Northwest around Tallahassee & Pensacola, Florida Attractions
Once the domain of Native Americans who fished its plentiful waters and hunted in its vast forests and marshes, northwestern Florida, also known as the "panhandle" was first settled by Europeans in 1559. Spaniard Tristan de Luna tried to establish a colony in Pensacola in that year but the town fell to a hurricane and a more permanent settlement was founded in St Augustine six years later. The area changed hands between the Spanish, French and English for more than 250 years until it was finally sold to the U.S. in 1821.Today it is characterized by undeveloped white-sand beaches, emerald gulf waters, virgin oak, pine and cypress forests, and several large lakes, bays and rivers. With its decidedly "Southern" atmosphere, some say the Panhandle has more in common with its neighbors Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi than with the rest of the more established tourist zones to the south. The main activities in this region include fishing, beach-combing, diving, golfing and boating.
Apalachicola National Forest, Crawfordville, Florida
Covering an area of more than 564,000 acres, Apalachicola National Forest is the largest of Florida's three national forests. It features many miles of hiking trails through stands of slash and longleaf pine, and along hammocks of cypress, oak and magnolia. There are fishing and canoeing ponds, rivers and lakes, wetlands, swamps and the area is home to many indigenous and rare species including the red cocknayed woodpecker, Florida black bear and bald eagle.
Block Museum, Baker, Florida
The Baker Block Museum is housed in what was once the General Store, built in 1908. Many of the items that were sold in the General Store are on display.Visitors will take a step back in time when they enter the museum. Artifacts from the ancient Indians, military records and uniforms and newspaper articles are on display.
Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna, Florida
Florida Caverns State Park is home to limestone caverns, a museum, natural rock gardens and a horse trail are features of the park. Limestone stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flowstones, and draperies are the unique formations found within the dry caves.
The Blackwater is an important river for Milton and recreational canoeists. Other recreational activities include water sports, hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, tennis and golf. There are many historic homes in Milton that date back to the Civil War.
Adventures Unlimited Outdoor Center
Adventures Unlimited Outdoor Center is located on 88 wooded acres adjacent to the Blackwater River State Forest. It features cypress trees, white sandy shoals and camping facilities. Cabins, a restored cracker-style cottage or the Wolfe Creek Schoolhouse Inn are available. Canoe, kayak and tube rentals are available.
Point Washington - Eden State Gardens and Mansion
Eden State Gardens features a collection of magnolias, camellias, and azaleas surrounding the 1898 Greek Revival mansion. The house is filled with Colonial, Empire and Victorian furniture, family heirlooms and antiques. The collection of Louis XVI furniture in the Wesley Mansion is the second largest in the United States.
Address: 181 Eden Garden Road, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459, United States
Opening hours: 8am-Sunset
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $4.00, Vehicle plus all occupants $4.00, Child $2.00
Useful tips: Tours of the mansion are available hourly Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m including holidays.
Pensacola Beach, Florida
Sasquatch Zoo and Wildlife Park, Crestview, Florida
Sasquatch Zoo in Crestview is home to over 200 animals representing 50 species from around the world. Many of the animals can be hand-fed and petted.
Gulf Breeze, Florida
Recreational activities abound in Gulf Breeze - golf, fishing, boating, scuba diving and swimming - along the miles of bays and lagoons.
Northwest Florida Zoo (closed)
ATTRACTION IS CLOSED.Northwest Florida Zoo has over 700 animals surrounded by botanical gardens. Highlights include a Japanese garden, Gorilla Island and children's petting zoo.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
The Gulf Islands National Seashore covers more than 137,000 acres from Fort Walton Beach to Gulfport, Miss.
Port St Joe, Florida
Port St. Joe, located in Northwest Florida, offers sandy beaches, freshwater fishing and historical flavour as the site of Florida's first Constitution Convention.
Constitution Convention State Museum
Constitution Convention Museum State Park was the location of the first constitutional convention for Florida, here the convention setting is recreated with life-size delegates. After four more constitution conventions, Florida was admitted to the Union in 1845 as the 27th state. Exhibits feature this event as well as other local history.
Address: 200 Allen Memorial Way, Port St Joe, FL 34428, United States
Opening hours: 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm; Closed: Tue, Wed
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $2.00, Child 5 & under FREE
T.H. Stone Memorial St Joseph Peninsula State Park
T.H. Stone Memorial St Joseph Peninsula State Park is 2,516 acres surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and St Joseph Bay. Camping, cabins, fishing, hiking trails and miles of natural beach are available. Canoeing and kayaking are popular as well as bird watching with more than 209 recorded species.