Rich in historical roots with a variety of museums and historic sites, the territory of South Georgia and Central Florida offers a glimpse into the past where nearby hills, lakes, forests, and costs allow one to venture into nature for some of the most from the south. distinctive assets. Right in the center of this is the state capital, where Tallahassee offers hundreds of miles of trails, gardens, city parks, and state parks for any outdoor enthusiast.
Trails in and around Tallahassee range from short, easy to long, and more difficult, and each trail has its own unique characteristics. A short drive away on the east side of Tallahassee are three different parks, great for hiking, biking, picnics, and a playground. The Lafayette Heritage Trailhead begins in the center of Lafayette Park, where the trail east curves around the shores of Piney Z Lake to a levee, which crosses the lake to the JR Alford Greenway. The way back runs through the back of the Piney Z community. The westbound loop connects to Tom Brown Park, where the trail has steep slopes and descents, making it more challenging. The two loops make up a 5.9-mile hike through some of the most beautiful forest in Tallahassee.
Over 800 acres of hardwood, pasture, a freshwater swamp, and a lake make up the JR Alford Greenway, where over seventeen miles of multi-use trails will satisfy all types of nature lovers. Unlike the Lafayette Trail, the trails here are relatively flat where the largest slope is the boardwalk-covered wooden bridge over the railroad tracks, connecting the two parks. Tom Brown Park is Tallahassee’s favorite and most used park with large open fields, tennis courts, and baseball fields. Additionally, the park has several unpaved nature trail circuits, a 1.5-mile paved trail that runs from the northwest corner to the southeast corner, and a shared-use bike path. The trails combine for just over 5 miles of a pleasant hike through the woods.
Along the city limits there are several parks with picnic tables and other outdoor activities for one to enjoy. On the south side of Tallahassee are the Munson and Twilight trails, which run through the Apalachicola National Forest. The Munson Trail loop covers 8.3 miles around a lake, while the Twilight Trail covers 10 miles. Combine the two trails using the connector trails for a full day of outdoor adventure. Along the eastern border of Tallahassee is the Miccosukee Greenway Trail. The four-loop trails represent 7 miles of hiking through flat, open terrain to hills where the trail weaves its way through oak forests with diverse landscapes. This greenway winds through protected living treasures with some houses dating from the late 19th century.
For the person, short on time, you will find several parks right on the edge of downtown Tallahassee, where the trails are much shorter. The 3 miles of loop trails at San Luis Mission Park are a great place to escape into the lightly wooded woods where beautiful Lake Esther sits in the middle. A classic Tallahassee park is Lake Ella, where the 7-mile sidewalk, which surrounds the lake, offers benches to spend free time where one can simply enjoy the beautiful scenery or admire the wildlife of ducks and geese. Fern Trail at Governor’s Park is a short 1.8 mile loop, winding through a hardwood and pine forest where some fall colors are on display. The one-way half-mile Kohl’s Trail will combine the Fern Trail with the 1-mile Bog Path, which twists and turns along a narrow path that crosses several streams through thick rainforest, leaving one with the impression of being in a jungle. Sitting in the middle of seven surrounding neighborhoods and covering 72 acres on the northeast side of Tallahassee is AJ Henry Park, one of Tallahassee’s newest parks. The park has a wooden walkway overlooking a lake, picnic areas, playground, open play areas, and hiking trails. The two loop trails are a short 2 mile combination; however with the hillside and crossing through the ravine the hike is a bit more challenging.
Not only does Tallahassee have trails for enjoyment, there are also museums and gardens around the city and is home to a mid-1900s English-style Tudor house, where a short path leads to a 3.5-acre site in lush forest and whimsical where the house has expansive views of the garden. The beauty of the large oak trees and labyrinths will give the impression that one is far from the city and is walking through a fairytale oasis. Just a few blocks from downtown are six acres of lush Florida garden filled with camellias, azaleas, palms, and other native flora that give the park an atmosphere found nowhere else in the city. The history of Dorothy B. Oven Park dates back to the mid-1800s when Congress granted the property to General Marquis de Lafayette in 1834. The main house on the property is a classic manor house with rare magnolia paneling, hardwood floors and antique furniture, ideal for weddings and receptions. Near downtown Tallahassee is the Goodwood Museum and Gardens, which originally housed a 1,600-acre cotton plantation dating back to the early 1800s. Today, the property is on the National Register of Historic Places and covers about 20 acres of century-old oak trees and gardens where the main house features the family’s original furniture, glassware, and art. Surrounding the main house are 20 other structures dating from 1835 to 1925, the original swimming pool, and an outdoor skating rink.
