Florida Day Trips: Short Drives From Tallahassee

Mexico Beach, Florida

It’s no secret that Tallahassee has a lot to offer its residents. Between public parks, local restaurants, arts, and culture it’s easy to see why folks wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. But luckily for those who still want a quick little getaway, Tallahassee is uniquely located within driving distance of many great Florida day trips. We’ve included a few of our favorite spots below!

Apalachicola 

Up The Creek Raw Bar Oysters in Apalachicola
Oysters at Up The Creek Raw Bar

Florida is home to many beach towns, but Apalachicola’s charm puts it high on our list of perfect Florida day trips! Often overlooked on the way to St. George Island, this town has history, outdoor activities, and fun for the whole family.

Spend the day at the Apalachicola Maritime Museum learning the local coastal history, kayaking, sailing, or exploring the area’s barrier islands via sunset cruise. Then head over to the Chapman Botanical Gardens adjoined to Orman House Historic State Park. You’ll find scenic walking paths, wide-open green space, and a dedicated butterfly garden that can help anyone achieve peace and serenity. Lafayette Park is also nearby and offers incredible waterfront views, greenery, and the perfect gazebo for any picnic. Ready to head to the water? Battery Park’s boat ramps and camping grounds have everything you need for your next outdoor adventure.

Close the day out by dining at one of Apalachicola’s locally-owned restaurants. Notable favorites include: Owl Cafe, Up The Creek Raw Bar, Hole In The Wall Seafood, The Chowder House, and Cafe Con Leche.

Madison Blue Spring State Park

Madison Blue Spring State Park
Madison Blue Spring State Park in Florida. (PC: Jess Dales & Quinn Schrock)

Looking for a place to cool off in the Florida heat? Enjoy the crystal clear, cool water of Madison Blue Spring State Park, located approximately 68 miles east of Tallahassee (a perfect Florida day trip distance)! Fill your day picnicking, paddling, wildlife viewing, and more at this popular swimming spot. In fact, Blue Spring State Park was voted the No. 1 swimming hole in the country by USA Today. And if the weather really starts to heat up, head underwater. Madison Blue is internationally known for its cave system. The Park offers exceptional diving opportunities and spectacular underwater scenery that you won’t want to miss!

Florida Caverns State Park

Florida Caverns State Park

Looking for completely unique and UNFORGETTABLE Florida day trips? We found the perfect spot!

Just northwest of Tallahassee in Marianna, FL you’ll find the only Florida State Park that offers guided public tours of dry caves. Venture into the caves down a long stretch of stairs that brings you 50 feet deep underground. While you’re down there you’ll get the chance to see limestone formations that are more than 30 million years old. The low lighting allows guests to view the beauty of the cave and the light-sensitive ecosystems within.

The cool air of the caverns provides any visitor with the perfect summer escape. Above ground, the Florida Caverns State Park also offers horseback riding, boating, swimming, geo-seeking, and camping. It’s a vacation spot that everyone is sure to enjoy.

Havana

The Planter's Exchange antiques in Havana, FL
The Planter’s Exchange in Havana, FL

If you’re looking for Florida’s friendliest small town, look no further than Havana! Founded in 1906, Havana was initially a hub for tobacco production. Now it’s home to more than 30 quaint specialty shops and restaurants. You can find everything from unique vintage must-haves to new pieces you can’t live without. But if you want to take a peek into the past, be sure to visit the Shade Tobacco Museum for more information on Havana’s history and ties to the tobacco industry.

Mexico Beach

Mexico Beach, Florida
Mexico Beach

Mexico Beach is a perfect destination for anyone looking for waterfront fun on Florida’s Unforgettable Coast. Located 20 miles east of Panama City, Mexico Beach offers tourists beaches, hiking, paddling, birding, fishing, and water sport opportunities.

Whether you spend your day at the local shops on land or you take to the water, you’re going to want to end up at a local restaurant for dinner. Mexico Beach has plenty of restaurants, but the local favorite is Shell Shack. Here you’ll find the freshest seafood to sink your teeth into. What are you waiting for?!

Providence Canyon State Park

Providence Canyon
Providence Canyon in South Georgia

Can’t make it out to Arizona? No need. Providence Canyon State Park, also known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon” is the perfect hiking destination for anyone looking to get a little bit of clay on their shoes. With multiple canyons to explore and over 1,003 acres of land, you’re sure to see incredible geologic formations created by the erosion of the Coastal Plain. Pack a lunch and stay for a picnic. Or pack a bag and camp in one of their Pioneer or Backcountry Campsites. Either way, you won’t regret the hike to take in that canyon view. 

On your way back to Tallahassee, be sure to stop at the White Oak Pastures Farm & General Store, located in Bluffton, GA. You’ll find speciality meats, canned goods, pet products and more at this 6th generation, family-owned operation.

St. George Island

St. George Island beach near Tallahassee
St. George Island

St. George Island is a true beach town getaway, with sugar-white sand as far as the eye can see. It’s also one of the few pet-friendly beach locations in the state, making it one of the perfect Florida day trips for all members of the family… even the furry ones! 

Visit the local art galleries and shop or dine at a local restaurant after a day in the sun. Rent a bike and explore the island’s coast via a 6-mile paved path leading up to hiking trails to continue your adventure. Looking to fish? Take your pick in the bay or the gulf for a variety of fish you’re sure to enjoy.

Climb the steps of the lighthouse to learn more about the history of the island. Catch a view that’ll take your breath away – even more than the stairs you climbed to get up there!

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge 

St Marks Lighthouse
St. Marks Lighthouse

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the United States. Visit a piece of history with incredible views of coastal marshes, islands, tidal creeks, and estuaries of seven north Florida rivers.  Just 25 miles south of Tallahassee lies the refuge’s visitor center and Nature Classroom. Here, visitors can find a variety of educational programs hosted for the public. Before you head home, make sure you visit the St. Marks lighthouse which was built in 1842 and is still in use today.

Quincy 

Quincy FL
Quincy, Florida (PC: Tallahassee Magazine)

Just 20 minutes west of Tallahassee you’ll find the charming city of Quincy. Where the streets are lined with historic Victorian homes and a downtown square built around the Gadsen Country Courthouse sets the scene for a perfect getaway. The city’s downtown district is full of local shops and restaurants for locals and visitors alike. 

While you’re strolling the streets of Quincy be sure to visit some of the city’s registered historic landmarks such the E.B. Shelfer House, the John Lee McFarlin House, and the Quincy Library.  Quincy was once the richest town per capita in the United States thanks to residents’ early investments in Coca-Cola, which means you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll find in Quincy!

Thomasville 

Sunset in Thomasville GA
Sunset in downtown Thomasville, GA

If you’re looking for a quick city getaway with character look no further than Thomsaville, Georgia. Just one hour north of Tallahassee you’ll find restaurants, unique local shops, and city-wide events that all are welcome to attend. 

This town is packed with southern hospitality and you can learn about the city’s history through one of the many local museums. Take a stroll through a historic house, or walk among the roses at the Thomasville Rose Garden. No matter where you end up spending your day in Thomasville, you’re sure to enjoy it!

Wakulla Springs State Park 

Wakulla Springs State Park
Wakulla Springs State Park

Wakulla Springs State Park is home to the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs. This gem is just 20 miles from Tallahassee, making it the perfect Florida day trip, and offers riverboat tours, hiking, swimming, scuba diving, and even horseback riding. While the wildlife of the area may not seem star-studded, Wakulla Springs was actually used to film the 1964 hit movie “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” But don’t be afraid to take a dip in the cool water of the springs, the only thing you’ll find in there nowadays is natural wildlife!