From marshes to rivers to rolling hills, Tallahassee’s terrain is extremely diverse and unique—unlike anywhere else in the state. A mountain bikers paradise, with more than 700 miles of outdoor trails, there’s always something new to explore. While this nature-filled trip offers some good variety, it only merely scratches the surface of what you can see and do here...
Leon Sinks Geological Area is one of the best hiking spots near Tallahassee, and for good reason. Not only does the land sit on top of the longest underwater mapped cave system in all of North America, but it truly exemplifies Northern Florida's natural beauty. A two and a half mile trail cuts through the area’s numerous swamps, sinkholes, and freshwater springs—all of which are brilliant shades of blue and green. The trail is well maintained, and a series of elevated boardwalks takes you over the top of some of the most famous pools, giving you an extra close look at what makes this area so spectacular.
Anyone looking for a smooth bike ride or relaxing hike should definitely check our St. Marks Trail. The former railroad line turned recreational trail is 16 miles long, and runs straight from the heart of Tallahassee down to the coastal community of St. Marks. The trail is completely paved, and great for bikers and hikers of all ages and experience levels.
Although it’s not technically classified as a park, Tallahassee Nurseries is still an amazing outdoor experience that’s worth checking out. Not only is it the Capital’s City oldest garden center, but it's also the largest—taking up multiple acres, and packed full of ornate fountains, elaborate greenhouses, and stunning garden displays. You can buy a variety of plants, flowers, and trees, as well as gardening tools and gifts. Or stop by for one of the nursery’s many excellent classes and workshops. Check the calendar online before you go to see what events are taking place.
Running adjacent to the historic tree-lined Miccosukee Canopy Road, the Miccosukee Greenway Trail is ideal for those who want to explore this beautiful area on foot, on horseback, or by bike. The trail itself is roughly eight miles long, but it sits inside 503 acres of protected greenway pastures, so there is plenty to explore. And while Miccosukee Greenway Trail is not a dedicated mountain biking area, it does offer some of the best and most diverse riding in North Florida. Trail types range from wide, well-maintained gravel to narrow single-tracks that cut through oak woods. There are even misters scattered throughout the trail to help you cool off in the summer heat. Regardless of how you choose to explore this area, just remember to practice proper trail etiquette: Wheels yield to heels, and all yield to horses.
Located alongside Lafayette Heritage Trail Park, Piney Z Lake will make you feel like you’re in the heart of the country without ever having to leave the city. Despite its small size (the lake is just over 190 acres), Piney Z is actually one of the best places to fish in all of Tallahassee. In addition to boat fishing (non-motorized only), there are multiple “fingers” around the perimeter of the lake, creating ample space to fish from the shore. Bass, perch, bream, and carp are just a few of the fish types you may end up hooking.
Right next to Piney Z Lake, across the water from Lafayette Heritage Trail Park, is JR Alford Greenway. With miles of rolling hills and grassland, JR Alford Greenway is one of Tallahassee’s most popular parks. Here you can picnic and enjoy the wide open spaces, or follow the path of crushed oyster shells into the wooded forests for a scenic hike. And don’t forget your furry friend! Dogs on leashes are always permitted.
Surrounded by magnolia trees and brimming with wildlife, the Wacissa River paddling trail is a favorite in Northern Florida. The river, which is fed by local springs, is known for being incredibly clear and calm—ideal for canoeing and kayaking. And one of the best places for kayaking is Harry Smith Outdoors. Owned and operated by Tallahassee native Harry Smith, this full-service kayak shop specializes in guided eco-tours and fishing trips. Whether you’re looking to experience the river’s natural beauty, get up close and personal with some local wildlife, or learn the intricacies of kayak fishing, the team at Harry Smith Outdoors will ensure you have the best experience possible.
Located just south of Tallahassee on the banks of Apalachee Bay, you’ll find the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. One of the oldest wildlife refuges in the United States, St. Marks encompasses more than 68,000 acres. Originally established as a wintering ground for birds, the refuge is now a popular spot for hiking, sightseeing, and nature viewing. There are endless photo opportunities throughout the refuge, but the most popular has to be the lighthouse at the end of the road. Pop your shoes off, snap a quick picture of the lighthouse, then enjoy a nice stroll along the white, sandy beach.
From underwater springs to kayak fishing to leisurely sea-side strolls, Tallahassee offers some incredible adventures for a wide variety of interests and skill sets. No matter what your outdoor obsessions are, you’ll undoubtedly find it here.
Banner Photo Credit: Shutterstock
700 miles of open-wide trails. That’s the beautiful thing about Tallahassee.