Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
The beautiful ornamental gardens are located on a portion of the park’s 1,076 upland acres. The gardens were first planted in 1923 by Alfred B. and Louise Maclay after purchasing the property for their winter home. A masterpiece of floral architecture, the gardens feature a picturesque brick walkway, a secret garden, a reflection pool, a walled garden and hundreds of azalea and camellia plants. Lake Hall offers swimming and fishing, along with non-motorized boating for canoers and kayakers. Pavilions and grills along the shore provide a perfect setting for picnicking. Two short nature trails through the woods overlooking the lake will enthrall walking enthusiasts, while hikers, bicyclists and equestrians can enjoy five miles of multi-use trails surrounding Lake Overstreet which adjoins the gardens. High blooming season is from January 1-April 30, peaking in mid-to-late March.
Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park
The Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park – through the cooperative efforts of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, the City of Tallahassee, and the property owner, Colin Phipps – was purchased in October of 1992. It is a beautiful 670 acre tract of land on the eastern shore of Lake Jackson.
The City purchased 162 acres outright, containing two existing active recreation areas. The Meadows Soccer Complex on Millers Landing Road will continue to function as a youth and adult soccer facility, and the Meridian Park area has been re-developed as a multi-use youth sports complex. The vast majority of the park, over 600 acres, will be utilized for passive forms of recreation and environmental education.
Goodwood Museum and Gardens
One of the finest antebellum plantation houses ever built in this region, the Goodwood Museum and Gardens has an elaborate history filled with family feuds and numerous owners. This gracious 1834 home even spurred a Croom vs. Goodwood lawsuit that pitted in-laws against each other. Once a cotton and corn plantation, the estate now welcomes you to view its beautiful gardens and main house. The art collections and furnishings are all original to the estate.
While visiting Goodwood, stop by Fanny’s Garden Café for lunch. They are open Monday through Friday from 11:00am to 2:00pm.
GARDENSGoodwood’s property is unique. Some people visiting the gardens might say they look unkempt, but actually they have been restored to capture much of their early 20th century design and presentation. Goodwood garden staff and volunteers dedicate their work to preservation of the gardens by using only heirloom plant material that was available in North Florida at the turn of the 20th century. Significant horticultural features of the property include an extensive collection of Old Garden Roses, heirloom bulbs, large Sago Palms, centuries old live oak trees and magnolias. Much of the charm of Goodwood resides in the picturesque, relaxed, informal and un-manicured presentation of the grounds. There is much flowering beauty to see in the garden throughout the year. While there is variation in our bloom seasons, guests can expect to see Camellias in bloom from late November through March, Bulbs from late December through February, Ornamental Magnolias in January/February, Ash Magnolias in March, Azaleas in March/April, Roses (best blooming) March through May, and Southern Magnolia in June.
The Main House, which is now open to the public as a museum, was built circa 1840. One of the finest antebellum plantation houses ever built in this region, it features some of the earliest fresco ceilings in Florida. The collections and furnishings are all original to the house.
Main House Tour Hours
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Main House Tour Fees
Goodwood Members: Free
Jack L. McLean Park/Community Center
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The 52-acre Jack L. McLean, Jr. Park provides active and passive recreation facilities, including five covered picnic shelters with grills, two comfort stations, a playground, four basketball courts, two tennis courts, a 24-station fitness trail, two bike trails, and two sand volleyball courts. The park is named for former City Commissioner Jack L. McLean, Jr., who was the driving force behind the acquisition and development of the former Southside Park.
The 20,386 square foot recreation center includes a large air conditioned gymnasium, a weight room and multi-purpose rooms that will be used for meetings, classes, and teen activities. The aquatics complex features a beach-like zero depth entry pool with in-pool play equipment and a 22-foot high water slide, along with a 25 yard, 8-lane pool for lap swimming, water aerobics, swim lessons, and open swimming. The 3,949 square foot bathhouse provides shower facilities, office space and a lifeguard control area. This facility was dedicated November 3, 2004, and is the first full project completed with the City’s 10 percent share of revenue generated by the citizen-approved Blueprint 2000 sales tax extension fund.
Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 5:30pm; 7:00 – 9:00pm
Saturday: 2:00 – 5:30pm; 7:00 – 10:00pm
Lafayette Passage Paddling Trail
The City Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs Department (PRNA) has assisted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to accomplish a major maintenance operation on the Lafayette Passage Paddle Trail. Specialized equipment is currently completing a project to shred decades of accumulated muck and floating islands of vegetation that clog much of Lower Lake Lafayette, create open areas to improve fish and wildlife habitat, and assure long-term navigability on the trail. In the short term, this work created floating debris and muddy patches that temporarily blocked the trail corridor, but as of December 14, most of the trail is navigable, and native grasses and many birds are abundant.
Share the trail for Duck Season – Duck hunting is a traditional activity on Lake Lafayette. Trail maintenance and improvement is partially funded through efforts to manage waterfowl habitat and hunting access. In Leon County, hunting is allowed on Wednesdays and weekends, sunrise to sunset, November through February. Hunters are usually present during early morning and late afternoon. During those times, paddlers can show proper courtesy by enjoying only those portions of the trail that are located on City of Tallahassee property, especially all of the 200 acre Piney Z Lake. Hunting is allowed on most of Lower Lake Lafayette. For more information, visit myfwc.com. To contact PRNA staff, call 891-3866 or 933-6631.
This trail is a 7.8 mile round trip from the boat ramp at Piney Z Lake, or a 6 mile round trip from the boat ramp at the end of “Road to The Lake” in Chaires. Be sure to plan your trip accordingly. Have plenty of water, snacks, proper clothing and know your ability. Paddling the entire trail from Piney Z Lake will take about 4 hours or more. Currently, there are no dry land rest areas provided along the trail.
Entering Lower Lake Lafayette from Piney Z Lake requires a portage over the earthen dam between the lakes. The portage includes a 25′ slope from the Piney Z take-out to the top of the dam, and a similar decline to the put-in area on Lower Lake Lafayette. The entire distance is roughly 50” over a grassed earth. A beach area, covered with small gravel, is located at each end of the portage to facilitate exiting and entering boats.
The “Road to the Lake” is an actual road that follows the railroad track in Chaires. Follow the road to the end, it will enter a wooded area, to a small dirt ramp and small parking area. Boats may be trailer launched. To enter the trail from Piney Z Lake, take Heritage Park Blvd., which goes through the Piney Z Plantation neighborhood, off of Conner Blvd. Heritage Park Blvd. will end at the Lafayette Heritage Trail Park parking area. A large dirt parking area is provided at the south end of the parking lot and signs show how to reach the hand boat launch located there. Boats must be carried 120′ to the launch.
For information please call the Tallahassee Parks and Recreation Department Trail Supervisor, Chuck Goodheart, at 933-6631.
St. Marks Natural Wildlife Refuge
This unique refuge was established in 1931 to provide wintering habitat for migratory birds. It is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It encompasses 68,000 acres spread out between Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties along the Gulf Coast of northwest Florida. The refuge includes coastal marshes, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries of seven north Florida rivers, and is home to a diverse community of plant and animal life. The refuge also has strong ties to a rich cultural past, and is home to the St. Marks Lighthouse, which was built in 1832 and is still in use today.
Throughout the year there is ample opportunity for bird watching, as well as spotting other wildlife. Click here for listing of which animals to look for each month. There are wonderful hiking trails and great fishing as well.
Enjoy your visit to the St. Marks Natural Wildlife Refuge.