By Julie Peirano
Florida’s capital offers weather atypical of the Sunshine State—with all four seasons—and is home to countless activities help make any family vacation a trip to remember. While on the search for some urban adventuring, I discovered that Tallahassee has so much going on. It’s no wonder Tallahassee is known as the city “where it all comes together beautifully.”
My first night in town was balmy and rainy, which made the landscape look extra lush. I was immediately amazed by the Southern hospitality around every historic corner and café counter. From majestic landscapes and Spanish moss-covered trees to sprawling open spaces, my weekend’s itinerary took me from the banks of the rivers to the towering heights of the city’s zip lining adventure course. So for all our adventure-lovin’ ladies out there, I’m breaking down the art of experiencing the South with a twist.
Tallahassee boasts an impressive 600-mile trail system, offering outdoor enthusiasts hiking, running, and even paddling opportunities. I especially enjoyed traveling the bike path known as the St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, having gotten its namesake due to its sixteen miles of Rail-Trail. My ride made for a great Sunday bike cruise thanks to all the buttery goodness of a paved trail. St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail meanders its way down a tree-shaded path that even the kiddos can handle with a smile. In addition to being the perfect family ride due to its lack in grade, this scenic path ends in the quaint coastal community of St. Marks. You can enjoy the gratifying beer you just earned during your ride—one of the best parts of playing outside—and feast on fresh seafood and live music at Riverside Café.
The city’s Wakulla River also had me quite intrigued. The river offers a couple different access points and a few options for experiencing the wildlife. I first experienced the river up close, while kayaking down eleven miles of tucked-away serenity. The easy, flat water trip takes about two hours and allows kayakers to experience wildlife, such as manatees and alligators, and also get a peek into the backyards of gorgeous southern homes and the area’s cypress tree-lined landscape.
If kayaking among gators isn’t your thing, you can take this same picturesque tour from the comfort of a Jungle Cruise. At the Wakulla Springs State Park, park rangers take visitors on a guided tour through the Wakulla River. So if you’re really looking to hear the details about the region’s native wildlife, Wakulla Springs is the place to go.
Tallahassee is not lacking delicious eateries, either. My favorite spot was a little place called Paisley Café. Here, the chefs serve up a health-conscious, organic, and locally inspired menu. If you go, save room for dessert. While the main course is not your Grandma’s home cooking, the dessert certainly is. But be careful, one order will definitely be enough for the group!
The best part about my Southern adventure, though, has to be the zip lining at Tallahassee Museum’s Tree to Tree Adventures. A complete ropes course took me high in the sky, soaring through trees and overlooking wild animals. If heights aren’t exactly your cup of tea, though, don’t fret, the experience offers three different courses aimed at various comfort and ability levels. Additionally, there is a children’s area—a great stop for vacationers with kiddos in tow. So, step into your climbing harness, clip on your carabineers, and get ready for the adventure.
From high-flying thrills to potential bike spills, I found a great amount of outdoor opportunities in Tallahassee’s backyard. “Trailahassee,” as it has become known, provided a great getaway weekend and introduced me to the many adventures this southern city has to offer. Being a Colorado gal, it was nice to experience the activities I already love to do, but in an entirely different setting.
I’d recommend the Aloft hotel located right in downtown Tallahassee. Walking out the door to explore the city on foot is doable for Aloft guests, plus the inn’s rooms are affordable while still being comfortable and modern.
Visit trailahassee.com for information on outdoor activities in Tallahassee, Florida. For destination information or to book your trip, visit VisitTallahassee.com.