Destination Guide to North Central Florida

The landscape and climate of North Central Florida very different from the sub-tropical environment most associated with the rest of the state. There is an incredible amount of things to do, places to see and wilderness to explore. Kayak back country rivers, explore lighthouses and enjoy fresh seafood. The landscape of North Central Florida has gently rolling hills dominated by magnolia trees and large Southern live oak hammocks draped with Spanish moss.

POPULAR CITIES IN NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA

Cedar Key

Cedar Key is an old world Florida island community nestled among many small keys on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Its natural beauty, plentiful seafood and tranquil village make Cedar Key a great choice for a relaxing vacation.

Cedar Key is located 50 miles southwest of Gainesville, Florida and is three miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. There is one road coming into town, Highway 24. Cedar Key has no high rises or large apartment complexes keeping it sparsely populated and peaceful. Cedar Key is home to and visited frequently by artists, writers and “adventure” tourists, who find the unspoiled environment their inspiration.

Thousands of visitors come annually to enjoy the “Old Florida Celebration of the Arts” 4th of July, the October Seafood Festival, Pirate Festival, and The Stargazing Party in February.  The island provides for excellent fishing, bird watching, nature trails, kayaking and coastal guided tours.

Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville is home to 8 state parks with more than 100 miles of trails for biking and hiking in addition to world-class museums, performing arts, and live music. The Smithsonian, National Geographic, and Forbes magazines have featured Gainesville as a great vacation destination.

Inside the Florida Museum of Natural History are Mammoth and Mastodon skeletons, both discovered in North Florida’s Aucilla Riverbed.

The Thomas Center, considered Gainesville’s cultural hub is the site of a variety of art exhibits and musical programs. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center contains art galleries, local history exhibits, performance space and meeting rooms, as well as the surrounding Thomas Center Gardens and the adjacent Grace and Sidney Knight Children’s Theatre. Other cultural facilities in Gainesville include the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Hippodrome State Theatre, the Harn Museum of Art, the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Olustee Battlefield State Historic Site, the Civic Media Center, the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre and the Gainesville Community Playhouse.

Lake City, Florida

Lake City in central north Florida’s Columbia County began as the town of Alligator in 1821 near the Seminole settlement known as Alligator Village. Alligator became the seat of Columbia County in 1832 when it was formed from Duval and Alachua counties.

In 1858 Alligator was incorporated and renamed Lake City. The largest American Civil War battle in Florida took place near here in the Battle of Olustee in 1864; the Confederates won. In 1884 the Florida Agricultural College was established in Lake City as a land grant college; it was relocated to Gainesville in 1905 to form part of the University of Florida. The city’s sesquicentennial was held in 2009.

Lake City is known as “The Gateway to Florida” because it is adjacent to the intersection of Interstate 75 and Interstate 10. The city is the site of Lake City Gateway Airport, formerly known as NAS Lake City. Florida Gateway College is located in Lake City. Lake City is known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities. There are many Outdoor Festivals, Concerts and Art Shows year round.

Tallahassee, Florida

Tallahassee is the capital city of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory. Tallahassee is the largest city in the Florida Big Bend and Florida Panhandle region, and the main center for trade and agriculture in the Florida Big Bend and Southwest Georgia regions.

Tallahassee is home to Florida State University, ranked the nation’s eighteenth best public university by U.S. News & World Report.

Tallahassee has 15 museums and for art enthusiast’s 24 different galleries with all types of art. The Tallahassee Automobile Museum houses Abraham Lincoln’s horse-drawn hearse, as well as the Batmobiles from from “Batman Forever” and “Batman Returns”.

With over 700 miles of hiking and biking trails that offer breathtaking views of the woodlands, picturesque sights of the lake, and majestic glimpses of local wildlife—turtles, alligators, and native birds. These trails are perfect for trail runners, water-sport aficionados, wildlife lovers, and mountain bikers.

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