Wakulla Beach

Wakulla Beach, located on Goose Creek Bay in Wakulla County, is currently enjoyed by residents and visitors as a beach area for anglers, swimmers, and paddlers. This site is also the location of some of Wakulla County’s interesting history.

Goose Creek Bay at Wakulla Beach

Goose Creek Bay at Wakulla Beach

Wakulla Beach was inhabited between A.D. 100 and A.D. 800 by Native Americans during the Swift Creek to Weedon Island periods. Bird Hammock located at Wakulla Beach contains burial mounds and midden deposits from this time period. This site was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on December 15, 1972.

Mound at Bird Hammock

Bird Hammock – Credit: Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources

In the early 1900s, Daisy Walker (Miss Daisy) was inspired to establish the town of East Goose Creek on Wakulla Beach. Daisy Walker and her husband Senator Henry N. Walker laid out the town in 1915, developing what is said to be Florida’s first subdivision1 and built a hotel to attract visitors.  The main road through the subdivision, Hotel Avenue, is currently known as Wakulla Beach Road.

Portrait of Senator Henry N. Walker

Senator Henry N. Walker
Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/137191

In the 1920s, the hotel became the Walkers’ home and they constructed another hotel closer to the beach. The second hotel was destroyed by a hurricane in 1928.

September 1928 Hurricane Chart

September 1928 Hurricane
Credit: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory

A third hotel was built in approximately the same location as the second hotel. The hotel is said to have been used to entertain legislators, hunters, tourists, and soldiers returning from World War II, however, Daisy Walker died in 1935 and Senator Walker lost his bid for reelection in 1939. Sometime after 1949, former Senator Walker eventually worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add East Goose Creek to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and demolished the hotel.

Wakulla Beach Hotel

Wakulla Beach Hotel
Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/156420

Remains of the third hotel can still be found at the forest edge at Wakulla Beach.

Remains of the Wakulla Beach Hotel

Remains of the Wakulla Beach Hotel

Remains of the Wakulla Beach Hotel

Remains of the Wakulla Beach Hotel

Today, Wakulla Beach is used by anglers and swimmers.  Wakulla Beach is also a launch site for the Goose Creek Bay Paddling Trail, part of the Apalachee Bay Maritime Heritage Paddling Trails in Wakulla County.

Map of the Goose Creek Paddling Trail

Goose Creek Paddling Trail