Rich in historical roots with a variety of museums and historic sites, the South Georgia Peninsula and Central Florida offer a glimpse into the past where rolling hills, lakes, forests and the nearby coastline allow one to get out into nature to enjoy some of the most beautiful places in the South. distinguished goods. Right in the thick of it all 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 longer and more difficult, with each trail having its own unique characteristics. Just a short drive away on the east side of Tallahassee are three different parks, great for walking, biking, picnicking, 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, crossing the lake to the JR Alford Greenway. The return trail goes through the back of the Piney Z community. The loop to the west connects to Tom Brown Park, where the trail has steep inclines and declines, making it more challenging. The two loops make up a 5.9-mile hike through some of Tallahassee’s most beautiful forests.

More than 800 acres of hardwoods, pastures, a freshwater marsh and a lake make up the JR Alford Greenway, where more than seventeen miles of multi-use trails will satisfy all kinds of nature lovers. Unlike the Lafayette Trail, the trails here are relatively flat with the biggest incline being the wooden covered bridge over the train tracks, which connects the two parks. Tom Brown Park is Tallahassee’s favorite and most used park with large open fields, tennis courts and ball fields. Additionally, the park has several loops of unpaved nature trails, a 1.5-mile paved trail that stretches from the northwest corner to the southeast corner, and a shared-use bike trail. The trails combine for a little over 5 miles of leisurely hiking through the woods.

Along the outskirts of town are several parks with picnic tables and other outdoor activities for personal enjoyment. On the south side of Tallahassee are the Munson and Twilight trails, which wind through the Apalachicola National Forest. The Munson Trail loop covers 8.3 miles that wraps 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 trail loops represent 7 miles of hiking through flat, open terrain to rolling hills where the trail winds through oak forests with diverse scenery. This greenway winds through protected living treasures with some houses dating back to the late 19th century.

For the person short on time, you’ll find several parks right on the edge of downtown Tallahassee, where trails are much shorter. The 3 miles of loop trails in San Luis Mission Park are a great place to escape into the lightly wooded forests where beautiful Lake Esther sits in the middle. A classic Tallahassee park is Lake Ella, where the 0.7-mile sidewalk that encircles the lake offers leisurely benches where one can enjoy the beautiful scenery or admire the wildlife of ducks and geese. Fern Trail in Governor’s Park is a short 1.8-mile loop, winding through a hardwood and pine forest where some fall color is on display. The half-mile one-way Kohl’s Trail will combine the Fern Trail with the 1-mile Bog Path loop, which winds along a narrow path that crosses several streams through thick, humid forest, leaving one with the impression of be in a jungle Nestled amidst seven surrounding neighborhoods and covering 72 acres on Tallahassee’s northeast side is AJ Henry Park, one of Tallahassee’s newest parks. The park has a wooden boardwalk overlooking a lake, picnic areas, a playground, outdoor play areas, and hiking trails. The two loop trails are a combined 2-mile short; however, with the hillside and ravine crossing, the hike is a bit more challenging.

Tallahassee not only has trails for enjoyment, there are also museums and gardens around the city and it is home to a mid-1900’s English-style Tudor home, where a short driveway leads to a 3.5-acre site set in a whimsical lush forest. where the house has extensive views of the garden. The beauty of the great oak trees and labyrinths will surely give the impression that one is away from the city strolling through a fairy tale oasis. Just a few blocks from downtown are six acres of lush Florida garden filled with camellias, azaleas, palm trees, 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-19th century, when Congress granted the property to General Marquis de Lafayette in 1834. The main house on the property is a classic manor house paneled in rare magnolia, hardwood floors and antique furniture, ideal for weddings and receptions. Near downtown Tallahassee is the Goodwood Museum and Gardens, the original home of a 1,600-acre cotton plantation dating back to the early 19th century. Today, the property is on the National Register of Historic Places and covers some 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 experience state parks, state forests, and a National Wildlife Refuge, which provide a variety of outdoor activities for one to enjoy. Just west of Tallahassee is Torreya State Park, named for the rare Torreya tree, which only grows on the bluffs overlooking the Apalachicola River. Some of Florida’s best fall colors are on display throughout the hardwood forest, and the high bluffs, mesas, 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 that traverse 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 pine, dogwood, and Queen Magnolia. The park is also home to a handsome southern mansion built in 1849 known as the Gregory House.

One of Florida’s most hidden treasures is just south of Tallahassee in Wakulla Springs State Park, designated 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 goes back thousands of years, from the earliest Native Americans to the first filmmakers who discovered that the primeval quality of the park’s wetlands and wildlife were a perfect fit for movies like Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941) and Creatures from the Black Lagoon (1954). ). Nestled between the spring and the trailhead is the historic lodge, a fixture of Old Florida where the elegance of the lodge remains just as it did in the early 1800s. Covering just over six miles, the park’s main trails wind into swamp forest through southern hardwood cypress and maple habitats, where several state and national champion trees, the largest of their kind, stand They mix with other giants of the forest.

Just over an hour’s drive north near Blakely Georgia is Kolomoki Mounds State Park, home to the largest and oldest Woodland Indian site in the southeastern United States dating to the 350-750 era. AD Standing 57 feet tall, Temple Mound is the oldest mound in Georgia, surrounded by smaller mounds used for burials and ceremonies. In addition to the campground, playground, picnic areas, and beautiful lakes, the park has three hiking trails covering 5.8 miles. The Trillium Loop Trail passes through four nature communities as the trail winds through hardwood forest along the shore of Lake Kolomiki crossing several spring-fed streams. As the trail climbs and descends, the different communities become apparent as you pass through native bamboos, southern magnolias, loblolly, and spruce pines. Beginning at the Lake Yohola Dam, the Spruce Pine Loop Trail traverses rugged terrain through a forest of dogwoods, water oaks, spruce pines, and magnolias, providing natural habitat for turkeys, deer, and bobcats. Along the White Oak Loop Trail are ravines and ravines fed by underground springs which provided a great deal of water for survival and where timber from this forest supplied the wood needed to build thatched roof cabins for dwellings. Parts of this trail go around the mounds and pass through part of the town area.

West of Tallahassee is nearly 20,000 acres of forest where a variety of tree species make up the Talquin Lake State Forest. The largest community in the forest is the Upland Pine, which is found amid rolling forest hills where a great diversity of plants and animals thrive. Bear Creek and the Fort Braden Tracts offer 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, sand hills, and dramatic gullies where the section along Bear Creek has steep grades and narrow foundations. While the Fort Braden Tract highlights a variety of ecosystems as you traverse three 9-mile loop trails with stunning views of Lake Talquin.

Devastated in 2018 by Hurricane Michael, Florida Caverns State Park still offers visitors a rare glimpse into the past. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps hand-carved the passageways between the cave rooms, allowing visitors to see thousands of years in the making. Narrow and sometimes low passageways lead through twelve fragile, slippery and dank caves, where stalactites, stalagmites, lava flows and draperies continue to grow into a visual array of bewildering formations.

Located a short drive south of Tallahassee is the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, which offers a variety of outdoor activities for any outdoor enthusiast. The refuge consists of flat pine forests, palm hammocks, cypress-fringed swamps and ponds along the coast, and extends inland. Scattered along the coast are small beaches and river-fed tidal creeks. Additionally, the refuge is home to the second oldest lighthouse in the state, built in 1842 and has become one of the most photographed spots on the Gulf Coast. Trails on the refuge wind through oak hammocks, cut pines, and marshes, providing excellent opportunities to photograph migratory birds.

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