Best Things To Do in Tallahassee
This is a terrific city to just be — outside, preferably. Top sites like the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park (located several miles south of the city) or the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park will give you a chance to experience the fresh air, Tallahassee style. Head indoors for a history lesson about the roadsters and vintage cars of the Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum, or concerning Herman, the anciet mastodon skeleton "hanging around" the Museum of Florida History.
Updated May 2, 2017
- #1View all Photos#1 in Tallahassee4.2 miles to city centerMuseums, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND4.2 miles to city centerMuseums, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Located about 6 miles southwest of downtown Tallahassee near Lake Bradford and Cascade Lake, the Tallahassee Museum is the perfect attraction for those looking to have some fun outdoors. Moved to its current location in the 1960s, the museum has evolved to include 52 acres of nature trails, living exhibits of flora and fauna, historical buildings, and a zip line and aerial adventure course.
Prior travelers said the outdoor adventure activities and rare wildlife living throughout the property more than justify the museum's admission price. However, even though the on-site parking lot does offer handicapped spots, the absence of paved pathways and accessible ramps makes the property difficult for visitors with mobility limitations to traverse.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Tallahassee0.1 miles to city centerMuseums, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.1 miles to city centerMuseums, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Tucked away inside Tallahassee's Old Capitol, the Florida Historic Capitol Museum aims to educate locals and tourists alike about Florida's political history while preserving one of Tallahassee's most architecturally stunning structures. This grand building sits at the heart of the state capital and is less than 2 miles from Florida State University and Florida A&M University, making it an ideal stop after touring the nearby campuses or roaming around downtown.
Originally built in 1845, right before Florida's entry into the Union as the 27th state, the Old Capitol was expanded and restored throughout the years to accommodate more state lawmakers. However, once the New Capitol opened in 1977, threats of demolition prompted Tallahassee residents to petition to save the historic building. Their efforts paid off, which resulted in the complete restoration of the property and reopening of it as a museum.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Tallahassee21.4 miles to city centerHiking, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND21.4 miles to city centerHiking, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Although Tallahassee sits more inland compared to other popular vacation destinations in Florida, this capital city has plenty of wildlife and scenic landscapes to offer visitors. Case in point: the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Located just 23 miles south of Tallahassee, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is a must for anyone looking to spot some indigenous animals.
Established in 1931 as a protected habitat for migratory birds, St. Marks Refuge now acts as the home for more than 300 species of birds, 52 species of mammals, 40 species of amphibians and 65 species of reptiles. Of these species, many are rare or endangered, including the whooping crane, the flatwoods salamander and the West Indian manatee. Visitors, therefore, have plenty to look for on this sprawling 70,000-acre wildlife sanctuary.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Tallahassee7.8 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND7.8 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
This museum is a must for many. With a wide variety of collections, including cars, knives and cash registers, visitors rave about the Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum. Some of the "precious metals" found inside include the 1911 Ford Model T Torpedo Runabout, the 1962 Amphicar and the 1966 Cherry Twister Mustang. You'll also be able to view former President Abraham Lincoln's hearse, vintage brass fans and the Penguin's Duck Vehicle (from the movie "Batman Returns").
The museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission costs vary depending on age but start at $8 and go as high as $17.50 per person. Students with school and college IDs receive a discounted rate of $11.75 per person. For more information, visit the museum's website.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Tallahassee14.5 miles to city centerParks and Gardens, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND14.5 miles to city centerParks and Gardens, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
The freshwater at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is so clear in some parts that you can see some 100 feet below you (hence, the site's glass-bottom boat tours). On dry land, you'll find that plenty of wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and American alligators call the park home. In a nutshell, there's plenty to see, do and experience at this 6,000-acre wildlife sanctuary, as seen from three nature trails or while exploring the jungle-like waterways.
Past travelers recommended the boat tour but warn that it only runs periodically since the proper weather and water conditions are required. Additionally, visitors said bathing suits and bug spray are a must when going to the park, since ticks are common along the nature trails and the water is perfect for swimming despite its chilly temperature.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Tallahassee2.4 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND2.4 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960, this reconstructed Spanish Franciscan mission gives travelers a sneak peek into what life was like during the 17th century. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the 60 acres, exploring the tribal council house, church and residential areas of the Spanish settlers and Apalachee Indians that once shared land there. Visitors also have the opportunity to view the more than 300 artifacts that were excavated from the site. Recent travelers said visiting Mission San Luis de Apalachee feels like taking a step back in time. They also recommended visiting on a weekend so that you can opt for a ranger-led tour of the facilities since mission staff are especially knowledgeable and friendly.
For those looking to have a casual day out, the mission welcomes pets on leashes and has several picnic tables on the property for visitors to enjoy snacks and lunch. Monthly workshops (for a fee) are also available for those interested in learning more about traditional crafts and skills.
- #7View all Photos#7 in Tallahassee0.2 miles to city centerMuseums, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND0.2 miles to city centerMuseums, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Some artifacts in the Museum of Florida History date as far back as 12,000 years ago, but others are more modern like the museum's various World War II memorabilia and the model collection of naval ships. But the property's showcase item greets you at the door: an 11-foot mastodon skeleton that was originally found in Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. His name is Herman.
Be sure to budget plenty of time to wander around this downtown museum. Recent visitors recommended at least three hours to thoroughly see each of the museum's four permanent and more than 15 traveling exhibits. And for those who are feeling a bit famished, check out the property's restaurant, The Egg Express, which offers a variety of light breakfast and lunch dishes.
- #8View all Photos#8 in Tallahassee5.5 miles to city centerParks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND5.5 miles to city centerParks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Tallahassee is definitely a place to stop and smell the flowers. Previous travelers recommend the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. This ornamental garden nurtures azaleas and camellias particularly, but you'll also find magnolia, jasmine, gardenia and ginger in bloom. And they're all picturesquely ensconced among two nature trails, bike paths, a reflecting pool and several picnic pavilions.
Recent visitors said you'll want to linger for hours at the park to enjoy the scenery, bird watch and relax inside of the lake's pavillion. However, there is one potential snag: There are two separate entry fees for this state park. One fee is for the actual park, while a separate fee is required to enter the gardens.
- #9View all Photos#9 in Tallahassee0.2 miles to city centerHistoric Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.2 miles to city centerHistoric Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The Knott House Museum has a historic distinction. On May 20, 1865, Brig. Gen. Edward McCook read the Emancipation Proclamation on the steps of this home (which served as the temporary headquarters of the Union Army). This day marked the newfound freedom of Florida Panhandle's slaves, an important day in state history. The home's ownership eventually passed from state physicians to Florida Supreme Court judges until it was acquired by its namesake, politician William Knott, and his wife, Luella, in 1928. During tours you'll see this Park Avenue property much as the Knotts left it and learn all about the home's significance in Panhandle and Civil War history.
Recent visitors said that touring the museum during Emancipation Week in May is a must. During the reenactment, museum staff walk visitors through the events that took place during the famous Emancipation Proclamation reading. According to museum tour guides and some visitors, a ghost is also believed to inhabit the property, adding a unique twist to this Tallahassee institution.
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