Taken from The Great Book Of Anchorages, Cape Sable, Fl to Mobile, Al, including the Okeechobee Waterway..
The Big Bend–Crystal River to Carrabelle (Mile 46 to Mile 164)
Many boats, especially those with deeper drafts, use Anclote Key as their jump off or arrival point from the Carrabelle area. Even we used to be under the impression that the Big Bend region was only for shoal-draft boats, but it really isn’t. The main thing you have to contend with is the distances in from deeper water to the river entrances, usually about 10 miles. Then add another 10 miles or so to the anchorages.
A relatively short trip will carry you down Apalachee Bay, around South Shoal and then into Alligator Harbor to anchor at Peninsula Point. With 7-foot depths in the approach channel, this too is a viable option for most cruising vessels and a pretty stop for the night behind a lengthy sand bar. One more short hop west takes one to Carrabelle, the end of the Big Bend and the beginning of the East of Harvey Lock portion of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The little town of Carrabelle is a great spot to provision, dine and just to visit in general. It’s a friendly place with anchorage in the protected harbor. But don’t forget to visit the beautiful anchorages behind Dog Island. These anchorages are open to the north, but are protected from the prevailing afternoon sea breezes. Do not miss this lovely island.
If you don’t need to come into town or want an easy start in the morning, anchor off Carrabelle Beach, located down the river and around to the west. This is also your starting point for this stretch. Continuing southwest along St. Georges Island, one finds another group of beautiful anchorages, some more protected than others. Rattlesnake Cove is a cozy spot for shoal-draft vessels. Gap Pt. to the east has better depths. All of these anchorages, however, share one thing–they are open to north winds blowing across the sound from the mainland, but are great in prevailing winds.
The line between Florida and Alabama is a bit murky. Perdido Key is in Florida, but Ono Key is in Alabama. The 1st anchorage is on the way to Orange Beach, the spot between Ono and Perdido keys near the bridge–a good stop for the night. You’ll have Florida on one side and Alabama on the other. Our 2nd anchorage in Alabama is in Terry Cove, Orange Beach. It’s a 5-mile trek off of the GIWW to get there and it’s also a very busy place. Just north of the GIWW, Spring Branch and Palmetto Creek in Perdido Bay provide beautiful, sheltered anchorages for those who draw 5 feet or less. Continuing west is the gorgeous, protected Roberts Bayou, with good eats and drink at the restaurant or the Arnica Bay anchorage next to a marina and restaurant, but exposed to wakes. Ingrams Bayou, another lovely, protected spot, is just around the corner to the north.