Sunday, June 23, 2024

Going North to Get South – Where is Chattahoochee Florida?

Did you ever hear the phrase about Florida, you have to go north to get south?

Florida has always been considered a southern state. In fact, Florida was a Confederate state during the Civil War. Yet, if you spend any time in south Florida, that old southern accent, hospitality and home cooking seems far away you have to go north in Florida to find it.

Where is Chattahoochee Florida? About as far north in Florida to get in the deep south!

From Key West, the southernmost point in Florida to Chattahoochee, it will take you about 10 hours and 680 miles to get to Chattahoochee, Florida right on the Georgia state line. as you can see from the map of Chattahoochee Florida.

Directions to Chattahoochee Florida

Chattahoochee is in Gadsden County Florida. The major east-west route through Chattahoochee is the Old Spanish Trail better known as US Route 90. The town is about 45 miles northwest of Tallahassee, Florida. Marianna, Florida is 25 miles to the west and Bainbridge, Georgia is 25 miles northeast.

Chattahoochee is a small town in Florida with under 4000 people.

where is Chattahoochee Florida
The Apalachicola River flows through Chattahoochee and creates recreational opportunities for the residents

What is Chattahoochee?

If you ask most people in the country, they would say Chattahoochee is a river in the southeastern United States that flows through Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. It is a major tributary of the Apalachicola River, which ultimately flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The Chattahoochee River is approximately 430 miles (692 kilometers) long, making it one of the longest rivers in the southeastern United States.


The river has significant historical, economic, and ecological importance in the region. It has been used for transportation, as a source of water for agriculture and industry, and for recreational purposes. The river basin is also home to diverse wildlife and supports various ecosystems, making it an important natural resource.


The Chattahoochee River is known for its scenic beauty and is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, and hiking. The river flows through several cities and towns, including the Georgia cities of Atlanta and Columbus. The river has numerous parks and recreational areas along its banks.


That is the background on common thinking. Most people don’t know that Chattahoochee is a southern town in north Florida.

Where did Chattahoochee Get the Name?

directions to Chattahoochee Florida rutabaga Cafe
While in town we heard a lot about the Rutabaga Cafe. Good southern casual food.

The name “Chattahoochee” is of Native American origin, specifically from the Creek or Muskogee language. The word “Chattahoochee” is thought to mean “painted rock” or “marked stone,” but the exact translation can vary slightly depending on interpretations.

The Creek people, also known as the Muscogee, originally inhabited the region through which the Chattahoochee River flows. They played a significant role in the history of the southeastern United States and had their own language, which is part of the larger Muskogean language family. The river was named by these indigenous inhabitants long before European settlers arrived in the area.

The Chattahoochee River holds cultural and historical significance, not only for its name but also for its role in the development and history of the southeastern United States. It continues to be an important natural resource and a prominent geographical feature in the region. However, it technically never reaches much of Florida.

The Chattahoochee River and the Flint River come together to form Lake Seminole which is made by damming the two rivers to form the lake. The town of Chattahoochee is next to the Jim Woodruff Dam that sits on the Florida-Georgia state line.

Apalachicola River Starts in Chattahoochee

If you are not totally confused yet, there is more. When the water flows from the dam of Lake Seminole it becomes the Apalachicola River. The Apalachicola flows through the city Chattahoochee and wanders around the panhandle of Florida. It eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico at Apalachicola, Florida.

As the river travels through Florida it goes through some 160 miles of Florida’s northern regions. It also was the key factor when Indian villages sprang up to utilize the water resources. Eventually, the villages became places like Blountstown, Estiffanulga, Sumatra, and Chattahoochee.

Where is Chattahoochee florida State hospital
Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee is a very large complex for the mentally ill. It is the largest employer in the area.

What is the History of Chattahoochee?

 The history of Chattahoochee is intertwined with the development of the region, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries.

