coast, came from an advertising campaign or some kind of Chamber of Commerce initiative. However it was named, I hope this stretch of gulf coast remains largely forgotten. Being off the beaten path, change is slow, and this area has a charming throwback vibe that I prefer to high rise condos and large crowds.

Take US Highway 98 southeast out of Panama City and past the Tyndall Air Force base. After about 20 minutes you’ll come to Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach. Follow 98 south for another 15 or so minutes and you will come to Port Saint Joe. Here you’ll find a Piggley Wiggley and a nice old main street with some interesting shops and restaurants. Provisions Restaurant is surprisingly good for a town this size. Continue southeast on 98, past the 30A turnoff for Cape San Blas and the State Park, and in about 30 minutes you’ll come to Appalachicola, an antebellum shrimp and oyster producing town with more of those interesting shops and restaurants. Back on 98, another 15 minutes east and then south and you’ll land on tiny St. George Island, home to another state park.

From November to March, highs range from the high-50s to low 80s.