Florida panhandle has a variety to offer you from beaches to gardens, antiques, sinkholes, canopy roads and blue springs. We planned a 7-day backroads trip from Largo. Our first stop was Tallahassee itself using route 580. It took approximately 5 hours. However, this route has beautiful sceneries to offer instead of I-75. We stopped at Cedar Key for 2 hours on our way. Cedar Key is a little historic town, suitable for a getaway.
We stayed overnight at a little cottage in Goat House Farm near Lake Talquin in Tallahassee.
Lake Talquin State Park
On the other side of the cottage exists Lake Talquin State Park. If you are looking for a place to sit down, gaze at the lake and meditate, you should choose this state park. The park had only a few visitors. It’s the right place for fishing, walking trails and launching your private rentals
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs
Only 35 minutes away is Wakulla Springs. It is the world’s largest and deepest freshwater spring. A lot of children played in the less deep area of the spring. The spring provides cruise services to the visitors who are willing to enjoy the boat tours.
Wakulla springs also have trails for the hiking in the woods. The forest has self-guided trails as well. If you are looking to stay closer to the springs, Wakulla offers lodge on its own premises. The beautiful Spanish style building has a cafeteria and gift shop in the same building.
The Forgotten Coast– Apalachicola, Saint George Island
Apalachicola– You did not really travel panhandle if you missed the forgotten Coast. Apalachicola, the oyster capital of the world, has sweetest oysters to offer you. The maritime culture of this town provides fresh seafood and several areas for fishing. This little town does not have plenty of parking spaces. While you walk the city, definitely visit the visitors centre. If you can, find the place for Tupelo honey. Spend time tasting chocolates in the chocolate factory and stroll the town’s various souvenir stores.
Saint George Island-Only 7min drive from Apalachicola is a connecting place called Eastpoint. Do not miss to visit Saint George Island, which is only 15minutes drive. Visit historic Saint George Lighthouse. Stop at the museum in the lighthouse before you start climbing the stairs of the lighthouse. Once you reach the top, enjoy the view of the beautiful Apalachicola Bay. Saint George Island has beautiful beaches to offer you.
The beach can be a bit crowded. However, if you want quiet private beach time of your own, visit Saint George Island State Park which is about 15 mins drive from the lighthouse. On your way to the state park, enjoy watching the colourful buildings of the island.
Saint Marks Wildlife Refuge
About 45 minutes south from Wakulla Springs exists a hidden treasure of Florida Panhandle. Saint Marks Wildlife Refuge connects with the beautiful Apalachee Bay.The exotic marshlands of the refuge on a sunny day is a piece of art by nature to enjoy.
If you plan to fish, the sanctuary offers varieties of spots to allow your fisherman spirit to come alive. The southernmost point of the refuge consists of historic Saint Marks Lighthouse that you should not miss out. It is the second oldest light station in Florida.
Torreya State Park, Florida Caverns State Park, Falling Waters State Park
North to Tallahassee lies beautiful state parks. If you are looking to experience the Florida mountains view, falling waters, lakes and hike, state parks won’t go wrong. Located in Bristol, Torreya State Park is a natural landmark and historic cite. The state park named after Florida nutmeg tree (Torreya), the tree only found in California, Florida and Japan, stands next to the Apalachicola River. The park is famous for Gregory house (plantation house). The state park offers plenty of beautiful area for hiking. We hiked down to the Apalachicola river from the Gregory house.
Falling waters state park offers you a beautiful 70-foot tall waterfall. The rainy season is the best time to visit the park. The surface water flows to the stream and cascades before disappearing into a cave when the water level is high. The turtle lake is a good icing on the cake in the park. There are several picnic tables available near the lake.
Stroll at the Panama city beach market before you get ready to enjoy the sands of the beach itself. Enjoy the shops before the pier park entrance. The Panama city beach pier park charges you a small fee to let you enter the large fishing pier. As you return, enjoy coffee, soft and hard drinks in the beautiful cottage shops near the beach.