BY SHELLEY GABLE
Tallahassee is proof that a Florida city doesn’t need to be on the coast or home to theme parks to be a great travel destination. When I thought of visiting Florida prior to my trip, I did not think of this historical, adventure-filled city. I’m glad to say that this spot, a scenic three and a half hours away from Middle Georgia, has shot up on my list of family-friendly locales. Everywhere you look, there are movements to encourage families, and especially children, to get outside and be active. In Tallahassee, you will find that there is plenty to keep the whole family engaged out of doors. For help in planning your trip, check out VisitTallahassee.com.
Tallahassee Museum zipline obstacle course
In Tallahassee, there are plenty of places to simply go and spend the day. For the budget-friendly option, a lot of parks and over 600 miles of trails (including the Leon Sinks Geological area) provide day-long amusement with little out-of-pocket cost. Visit http://visittallahassee.com/explore/self-guided-tours/budget-friendly-tallahassee/ for a list of things to do that will cost you less than ten dollars. A tank of gas, a picnic basket, and a cooler will give you a nice day trip from Middle Georgia to Florida’s beautiful capital city. If you head out to the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, there are trails and beaches, boat tours, a soda fountain, and a very nice but very casual dining room. Lodging is also available. Rent a kayak or canoe at T-N-T Hideaway, and spend the day on the blissfully cold Wakulla Springs River. You can observe manatees, alligators, birds, and more while dipping your hands in the clear, cold water.
Wakulla River kayaking
Another location that can take up your whole day is the Tallahassee Museum. Bask in the historical buildings on site, soar through the air on a zip line obstacle course, observe wild animals in their natural habitats, and wander the many trails. There is even a café, a zip line for the kiddos, and a playground. Be sure to keep an eye out for colorful dinosaurs created from old auto parts scattered along the trails. Spend your Saturday night without the children at The Bradfordville Blues Club, a truly Southern institution off the beaten path of this city.
Maclay Gardens reflection pool
Aloft Tallahassee Downtown is in a great location for access to a number of dining choices, and it is not too far from many of the outdoor activities. The rooms are laid out with either two queen or one king bed. Everything is placed very efficiently in these rooms with space for a pack-n-play should it be needed. With all that is available to do, you will love that Aloft offers convenient, grab-and-go-style dining in the lobby at Re:Fuel. Among the yogurt, fruit, and beverages, there is also a limited grill menu for every meal and a select Starbucks menu. Stop by the W XYZ Bar or pool to unwind.
One of the really good things I discovered about this beautiful city is that it’s hard to go wrong with dining choices. There is an abundance of fresh seafood and other locally produced ingredients. Level 8 is found on the top of the historic Hotel Duval with a new appetizer menu, a great selection of cocktails (try the Rented Mule), and an unparalleled view of the city. Visit the new Zin & Sin for a mind-blowing meal and a dessert bar that is hard to beat. Be sure to at least taste the Lobster Mac & Cheese. At Uptown Café, try the Banana Bread French Toast or have their Apricot Glazed Salmon in a dish—it is smoked and glazed on site. It can also be ordered online and shipped anywhere.
Cascades Park trails
Backwoods Bistro has an eclectic menu with options for any taste buds and, among others, a chocolate tiramisu cake for dessert. For a laid-back atmosphere and fantastic sandwiches, stop by Andrew’s Capital Grill & Bar. If you’re looking for something more formal, you must visit A la Provence, which features the best ingredients that can be found for each of its dishes, most of them locally sourced. Take the short walk across the parking lot after dinner for a cold treat at Lofty Pursuits, an old-fashioned soda fountain and candy and unique game store. Demos of games can be enjoyed along with menu items such as a true root beer float or a carefully crafted sundae. If you’re really lucky, you may also catch a confectioner making old-fashioned hard candy using vintage and antique equipment.
Before I headed out on Sunday, I enjoyed a wonderful service at the historic and beautiful St. John’s Episcopal Church, followed by a brunch of shrimp and grits at Kool Beanz Café, a local joint with a menu that changes daily. I know I will not wait too long before I journey back to Tallahassee and introduce my husband and daughter to all its wonders. #
Featured picture at the top of the article: The Dolphin Statue at the Capitol Building