15 Best Day Trips from Tallahassee

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Located in the Florida Panhandle, Tallahassee is the capital city of the state and is becoming an increasingly popular entry point for visitors to the state.

Northern Florida is often overlooked for the coastal lifestyles of Miami and theme parks of Central Florida, but the region has plenty to offer including unique historical sites, natural beauty and cultural attractions.

Tallahassee offers tourists a range of good-quality museums, varied restaurants and a growing nightlife.

Any visit to the city will, however, be greatly enriched by taking day trips to other interesting places within the region.

Here are the 15 best day trips within easy travelling distance of Tallahassee.

1. Apalachicola

Apalachicola, FloridaSource: cate_89 / shutterstock

Apalachicola is a small town on the northern Gulf Coast.

It is traditionally a fishing village, and there are many great fishing opportunities in the city.

You can hire a rod or bring your own.

There are also some great seafood restaurants to sample some of the finest cuisine Northern Florida has to offer.

The Apalachicola National Forest stretches between the town and Tallahassee and is a great region of natural beauty where you can explore native forests, enjoy peaceful hikes and explore some of the local wildlife.

You can also learn about the history of the Floridian timber industry while in the town, and enjoy the parks that line the waterfront and provide great views over the Gulf.

2. DeFuniak Springs

DeFuniak SpringsSource: romarti / shutterstock
DeFuniak Springs

DeFuniak Springs is an interesting historical town located in the panhandle.

This is a great place to check out some Old Florida style architecture and learn about the history of America’s rich, famous and powerful.

The DeFuniak Springs resort was once a gated campus during the Victorian Era and hosted presidents, musicians and actors.

The area has now been preserved and contains buildings which are on the US National Register of Historic Places.

The grounds have been restored so you can enjoy native bird and plant life, as well as browse through some of the antique stores that the modern town is well known for locally.

3. St George Island State Park

St George Island State Park, FloridaSource: Gennady Stetsenko / shutterstock
St George Island State Park

Located off the coast of the Florida Panhandle, St George Island State Park contains miles of untouched beaches, with little development giving them a very secluded and private vibe.

The island is full of native birdlife, and there are also some great opportunities if you enjoy fishing.

You can hire kayaks and canoes on the island to explore the Gulf Coast of Northern Florida.

Dolphin sightings from the island are also very common.

The island has a number of hiking trails where you can get close to nature.

Before you leave, be sure to watch the famous St George Island sunset.

4. Seaside

Seaside, FloridaSource: paigeh / Wikimedia
Seaside, Florida

Also located on the Gulf Coast, Seaside is an idyllic town to spend a day relaxing and getting to know the laid-back Florida lifestyle.

Transport yourself to a Mediterranean village by enjoying the bright, pastel-colored buildings that fill the town.

The white sand beach was named the Best Beach On Earth by Travel + Leisure Magazine and is known to be very family friendly.

There is a thriving shopping strip in the town center, and many great seafood restaurants along the waterfront.

The town is also famous for being the filming location of The Truman Show, so see if you can spot any of locations from the movie.

5. Panama City

Panama City Beach, FloridaSource: Christian Hinkle / shutterstock
Panama City Beach

Panama City is an excellent option for families who want to explore a seaside town on the Florida Panhandle.

The white sand beaches are very popular with tourists and locals alike and offer a number of activities including jet-skiing, fishing and kayaking.

The Cobra Adventure Park is a small amusement park located on the waterfront and has plenty of attractions to keep kids and adults alike entertained for hours.

There is a number of diving locations along the coast of the city, and shipwreck diving is a particularly popular activity for both novices and seasoned divers.

6. Marianna

Blue Hole Spring, MariannaSource: systemslibrarian / Flickr
Blue Hole Spring, Marianna

Known as “the City of Southern Charm”, Marianna is located close to the border with Alabama.

A battle site during the Civil War, you can find a surprising amount of historical attractions in the small town including an Obelisk to commemorate the battle.

The town is filled with character and Old Florida style architecture.

The area is also popular with eco-tourists, and there are plenty of activities in the region including walking trails, paddle boarding and canoeing on the Chipola River.

The Florida Caverns State Park is also close to the town, and here you can explore a trail through the dry caverns.

7. Torreya State Park

Torreya State ParkSource: ebyabe / Flickr
Torreya State Park

The Torreya State Park is named after the Torreya tree, which can only be found within the park.

Famous for its bluffs, the area is well known for unique and astounding natural beauty and has recently been updated with plenty of tourism infrastructure.

You can enjoy hiking trails along the bluffs, and there are plenty of great picnic spots throughout the park to enjoy a relaxing lunch.

The Apalachicola River runs through the park, and there are great views over the river from the bluffs.

You can also explore the lush forestation in the area to help you reconnect with nature and learn about the diverse natural history of Northern Florida.

