So much more Nature than you think!
Your first few trips up to Tallahassee were probably about seeing the school, orientation, and move in (which means shopping too) and possibly a football game. By now, you know that FSU is really a beautiful school. To boot, there is no denying that Tally also gets the best of Florida’s weather (well, minus the ridiculous summer heat, but that is a great time to go tubing). The winters are cooler than I expected; having lived in S. Florida for so long I had no idea it got that chilly at night, but they are still spectacular. Good weather makes us want to be outside and drink it in. Great news; there is plenty of nature in and around Tally that will keep you enjoying the outdoors.
And here’s the thing; it doesn’t only have to be about the football games (although there is nothing wrong with that either.) In four years, you should find the time to check out some of these places too; if you really want to get a feel for Tally that is.
Obviously, Tallahassee is Florida’s state capitol. It’s not exactly D.C., but it is pretty cool. Take a tour…
Tracer Hot Air Balloons – If you would rather a visual from up above check out Tracer Hot Air Balloons and watch the city come to life early in the morning. It’s a very cool way to see Tally’s rolling hills and beautiful scenery of Tally’s historic east side. See a birds-eye view of the season’s blooming foliage, the lakes and wild game of Old South hunting plantations. Make a reservation.
The Rez – No student should leave Tally without having experienced The Rez. FSU’s Reservation, a 73-acre facility and several fun activities, most of which will be free for FSU students, but is open to the public (admission for non-FSU students is $1 children ages 6-15 and $2 for adults.). Take a dip in Lake Bradford or rent a canoe, paddleboard, kayak, or even a sailboat. Sailboat rentals, however, require attendance to at least one schedule sailing clinic ($10 for FSU students, $20 for non-students). If you’re looking for a fitness challenge, make sure to check out the 40-foot on-site climbing wall (must have closed-toe shoes), or you can join a game of sand volleyball, disc golf, or spikeball. Alcohol and pets are prohibited. The Rez is open Mon-Thurs 2-7 pm and Fri-Sat 9 am-5 pm.
Tallahassee Museum – Set amidst 52 acres of breathtaking Florida flora and fauna, the Tallahassee Museum has served as an iconic Tallahassee landmark for more than 60 years. Ranked as one of Florida’s top museums, the Museum’s living exhibits of native Florida wildlife, nature trails, and native gardens are renowned by visitors of all ages. But, don’t think of this as your average museum. Here you can zip through the tree-tops, soar through the cypress swamp, and conquer aerial games and obstacles on one of the Tallahassee Tree to Tree Adventures courses at the Tallahassee Museum. Admission prices vary
Tallahassee has quite a few beautiful parks for hiking and outdoor activities, but we haven’t visited them all. Perhaps you are looking for some fishing, camping, horseback riding, canoeing, camping, hiking, cycling, leisurely walks and wildlife photography.
Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest – Experience 30,000 acres of beautiful scenery. However, make sure you’re aware of forest rules and areas, as hunting is a popular activity in the forest. By the way, the family pup can even join you as long as they are on leashes.
Lake Talquin State Park – A smaller public park on the shores of 10,000 acre Lake Talquin, named for the neighboring cities of Tallahassee and Quincy (get it, Talquin). Visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and freshwater fishing on the lake a dock and boardwalk. It’s a beautiful place for a picnic or a walk along the nature trail. You are sure to see plenty of wildlife along the way but beware of bears. Leashed pets are permitted here too. The park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset daily. Admission is $3 fee per vehicle.
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park – Also located in Tally, but the difference is that this park is better known for its floral architecture. The same sorts of activities are available; canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, and boating (electric motors or no motors only). There are two nature trails for walking and biking. The park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset and the gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a $6 fee per vehicle and the gardens are free unless you are visiting during the high blooming season (January 1-April 30).
The Pepper Ranch Preserve and the Bird Rookery Swamp have beautiful gardens but are also nice for hiking and walking trails.
Thomasville – One of my favorite things to do is visit Thomasville. It is a quaint little town just over the border in Georgia (only about a 35-40 minute drive). Think Mayberry, but with some adorable shops and a few noteworthy restaurants (my favorite is Jacob
Madison Blue Spring – Have you ever gone tubing? Well, it is a blast! A little over an hour from campus, where you can bring your own or purchase a float from a private vendor located within the park May through September weekends only. Don’t bring food, drinks, pets, tobacco, alcohol, or disposable items though.
Chances are, your student has come to love Tally and FSU. Let’s face it; Tally is now their home away from home. (Trust me, at some point, you will overhear them tell a friend they are going home and mean back to school. It stings, but then you remember, that is exactly how you would want them to feel). Plan to enjoy free time with your students and making memories of this special time.