Northwest Florida Books and Bookstores

You won’t find hundreds of Northwest Florida books on the bookstore shelves, but those you do find provide a lot of information about one of my favorite regions of Florida. For instance, if you’re looking for a

Florida guide book (like the ones I've listed below), something on Florida hiking trails, history of a specific area like Destin or Pensacola, or even haunted places in Northwest Florida, there’s at least one book out there that covers it. However, keep in mind you’ll sometimes have to purchase books about the whole state in order to get Northwest Florida information.

As a writer, I collect a lot of books. The first thing I do when I get to a new place is head to the bookstores to see what I can find about the area. I’m always interested in local history and I particularly like to find books with vintage photos. I want to know where the out of the way interesting spots are and what there is to do and see. When I first moved to Northwest Florida, I found that there weren’t a lot of books for this region alone. There were books on Florida that sometimes included Northwest Florida, but not always, so I’ve had to do some digging.

This page will be an ongoing project as we look for titles that tell us more about the region. I’ll have some Florida book recommendations, offer suggestions for book sellers and Florida bookstores you can visit, and even toss in some titles of my own, like the Northwest Florida Winery Tour (more on that later).

So find a comfy chair, sit back and get ready for a good read. Oh, and if you have any book recommendations for Northwest Florida books you’ve found helpful or interesting, let us know. We have our own little book club going here and everyone can have a say.

Click here to write your own Northwest Florida book review, or scroll to the bottom and leave me a note in the comments section. Either way, I'd love to hear from you.

Northwest Florida Books

Exploring Florida’s Emerald Coast: A Rich History and a Rare Ecology

Whenever I travel, I love seeking out the history of a place. The tales of hearty settlers, the rich and famous, and those who lost their lives building a future for their descendants enthrall me, so I knew I had to add Jean Lufkin Bouler’s well researched book to my collection of Northwest Florida books.

Filled with trivia, characters, and stories of Spanish explorers and Civil War battles, the book is both a research volume and a good read. An award-winning reporter for the Birmingham News, Bouler has vacationed on the Emerald Coast for over 25 years and has had a chance to Explore the nooks and crannies of my favorite part of Florida.

Best Backroads of Florida, Beaches and Hills, Volume 3

Although I like off-beat and back road travel, and this book offers both, I also like to know I'm not far from "civilization." Douglas Waitley takes you down highways that were once the main thoroughfares before Interstate driving became the norm, and does it with a dry sense of humor. He isn't afraid to tell you the truth, from old murders to new hurricanes, where to buy Tupelo honey and how much hotel rooms can cost on the beach.

This book is the last in a series by Waitley covering back road travel across the whole state. In this volume, he does a great job of flushing out the hidden highlights of Northwest Florida. It's a keeper.

Hiking North Florida and the Panhandle

I’m going to admit something here; I’m not really an outdoorsy person. I was an English major, so for a long time, my idea of being outdoors was to find a great spot under a tree or by a pool where I could read my book. Then I married a Physical Education major and the next thing I knew, I was tramping through woods and up and down mountains on hiking trails. I wouldn’t say I’m a great hiker, but I do like a good little ramble on a cool day.

So when I went looking for a book on Florida hiking trails, I was delighted to find this one by M. Timothy O’Keefe. It’s easy to follow with maps and specific information about trails and nearby lodging. The book covers the whole north end of the state, but O'Keefe does a good job on Northwest Florida.

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A Brief Guide to Florida's Monuments and Memorials

You know how some people brake for yard sales? I brake for historical markers. There's just something compelling about a weathered green sign with mysterious writing on it that I just have to know what it says. Monuments, statues, and memorials are the same. I can't pass them up, so when I came across Roberta Sandler's book I had to have it to make sure I hadn't missed something.

This book covers the whole state, which makes it a great travel guide for anyone taking a Florida road trip, but it's also a super information packed guide to history and happenings in Northwest Florida. Over 50 pages are devoted to monuments from Pensacola to Monticello and an extensive bibliography encourages further reading.

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Wild About Florida, North Florida

I met Kathleen Walls on a media trip several years back and was amazed at how prolific a writer she is. She's written dozens of books on topics from ghosts to the Eric Rudolph manhunt, but her favorite topic is the outdoors. When she came through Northwest Florida on her research trip for this book, I knew I wanted a copy.

This book is the third installment of her Wild About Florida series. It covers the state parks, forests, and other natural areas of the state from St. Augustine to Pensacola and includes some surprising off the beaten path places not normally mentioned. I've found all sorts of useful information tucked within the pages.

Two Egg, Florida, A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts

I love legends, tales, and ghost stories and I have to admit I have quite a collection of them from around the South. They illustrate who we are and where we came from. They glorify our heroes, bring our history to life, calm our fears, and create new ones. After all, who hasn't told a spooky story in a tent at night with a flashlight making a scary mask of your face?

So, when I learned of Dale Cox's book I had to have it! In it Cox brings his hometown and the surrounding area to life with retellings of local ghost stories, legends, and facts from Florida history.

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Haunted Monticello Florida

There’s nothing like a good ghost story, that is, if you can find a good ghost. Betty Davis and her intrepid crew from the Big Bend Ghost Hunters may not know exactly where the bodies are buried, but they know where to find the ectoplasm that was left behind. Filled with the history of Jefferson County and Monticello, Davis' book takes you to haunted houses, ghost-filled streets, and places you don’t want to go at night without a professional guide.

When I was in Monticello photographing some of the buildings, I kept wondering if there was someone or something looking out at me. Although I have stayed in a haunted bed and breakfast before, I’m not in a hurry to repeat the experience. I did find, however, that if I told the ghosts, firmly, to go in a corner and leave me alone, they seemed to pay attention. Or maybe they were just waiting for me to fall asleep. I’m glad I wrote this review on a sunny day.

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Have You Read Any Great Northwest Florida Books?

I'm always looking for new books to share, but try as I might, I can't read them all. If you've read a book that you think others would enjoy, here's your chance to let them know. It doesn't have to be specifically about Northwest Florida, those books are hard to find, but if you do have one or a book that includes the region, we want to know about it.

What Other Explorers Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other Explorers to this page...

Suwannee River Treasures 
Two young people, Allie and PJ, grow up along the Suwannee River stumbling from one mischievous set of predicaments to the next. Falling snakes, jumping …

Click here to write your own.

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