Last updated: 4/26/2018
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Franklin County spreads 1,026 square miles on the northwestern part of Florida. Directly adjacent east of its area is the state’s Big Bend region, a marshy coast without barrier islands stretching eastward from the Ochlockonee River in Wakulla County to Anclote Key in Pasco County.
Named after one of the U.S. Founding Fathers, Franklin was founded in 1832. Its county seat is Apalachicola while Eastpoint is its largest community and the town Carabelle second. The islands of St. Vincent, St. George and Cape St. George, as well as Dog Island, are part of Franklin’s territory and buffer much of the county’s mainland shores from the Gulf of Mexico.
Franklin County real estate provides an environment enabling a relaxed lifestyle. Aside from its coveted Gulf Coast features, large nature preserves account for much of the county’s acreage. The national protected areas in its fold include parts of the Apalachicola National Forest and the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge. Tate’s Hell Forest, earlier exploited for commercial timber but acquired by the state of Florida in 1994 for preservation and restoration, is also in Franklin County to further boost its natural assets.
The county, with these features, has stepped beyond timber cutting, aquaculture and fishing to drive its economy. In more recent years, Franklin has also grown as a result of the influx of more tourists and retirees fascinated by the beauty of its natural environment.
The county seat, Apalachicola, typifies the laid-back living that Franklin real estate offers. It is a domain of the popular New Urbanism concept of living within walkable communities, such as Seaside, close to every want and need of residents. At the same time, this community is a haven of many historic residences, some even predating the U.S. Civil War, and which was why the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently named this town one of the most distinctive U.S. destinations.
Carrabelle, another Franklin population center, provides another vivid picture of the rustic character of the county which about two-thirds rural and with a low population density of just some 22 residents per square mile. Crowds and traffic are virtually non-existent in Carrabelle, despite its being the second largest community of Franklin. As a result, its residents can enjoy in relative solitude such activities as biking, hiking and water-based delights like canoeing, kayaking, sailing, diving and fishing in either fresh or saltwater.
Island-style living, typically a pricey choice in many of Florida’s home buying destinations, would be more affordable at Franklin County where the cost of living is less than the U.S. average. The county’s St. George Island, which has earned the moniker “The Uncommon Florida,” offers a serene setting devoid of the high-rise condominiums in many Gulf Coast home buying destinations. The available properties here mainly consist of single family homes and low-rise apartments and townhouses, with a median price in the upper $300s and rentals of $1,125 for an average-sized, one-bedroom apartment.