Panacea is an historic fishing and tourist waterfront village located along Dickerson Bay in Wakulla County between the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Apalachicola National Forest southwest of the state capitol of Tallahassee. The establishment of Panacea began with the Panacea Mineral Springs, a concentration of small sulphurous springs known for their ‘healing attributes’. There were hotels, restaurants, health spas, baths, bottled water for drinking, boardwalks, piers and pavilions over the bay, all oriented around the healing power of the springs and bringing prosperity until the Depression. Most of the development was destroyed by a hurricane in 1928, and the springs property soon fell into neglect.
For generations commercial fishermen have landed their catches at Rock Landing. The commercial fishing culture has been devastated by the net ban legislation, and the two hundred odd boats that once landed there have been reduced to a mere twenty. The remaining fishermen still land their catches of blue crab, oysters, pink and white shrimp, mullet, trout, and grouper at the county’s Rock Landing dock.
"In the 19th century, Wakulla boosters were determined to transform the county's natural mineral springs into a tourist attraction. That's how 'Smith Springs' became 'Panacea'--Greek for 'healing all'--in 1889. Advertisements boasted that each of the town's 13 bubbling ponds cured a different ailment. Tourists flocked to Panacea to bask in the restorative springs. Later as South Florida began to hog the tourist trade, Panacea's mineral springs became a thing of the past, a mysterious artifact of a forgotten time."
The Wakulla County Airport is located approximately 3 miles south of town. It is the only airport in Wakulla County.