Just a short drive from Tallahassee, families can enjoy state parks, state forests, and a National Refuge, offering a variety of outdoor activities for personal enjoyment. Just west of Tallahassee is Torreya State Park, named after the rare Torreya tree, which only grows on the cliffs overlooking the Apalachicola River. Some of Florida’s best fall colors are on display throughout the hardwood forest, and the high cliffs, plateaus, and deep ravines make this park one of the most scenic in Florida. The park has two loop trails where the River Bluff loop is approximately seven miles through ravines and streams where Logan’s Bluff rises about 300 feet above the Apalachicola River. A 5-mile connector trail leads to a 5-mile loop through a forest of hardwoods, longleaf pines, dogwood, and Queen Magnolia. The park is also home to a beautiful southern mansion built in 1849 known as the Gregory House.
One of Florida’s most hidden treasures is located south of Tallahassee in Wakulla Springs State Park, designated as a National Natural Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park is home to one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, where the 70-degree waters are sure to cool you off even on the hottest days of summer. The history of this park dates back thousands of years, from the earliest Native Americans to the first filmmakers who discovered that the primeval quality of the park’s swamps and wildlife was a perfect fit with films like Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941) and Creatures from the Black Lagoon (1954). ). Nestled between the start of the spring and the trailhead is the historic lodge, an element of Old Florida where the lodge’s elegance stands out as it did in the early 1800s. The park’s main trails covering just over six miles lead deep into swamp forest through southern hardwood and maple and cypress habitats where several state and national champion trees, the largest of their kind, blend with other giants of the forest.
Just over an hour’s drive north, near Blakely Georgia, is Kolomoki Mounds State Park, home to the oldest and largest Woodland Indian site in the southeastern United States dating from the 350-to-AD era. AD 750 Standing 57 feet tall, the Temple Mound is Georgia’s oldest mound, surrounded by smaller mounds used for burials and ceremonies. In addition to campground, playground, picnic areas, and beautiful lakes, the park has three hiking trails that cover 5.8 miles. The Trillium Loop Trail passes through four natural communities as the trail weaves its way through hardwood forest along the shore of Lake Kolomiki crossing several spring-fed streams. As the trail ascends and descends, the different communities become evident passing native bamboo, southern magnolia, loblolly, and spruce pines. Beginning at Lake Yohola Dam, the Spruce Pine Loop Trail traverses rugged terrain through a forest of dogwood, water oak, spruce pine, and magnolia, providing a natural habitat for turkeys, deer, and bobcats. Along the White Oak Loop Trail there are gullies and ravines fed by underground springs that provided an abundance of water for survival and where the wood from this forest provided the timber needed to build thatched huts for dwellings. Some parts of this trail surround the mounds and go through part of the town area.
To the west of Tallahassee there are nearly 20,000 acres of forest where a variety of tree species make up the Lake Talquin State Forest. The largest community in the forest is the Highland Pines, nestled in the midst of rolling forest hills where a great diversity of plants and animals thrives. Bear Creek and the Fort Braden Tracts provide some excellent examples of hillside and ravine forest communities. The 492-acre Bear Creek Tract offers three trails totaling 5.5 miles of the region’s steepest trails through wetlands, sandy hills, and dramatic ravines where the section along Bear Creek has steep slopes and foundations. narrow. While Fort Braden Tract highlights a variety of ecosystems while traversing three circular trails totaling 9 miles with breathtaking views of Lake Talquin.
Devastated in 2018 by Hurricane Michael, Florida Caverns State Park still offers visitors a glimpse into the past. In the 1930s, the Civil Conservation Corps hand-chiselled the corridors between the cave rooms, allowing visitors to see thousands of years in the making. Narrow and sometimes low corridors lead through twelve fragile slippery and damp cave rooms where stalactites, stalagmites, flow stones, and curtains still grow in a visual array of puzzling formations.
Located a short distance south of Tallahassee is the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, offering a variety of outdoor activities for any outdoor enthusiast. The refuge consists of pine forests, palm hammocks, marshes, and cypress-lined ponds along the shoreline, stretching inland. Scattered along the coast are small beaches and tidal streams fed by rivers. Additionally, the refuge is home to the second oldest lighthouse in the state, built in 1842 and has become one of the most photographed landmarks on the Gulf Coast. The trails in the refuge wind through hammocks of oak, pine, and mudflats, providing excellent opportunities for photographing migratory birds.