We have traveled up and down the east coast and most of the I-70 corridor between Florida and Ohio and have seen many national, state and local parks, but Tallahassee’s parks stand out as some of the best! We make it a point to be nosy about how other areas run their park systems. Besides allowing pets on leashes, it is entirely possible to be within a dozen miles of the capitol building and not see or hear another human being for hours. Some Tallahassee parks could let you imagine being the first human to lay eyes on the pristine, wild and beckoning landscapes.
We also have parks that are gathering areas for the locals where you will find lots of like minded people soaking up the rays and walking in nature. The only downside to our Tallahassee Parks is that they are controlled by different organizations and there is no single source to find all the great locations. If you have other questions that is not answered here, please contact us. Below are the links for all the parks systems we have overlapping Tallahassee:
City Parks – https://www.talgov.com/parks/ParksHome.aspx
Leon County Parks – https://cms.leoncountyfl.gov/Home/Departments/Office-of-Resource-Stewardship/Parks-and-Recreation
State of Florida Parks – https://www.floridastateparks.org/
If the Civil War interests you, you may want to check out the historical trail designated by the state. More information can be found on their webpage (along with a 56 page book that can be downloaded – for free!) that included background information as well as maps. https://dos.myflorida.com/historical/preservation/heritage-trails/civil-war-heritage-trail/
Florida also maintains several other heritage trails and individual markers throughout the state. Check this link for other heritage trails: https://dos.myflorida.com/historical/preservation/heritage-trails/
Check this link to a map search of the historical markers. They are everywhere! http://apps.flheritage.com/markers/map/
If there is an area about Tallahassee that disappoints us the most, it would be the lack of museums. We may be spoiled by the trips to the Smithsonian and Cleveland Art growing up, but we feel we could use a lot more museums in Tallahassee. Many of the museums are closed or have restricted hours due to COVID. Please check before you go.
If you hear the locals talk about the Tallahassee (or Junior) Museum, they are actually referring to a zoo-like habitat for local wildlife, and a living history village from 1800s. The Tallahassee Museum also has a tree-to-tree adventure that is a ton of fun! My young teen daughter had a blast and could make it across even the most advanced obstacles. The zipline at the end across the swamp was so incredible, I wished I could have taken more pictures! When the kids were young, we got a lot of use out of the family passes. Here’s the link: https://tallahasseemuseum.org/market-days/
Have you ever seen the Bat-Mobile? If not, you can see it at the Tallahassee Car Museum along with so many others. Great way to spend a rainy day and the collection is always growing and changing! Check them out here: https://tacm.com/
Many of our museums are downtown near the Capitol building. You might be able to see them all in a day if you hurry, but if you are hurrying, you are not from around here. Let us start with the historic Capitol building located right in front of the current Capitol (and tallest building in Tallahassee). They have so many small things to look at that we were there for hours! Most probably will not spend that much time, but it is worth a tour! http://www.flhistoriccapitol.gov/
While you are there, travel to the top of the current Capitol building and see the sights. It is amazing how green Tallahassee is from above! https://www.floridacapitol.myflorida.com/
The Museum of Florida History
Downtown near the capitol, you will also find the Museum of Florida History. The exhibit will take about half a day and give a great overview of the history of our state. https://www.museumoffloridahistory.com/
The Museum of Florida History is connected the Knott House as well that is just down the hill from the Capitol. The house was constructed in 1843, probably by a free black builder from the area by the name of George Proctor. You will see the Proctor name a lot locally. https://www.museumoffloridahistory.com/about/the-knott-house-museum/learn-more/
The Goodwood Plantation and Museum
The Goodwood Plantation and Museum has hosted many local students through its grounds and hosted many prominent weddings as well. The grounds include the original house that was part of the Goodwood Plantation spreading from Tom Brown Park to past Betton Road Park. Now the, much smaller, the grounds are well kept and the used for many local events. https://www.goodwoodmuseum.org/
Mission San Luis:
Mission San Luis was built on the second highest hill in Tallahassee in 1656 and later the catholic church added a friary and kitchen to the location. This is a great place to spend several hours touring the grounds and gardens and listening to the re-enactors tell their stories. Most of the tours are outside, so plan accordingly. They have events most weekends and even a free pet blessing ceremony in November. The entrance is located west of FSU’s campus on Tennessee Street. Admission is $5 per adult, but the mission is closed now due to COVID19. There are several online tour options available for free now. Check it out here: https://www.missionsanluis.org/learn/httpsmissionsanluisorglearnvirtual-resources/.
Tallahassee is also home to the disappearing lake – Lake Jackson. The lake has an average depth of only six-seven feet except over the two sinkholes (Porter Sink and Lime Hole) that randomly drain the lake into the aquifer. https://visittallahassee.com/partners/lake-jackson/.
Near the lake there is a state park preserving six 800-year-old earthen mounds built by Native Americans. You can take the stairs to the top of the mounds and bask in the sun or check out the views of the park. The hiking trail through the woods brings you within site of a grist mill from the 1800s. https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/lake-jackson-mounds-archaeological-state-park.
This park does have two private residences tucked nearby (in) the park. I wonder what it would be like to have a home near ancient (burial?) mounds. Seems like there would be a story there.