An overview of the history of Chattahoochee:

  1. Indigenous Peoples: The area around Chattahoochee has a long history of Native American habitation. Various indigenous groups, including the Creek (Muscogee) and Apalachee, lived in the region before the arrival of European settlers.
  2. European Settlement: The first European settlers arrived in the Chattahoochee area in the early 19th century. It was initially a frontier region, and the settlers engaged in agriculture and logging.
  3. Role in the Seminole Wars: Chattahoochee played a significant role in the Seminole Wars, a series of conflicts between the United States government and the Seminole tribe. Fort Scott, located near present-day Chattahoochee, served as a U.S. military fort during these wars.
  4. Railroad Development: In the late 19th century, the arrival of railroads in Chattahoochee facilitated transportation and trade, contributing to the town’s growth.
  5. Lumber and Turpentine Industry: The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the town’s economy thrive, driven by the booming lumber and turpentine industries. Several sawmills operated in the area.
  6. Cotton and Agriculture: Cotton farming was also a significant economic activity in the region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The town served as a trading center for agricultural products.
  7. Chattahoochee State Hospital: In 1876, the Florida State Hospital (originally known as the Florida State Hospital for the Insane) was established in Chattahoochee. The hospital played a crucial role in the town’s development and employment opportunities.
  8. The Civil Rights Movement: Like many places in the American South, Chattahoochee was impacted by the civil rights movement. Racial segregation and civil rights protests were part of the town’s history during the mid-20th century.
  9. Prisons: Chattahoochee is home to several state and federal prisons, including the Federal Correctional Institution, Marianna, and Apalachee Correctional Institution, which have played a role in the town’s economy.
  10. Recreational Opportunities: The Apalachicola River, which runs by Chattahoochee, offers recreational opportunities like boating, fishing, and wildlife observation, contributing to the area’s appeal to outdoor enthusiasts.

Chattahoochee, Florida, has a history deeply rooted in the economic activities of the region, including agriculture, timber, and the presence of institutions like the Florida State Hospital and correctional facilities. While the town has experienced economic shifts over the years, its historical significance and natural surroundings continue to attract visitors and residents.

where is Chattahoochee Florida - Jim Woodruff Dam
The Jim Woodruff Dam in Chattahoochee is one of the top things to do in Chattahoochee. The views are amazing.

Things To Do in Chattahoochee Florida

While it may not have the bustling tourist scene of larger Florida cities, there are still some things to see and do in and around Chattahoochee. Here are some activities and attractions you can explore:

  • Apalachicola River: The Apalachicola River offers opportunities for outdoor activities like fishing, boating, and wildlife observation. You can explore the river by kayak, canoe, or on a boat.
  • River Landing Park: This park along the river features a boat ramp, picnic areas, and walking trails. It’s a great place for a leisurely stroll or a riverside picnic.
  • Apalachicola Arsenal Museum: Historical review of the role of arsenals played in our history.
  • Lake Seminole: A short drive from Chattahoochee, Lake Seminole offers additional opportunities for boating, fishing, and birdwatching. This is one of the largest lakes in the country and the dam is worth the visit. There are also campgrounds in the area.
  • Apalachicola National Forest: This national forest, which surrounds Chattahoochee, is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, camping, birding, and wildlife viewing are popular activities within the forest.
  • Local Dining: Explore the local dining scene for some Southern and Florida cuisine. Sample seafood, barbecue, grits, biscuits and other regional dishes at local restaurants.
  • Historic Sites: Take a drive or walk around town to explore historic buildings and sites, which offer a glimpse into Chattahoochee’s past.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Go hiking or biking in the area, as the region offers various trails and opportunities for outdoor adventures.
  • Visit Neighboring Towns: Explore nearby towns like Quincy, Marianna, and Tallahassee for additional attractions, dining, and cultural experiences.
where is chattahoochee florida nature trails
The parks around Chattahoochee offer nature trails and board walks. Many are along the river.

Chattahoochee, while a small town, provides a quiet and scenic retreat with access to nature and outdoor activities along the Apalachicola River and in the nearby national forest. It’s an ideal destination for those looking to enjoy the natural beauty and historical charm of this part of Florida.

Where is Chattahoochee Florida?

We would say this north Florida town is in a good place. It has a rich history, has a southern hospitality spirit, enjoys many natural scenic views and has one of the largest lakes in the country for a playground.

A visit to Chattahoochee is like a step back in time. A time when things were less complicated and Southern values were cherished.

Originally published at

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