Most people recognize Tallahassee as a fun college town and the capital of Florida, or perhaps a pit stop along Interstate 10. I thought much the same until recently, when I decided to grab my kids and my mother-in-law and stop to explore all the hidden treasures that this area has to offer. I was more than pleasantly surprised!
Tallahassee’s location makes it a great place to take your family for a long weekend; it’s close to Florida beaches and not far from the Georgia and Alabama borders, so vacationers from neighboring states can easily travel there for a getaway.
There’s something for everyone of any age in Tallahassee; if you love history and culture, music and food or the great outdoors, you will love what you find here! I compiled a list of my family’s 5 favorite places while we were treasure hunting in Tallahassee:
1. Wakulla River
Wakulla River is known for it’s clear, temperate waters and beautiful wildlife. It’s not uncommon to float down the river alongside several manatees, to say nothing of the abundance of other wildlife you’ll see!
If you’re interested in renting a canoe or kayak to explore the river, check out TNT Hide-a-Way (www.tnthideaway.com). They have great prices (only $40 for a 4 hour rental of a tandem kayak) and it’s family owned, so you get truly personal service.
My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed our casual exploration of the river and spent our time identifying birds and turtles and searching for manatees. It was a beautiful, quiet, relaxing and (mostly) technology free family adventure!
2. Wakulla Springs State Park
Grab a riverboat and take in all the wildlife (bring your camera!) or spend the afternoon swimming in one of the largest freshwater springs in the world. The water temperature stays around 70 degrees year round! The state park also offers nature trails and geocaching, snorkeling, horseback riding, and lots of gorgeous places to have a picnic.
The Lodge at Wakulla Springs was a treasure within a treasure! This beautiful lodge was built in the 1930’s, and when you step inside it’s like stepping into another time. Have lunch in their restaurant, stay the night, play a game of chess, or grab a delicious ice cream sundae at the longest soda fountain in the world.
3. Tallahassee Museum
I remember pulling up to the museum and remarking to my kids, “Wow, this museum doesn’t look very big!”. Little did I know that the museum wasn’t the little building at all, but rather the amazing outdoor adventure BEHIND the building; 52 ACRES of adventure, in fact!!!
Tallahassee Museum (www.tallahassemuseum.org) is unlike any museum I’ve ever been to. First of all, it sets itself apart because the entire place is ALIVE. No stuffed statues or wax figures; instead you encounter living, breathing creatures in their natural habitats. What better way to teach you about the wildlife native to Florida?
We enjoyed learning about the animals and the protection of Florida’s natural environment. As a science teacher, this museum is one of the most engaging ways to present science I have ever seen. My kids got a great deal out of it, but their favorite part was definitely the Tree-to-Tree Adventure zip line that spans almost the entire park!! Tallahassee Museum really scored with the beautiful marriage of education and adventure here!
4. Lofty Pursuits
Lofty Pursuits (www.loftypursuits.com) is a treasure trove! It’s an amazing soda fountain with over 200 flavors and has a menu with pages upon pages of delectable ice cream creations, but that’s not even the best part. They also make Victorian candy while you watch, have a wide selection of toys, and even boast a vintage yo-yo museum!
When I was there, they were making Babel Fish candy for National Towel Day, in homage to the great Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book series. It was great fun to witness and even more fun to eat, and my inner geek was cheering! Everyone in my family fell madly in love (and promptly into a sugar coma).
5. Cascades Park
Cascades Park (www.discovercascades.com) is located in the heart of downtown Tallahassee and offers a variety of wonderful outdoor activities for the entire family. You can walk one of the many trails, watch your kids enjoy the play area, or take in a concert at their outdoor amphitheater.
We were lucky enough to be able to catch the Beach Boys while we were there; the amphitheater has both stadium seating and a lawn area where you can lay out blankets and enjoy live music in an intimate venue. The concert was great fun, complete with all the Beach Boys’ classic hits. People of all generations were dancing and hitting beach balls throughout the crowd despite the fact that it rained for a good portion of the concert; it was one of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve ever been to! Helpful tip: don’t forget to bring a poncho for the unpredictable summer weather.
These were just a few of the great things we found to do in Tallahassee. There is so much more to this town than most people realize! It’s a great place to take your family for some fun adventures and quality time. Head down to Tallahassee and explore some of these awesome hidden treasures for yourself!
Thank you to Visit Tallahassee for sponsoring my family on this awesome trip! www.visittallahassee.com #IHeartTally