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Hidden Big Bend: Wakulla Beach

Wakulla Beach isn’t for everyone.  There’s no bars, no gas stations; there’s not even a bait shop.  But once upon a time, it hosted a thriving fishery and was a tourist destination.

The town was started by Wakulla County notable Henry Walker and was said to be the first platted subdivision in Florida.  Actually, the area was known locally as “Goose Creek Bay” prior to Mr. Walker acquiring the land.  Local stories say that Goose Creek was so named because of a large flock of geese which stopped off at the creek mouth on their annual migration.


Date unknown: Goose "hunters" penning up migrating geese on the Florida coast in Wakulla County. By the 1960's, over hunting almost eliminated the goose population in Florida. Photo from the Florida State Archives.

The Walker family tried to promote Wakulla Beach as a vacation destination.  The fishing and bird hunting were big draws.  In the 1920’s there was at least one hotel at Wakulla Beach.  This photo shows an abandoned hotel photographed at Wakulla Beach in 1955.


Wakulla Beach Hotel 1955 - Florida State Archives photo.

It must have been a beautiful place back when it was fresh and new.  Today, the wood structure is gone and only the slab and the ruins of the concrete columns remain.


Remains of Wakulla Beach hotel in 2009. Photo Copyright 2009, David Brightbill

Wakulla Beach was never much of town and today, there are just a few private houses; inholdings in the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.

There’s a “beach” low tide but by high tide, it’s mostly gone.  It’s a good place to launch a canoe or kayak on a calm day.   Wakulla Beach is a popular spot for fishing folk, and bird watchers.  A visit to Wakulla Beach gives you an idea of what Florida was like before the development boom happened.  It’s a beautiful spot and worth the drive down the long sand road.


Wakulla Beach, 2009 - Looking East. That's the St. Marks Lighthouse on the horizon. Photo copyright 2009, David Brightbill


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For more information on Wakulla Beach and the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, you can visit these sites:

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  1. The_TallyCast | Tallahassee_People | Tallahassee_Events | Tallhassee_Music | The TallyCast great article thank you.

  2. I have so many fun memories of this old hotel.When I was a little girl myf amily would actually camp out in the old hotel, and my dad would go fishing. My sister played in all the rooms and pretended we owned it!! One of the fun parts was wondering what the rooms must have looked like. It was lots of fun and seeing this old photo brought it all back. Thanks

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