The crystalline Ichetucknee River flows six miles through shaded hammocks and wetlands before it joins the Santa Fe River. In 1972, the head spring of the river was declared a National Natural Landmark by the U. S. Department of the Interior.
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park commemorates the site of Florida's largest Civil War battle, which took place February 20, 1864. More than 10,000 cavalry, infantry and artillery troops fought a five-hour battle in a pine forest near Olustee. Olustee Battlefield has a visitor center with historical information and artifacts. This was the site of a Civil War battle in which Confederate forces turned back Union troops marching on Tallahassee. Each February, the battlefield comes alive during a reenactment of this historic event.
The Giant Adirondack chair is one of the world’s largest chairs, and it stands next to Highway 98, in Mexico beach, Florida.
Starke, Florida is considered a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation.
NASA was established at Cape Canaveral in 1963. It was here that Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969. Today, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers the closest public viewing of rocket launches!
Fort Lauderdale on Florida’s east coast is a magnet for fun in the sun. Fort Lauderdale is the boating capitol of the world in the state that is the fishing capitol of the world!
For 63 years (1909-1972) the Marianna and Blountstown Railroad was Calhoun County's link to the railroads and commerce of the nation. Sometimes known as "Many Bumps" or "Meat and Bread," the M&B had a significant impact on the lives of Calhoun Countians. Until 1929, before automobile travel was commonplace, the M&B provided passenger service. Farmers used the railroad to ship a wide array of agricultural products.
The Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park is the 4th largest state park, of which 30,000 acres are in Charlotte County. Enjoy the vast hiking opportunities including the Old Datsun Trail.
Citrus County is called "The Water Lover's Florida." Seven pristine waterways run through the county, including Crystal River, home to the largest herd of wintering manatees in the U.S., and the only place where it is legal to swim with these gentle giants.
Camp Chowenwaw Park is a 150 – acre site that Clay County purchased in the Spring of 2006 from the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council. The Girl Scouts operated the camp for more than 70 years before deciding to relocate. Visitors can tour the Historic Girl Scout Museum and sleep in a real treehouse!
The Historic Smallwood Store was founded in 1906 on a small island south of Naples. Originally, it was a trading post where pioneer settlers traded furs, bought supplies and received their mail. It became an important resource also for the Seminole and Miccosukee people living in the area. Today, it is a museum where people can learn how pioneers adapted to live in this remote place.
Falling Creek Falls is one of Florida's unique gems. During normal water levels the creek roars over a 10-foot waterfall and flows under Falling Creek Road through a deep ravine before going underground. Visitors to the park can enjoy hiking, a boardwalk to the falls, a historic building and wildlife viewing.
The Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo, began back in the middle of 1928. It has evolved from its pioneer beginnings to a national sport drawing top cowboy athletes from all over the nation.
Cross City became the town of "Cross Roads" because it was the place where the Old Spanish Trail from Pensacola to St. Augustine crossed the Old Salt Road from Madisonville to Horseshoe Beach. Somewhere along the line the name Cross Roads was changed to Cross City.
Fort Caroline on the St. John’s River in modern-day Jacksonville, was built in 1564. It was once home to over 300 French settlers! The French explorer, Jean Ribault, led expeditions to create this French colony in the New World.
This special US Naval Aviation team was formed by Admiral Chester Nimitz at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville in the late 1940s. Today, they are based out of Pensacola and perform to amazed crowds worldwide.
The first graded road built in Florida was Old Kings Road in 1763. It was named for King George of England.
The city of Apalachicola was the third largest cotton trading port on the Gulf of Mexico in the 1830s. Cotton was the reason the city boomed. There are still many historic buildings from that time.
The bottling of Coca-Cola was begun in the county at the turn of the 20th century but its real value to the area came through the purchase of Coca-Cola stock. Many legends circulate about the personal fortunes gained by county residents from their Coca-Cola investments.
At Fanning Springs State Park, "the water of the springs is stunningly clear. The temperature is a very cool 72 degrees all throughout the year."
Moore Haven is the home of the Chalo Nitka Festival and Rodeo. Dating back to 1949, the annual county fair is one of Florida's oldest continuous festivals and means ‘The Day of the Big Bass" in the Seminole language.
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park has miles of white sand beaches, striking dune formations, a heavily-forested interior and a favorable climate for year-round outdoor recreation. The 2,516-acre park is bounded on three sides by the waters of St. Joe Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
In the middle of the county is the fascinating Alapaha River, called the "River of Sand," which disappears underground during certain parts of the year leaving a dry, sandy riverbed.
The name of the town of ‘Wauchula’ comes from a Miccosoukee Indian word meaning “call of the Sandhill crane.”