8. St Augustine

St Augustine, FloridaSource: Sean Pavone / shutterstock
St Augustine

St Augustine is the oldest city in the United States, established when the Spanish first inhabited the area.

Located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the town is now very popular with tourists and has plenty of attractions to entertain a variety of visitors.

The historic district is great for discovering Spanish colonial architecture, as well as some Old Florida style buildings.

Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the United States and was initially built to defend Spain’s claim to the region.

The fort now acts as a large museum where you can learn about Florida’s colonial past.

9. Seacrest Wolf Preserve

Seacrest Wolf PreserveSource: Karsun Designs Photography / Flickr
Seacrest Wolf Preserve

Enjoyed by adults and children alike, Seacrest is a small wolf preserve where you can get up close and personal with Gray, Arctic and British Columbian wolves.

The wolves have been especially trained so humans can safely interact with them.

You can also feed the racoons and play with the foxes that roam the park, as well as check out coyotes and skunks.

The park can only be visited with a tour guide who will talk to you about the history of the preserve and give an interesting insight into the lives of the wolves.

Visits must be reserved in advance, and there are strict photography and dress code rules.

10. Madison

Madison, FloridaSource: cityofmadisonfl.com

Madison is the northernmost town in Florida and is known as a place where you can indulge in some Southern hospitality.

You can enjoy the Antebellum architecture of the city, as well as take in the welcoming atmosphere and laid-back attitude.

The Four Freedoms Park in the centre of the town is where Florida first endorsed Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Great hiking and cycling trails surround the city, as well as rivers that are popular with kayakers.

If you are interested in learning about America’s tobacco history, there are a bunch of farms surrounding the city, many of which provide tours.

11. Monticello

Monticello, FloridaSource: davidwilson1949 / Flickr

Like many of the small towns and villages in Florida’s panhandle, Monticello is filled with historic buildings and Spanish colonial architecture.

The Monticello Courthouse is the center point of the town, and the surrounding square is popular with tourists and locals thanks to the family-run cafés, restaurants and bars.

There are also some great independent stores and boutiques in the area.

Monticello was named the Most Haunted Small Town in the US by ABC, which makes it an excellent destination for fans of the paranormal.

Every building has a ghost story…just ask the locals.

12. Albany

Albany, GeorgiaSource: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia
Albany, Georgia

Steeped in history from the Antebellum era, Albany is just across the border in Georgia and makes a unique day trip from Tallahassee.

Albany is known as a city where you can experience some of the most welcoming examples of Southern hospitality, and the best places to find this are in the many restaurants, bars and cafés that can be found in the city centre.

There are two creeks which run through the city and are very popular with boating enthusiasts and fishermen.

The surrounding region also has a number of golf courses.

Ray Charles Plaza has a monument to the musician, which is a popular photo stop for visitors.

13. Jacksonville

Jacksonville, FloridaSource: ESB Professional / shutterstock

Nestled on the Atlantic Coast of Northern Florida, Jacksonville is the most populated city in the state and, by area, is the largest city in the United States.

The Jacksonville Landing is the main hub of the city.

Located along the waterfront, this is where you can find the best shopping, dining and drinking spots in the city.

There are five different art galleries in the city, making it an excellent choice for art lovers visiting the region.

You can also check out the Riverside Arts Market where local artists and artisans sell their work every Saturday.

14. Lake City

Lake City, FloridaSource: tvanhoosear / Flickr
Lake City

Located on the route from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, Lake City is possibly the best place to visit for tourists who love outdoor activities.

There are freshwater springs with crystal clear waters within the city, and opportunities for kayaking, hiking and biking.

Most of this is based in O’Leno State Park along the Santa Fe river.

You can also try out some fishing along the river, and there are plenty of picnic spots for families to enjoy in the park.

Lake City is also well known for its music festivals, so make sure to check the listings before you go.

15. Ginnie Springs

Ginnie Springs, FloridaSource: Valerijs Novickis / shutterstock
Ginnie Springs

Also located on the Santa Fe River, Ginnie Springs is a nature park with a variety of activities to keep adults and children entertained.

You can enjoy kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding along the river.

If you are looking for something with a slower pace, you can also indulge in tubing along the river and let the current do all the work.

The water stays warm year-round, giving snorkelers and divers the perfect opportunity to explore the wildlife found in and around the river.

There are also restaurants, gift shops and picnic facilities in the park to keep you well serviced throughout the day.

15 Best Day Trips from Tallahassee:

  • Apalachicola
  • DeFuniak Springs
  • St George Island State Park
  • Seaside
  • Panama City
  • Marianna
  • Torreya State Park
  • St Augustine
  • Seacrest Wolf Preserve
  • Madison
  • Monticello
  • Albany
  • Jacksonville
  • Lake City
  • Ginnie Springs