Along the scenic Caloosahatchee River and not far from Lake Okeechobee is the friendly, historic town of LaBelle, known for its Curtis Honey House, country architecture, citrus farms and Swamp Cabbage Festival. Swamp Cabbage is tender, delicious heart-of-palm from Florida's state tree, the sabal palm.
At Weeki Wachee Springs, mermaids perform to an audience seated in an underwater theatre. Mermaid shows began in the 1950s and continue today at this incredible Florida state park.
Highlands County is home to over 100 lakes ranging from less than 10 acres to the 27,600 acre, Lake Istokpoga, Florida’s 5th largest.
Florida State Fair is held in Tampa for twelve days each year. It is the official state fair. Florida residents create exhibits about their agricultural businesses – everything from flowers, woodcarving and crafts, to seafood, cattle and pigs. Not to mention all the yummy food.
Famed author Laura Ingalls Wilder, noted for “Little House” series of books arrived at the Westville railroad station in 1891 and settled in the New Hope Community north of Westville. Their decedents still live in and around the county and still gather for family reunions.
In 1915, Dr. Elias Sellards investigated the discovery of ancient human and animal fossils uncovered while a crew was digging the Vero Canal in the town of Vero Beach. The fossilized bones were from mastodon and other long extinct animals and were the same age as the fossilized remains of “Vero Man.” The discovery was the first in America to prove that people lived at the same time as extinct animals.
Jackson County is the only county in Florida to border two other states, Alabama and Georgia, and borders Eastern and Central time zones, Jackson County is in Central Standard Time.
Try as you might, you won’t find a single traffic light in all of Jefferson County, Florida.
Nestled in the shallow water of Troy Springs State Park are the remains of the Civil War-era steamboat Madison which was scuttled in 1863 to keep it from being captured.
Lake County has over 1,000 named lakes. Tavares is known as “America’s Seaplane City”. The city owns a 50-acre seaplane base.
At the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Thomas Edison’s amazing inventions are on display in his old laboratory! He invented the lightbulb, the phonograph (a sound recording machine), and the first moving image camera. Edison’s winter home was just a stone’s throw away from his Ford motorcar inventing friend, Henry Ford’s house. These two friends probably shared many ideas that shaped our future.
Tallahassee was established as Florida's capital in 1824. Today, Florida’s Historic Capitol serves as a public museum.
The Florida Governor's Mansion was first built in 1907 and rebuilt in 1956, The beautiful home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006, and serves as private residence for Florida's Governor and family.
Mission San Luis is Florida's Apalachee-Spanish Living History Museum. This recreated mission village is where Spanish missionaries and Apalachee Indians lived side-by-side for almost 100 years.
Two divers in North Florida broke the world record of diving deep into the cave as the two descended 7,685 feet in the cave of Manatee Springs. The event took place in February 27, 1987.
Torreya State Park – a 12,000-acre preserve with incredible views of the Apalachicola River, is by far one of the best places in the Sunshine State to view fall foliage.
Madison Blue Spring State Park is a crystal clear, first magnitude spring that was voted the #1 swimming hole in the country by USA Today in 2015. Madison Blue Spring is a family favorite destination and a fantastic place to spend the day.
Manatee is the only county in Florida named after animal. The manatee is Florida's state marine mammal.
Florida has more than 900 freshwater springs. One of the largest and most popular is Silver Springs. In the 1870s, the glass bottom boat came to Silver Springs and allowed tourists to see natural underwater activity in Silver River and Silver Springs. Silver Springs may have been Florida's first theme park!
The St. Lucie Inlet is the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern hemisphere.
In the 1960s many Cubans immigrated to Miami seeking freedom from Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro. They first came to the ornate Miami News building, which became a symbol of Cuban-American freedom. It is known today as the Freedom Tower.
Near Indian Key is the San Pedro underwater shipwreck preserve. There are many vibrant fish darting around the shipwreck. The San Pedro was one of the Spanish galleon fleet that sank during a hurricane in 1715.
Nearly 80 percent of the states intake of sweet Atlantic white shrimp is harvested in Amelia Island waters. Two million pounds of shrimp are delivered to Fernandina docks annually. The annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival celebrates this resource by hosting a pirate parade!
The beaches in Destin were formed over 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. Because much of the earth’s water was frozen back then, the sea level of Florida was at least a mile further out to sea than it is now! When the ice melted, water flowed down through the mountains and into the rivers that opened to the Gulf of Mexico. The flow of water left tiny particles of powder-white quartz that make up Destin’s beaches today.
Canals have been built around Lake Okeechobee for over a thousand years! Today a system of canals and locks control the water flow of Lake Okeechobee and the surrounding farmland. Yummy sweet sugarcane, vegetable crops and even pretty flowers are grown in this area. There are also acres of cattle ranches.
In the 1960s, cartoon entrepreneur Walt Disney, came to Florida to find the best place to build a new kind of tourist attraction – a theme park dedicated to his characters. Orlando seemed like the perfect place for the fantasy world where visitors are greeted by characters they can only imagine. We think it was perfect too, and each year over 60 million tourists agree.
Osceola County derives its name from Billy Powell, son of British trader William Powell and his Creek wife Polly Copinger. Born in Alabama in 1804, Powell adopted the name Osceola, which means "black drink crier", at a tribal ceremony around 1820.
The Morikami Museum and Gardens was once a farming colony called Yamoto. It was developed by Japanese settlers in 1904. Thanks to the park’s founder George Morikami, it is now a preserved haven of Japanese culture and beauty with many cultivated Japanese plants. Today, you can visit the old Yamoto colony and learn about Japanese culture through the museum, architecture, food and cultural programming.
Pasco County has more than 100,000 acres of public land including the Robert K. Rees Memorial Park, a popular bird-watchers site with an observation tower.
Tampa has been major league baseball’s spring training home since the Florida Grapefruit League started in the 1920s.
Bok Tower Gardens has offered some of Florida’s most remarkable experiences to more than 23 million visitors since 1929. Through its historic landscape gardens, unique Singing Tower carillon and magnificent 1930s Mediterranean-style mansion, the Gardens offer unparalleled opportunities for artistic, cultural, personal and spiritual enrichment.
John Bartram, Botanist to the Spanish king, was commissioned to explore East Florida and draft a report of his findings. John and his twenty-six year old son William, began their journey up the St. Johns River in Palatka on December 19, 1765. William's writings and description of the area served as a catalyst for tourism in Florida. Today, you can follow the Bartram Trail in Palatka.
You can visit beautiful beaches, paddle a canoe in Coldwater Creek or walk through a forest in Santa Rosa County.
The tradition of circus performing is often passed down through families. A very famous performing family of acrobats are from Sarasota; they’re called The Flying Wallendas. For seven generations, this family has performed high wire stunts, like human pyramids on tightropes, without safety harnesses!
In the late 1800s, Sanford was a steamboat port on the St. Johns River, and was a major agriculture center including large celery farms. Because of its port and the railroad system, farmers could ship produce nationwide and Sanford became known as the "Celery Capital of the World."
Modern history of Florida began in 1513, when a European explorer from Spain named Juan Ponce de León landed on Florida’s east coast.
Construction on this coquina fort began in 1672. Today, Castillo de San Marcos is a National Monument that is cared for by the National Park Service.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse was built in 1874. A wooden watchtower served as the lighthouse before the black and white striped brick tower. There are 219 steps on the iron staircase leading to the top. It is one of the few lighthouses in the United States with a working Fresnel lens.
The Treasure Coast area gets its glitzy name from the Spanish treasure fleet shipwrecks of 1715. Much of the treasure was recovered from ships at the time, but some was lost forever. Today, the coasts of Indian River, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties share the treasure of art, history and rich cultural diversity.
Visit the Lake Panasoffkee Wildlife Management Area to enjoy almost 9,000 acres of outdoor recreation.
The Suwannee River is one of eight magnificent waterways in North Central Florida. In addition to the Suwannee River, over 70 clear, fresh springs can be found within Suwannee County. There are many types of fish that thrive in these waters, and the river provides a habitat for many species of wildlife.
Taylor County has more than a half million acres of forest and contains the Forest Capital Museum State Park. The town of Perry even hosts the Florida Forest Festival in October every year to celebrate its claim to the "Tree Capital of the South".
Union County is Florida’s smallest county at 240 square miles. Lake Butler is a mile wide to enjoy boating, swimming and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy the Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail, a 47-mile trail that begins in Lake Butler.
Mary McLeod Bethune was an advocate for the advancement of women and African Americans. In 1904, she established the school that became Bethune-Cookman University.
The Daytona International Speedway took 15 months to build. Construction began in November 1957, and the track opened in February 1959. Today thousands of race enthusiasts visit the races held there.
About 20 miles south of Tallahassee is St. Marks. This small town has a long history of explorers and warriors. Spanish explorer Pánfilo Nárvaez traveled through here in 1528. St. Marks is known today for its abundant stone crab and unspoiled natural beauty. In the fall of the year, St. Marks is also a resting place for monarch butterflies on their migratory route to Mexico.
At 345 feet above mean sea level, Britton Hill is Florida's highest natural point – and the lowest "high point" in the United States.
Falling Waters, Florida's highest waterfall at 100 feet, is in Washington County. Not far from the waterfall, you can visit a Seacrest Wolf Preserve, the largest preserve in the southeast.