Originally part of Escambia and Jackson Counties, Leon County emerged as the seventh county in Florida State on December 29, 1824. Named after Ponce De Leon, it became one of the most populated and flourishing counties in antebellum Florida. From this region came the "old fields" of Tallahassee, named by the Apalachee Indians who inhabited the area. Tallahassee remains widely influenced by Native American culture as well as that of the Spanish, French and English who also once occupied the area.
The City of Tallahassee was incorporated in 1825 as the only incorporated city in Leon County and also elected as county seat. Tallahassee was also chosen as the capital of the new Florida Territory because of its position between the populated centers of St. Augustine and Pensacola. During its first 150 years, Tallahassee expanded from one-quarter of a mile in land size to 26.15 square miles at the beginning of 1979. An additional 75 square miles have since been added during the past 20 years, increasing its size to over 100 square miles.
Visitors of Tallahassee will be impressed with "The Other Florida," including its unique rolling wooded topography, climate and lifestyle. The city offers a mixture of Southern style inns, rustic campsites and family-owned lodges as well as five-star corporate hotels with over 5,000 rooms in more than 50 motels and hotels. Dining experiences within the city run the gamut, from homemade sausages to melt-in-your-mouth steaks to wild game and succulent seafood caught fresh from the Gulf.
Maclay Gardens State Park is a collection of beautiful ornamental gardens which were first planted in 1923 by Alfred B. and Louise Maclay after they had bought the property for their winter home. The gardens reflect a masterpiece of floral architecture featuring a charming brick walkway, a secret garden, a reflection pool, a walled garden, and hundreds of azaleas and camellias. Lake Hall is ideal for swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Picnicking opportunities are also available with pavilions and grills along the lake shore. Two short nature trails wind through the woods overlooking the lake. There is also five miles of multi-use trails that roam through the woods surrounding Lake Overstreet.
Home to one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is also host to a variety of wildlife including alligators, turtles, deer, and birds. Daily guided riverboat and glass bottom boat tours are offered to allow visitors a closer look of the wildlife. During the hot summer months, swimming is popular. The Park is also equipped with a nature trail that meanders through the wooded areas of the park. The Wakulla Springs Lodge is open year round and provides a full-service dining room which overlooks the spring. The Wakulla Springs State Park and Lodge is listed on the Natural Register of Historic Places and is a designated National Natural Landmark.
Tallahassee also boasts a menagerie of sights to see, including one of the world’s deepest freshwater springs, a wildlife habitat, Capitol buildings, fascinating museums of history, extensive plantations, highly acclaimed fishing and gaming adventures, numerous parks and breathtaking beaches. Colorful events are celebrated throughout the year from spring to wintertime with folk festivals, antique fairs, open air concerts and dances. Tallahassee is also the perfect place for artists and filmmakers to capture breathtaking sights and transform them into visual media. Whether you want to depict its southern plantations, landscapes, large open fields, cotton, corn and wheat fields, oak and pine forests, farms, antebellum towns, gardens, magnolias and dogwoods in bloom, high-tech industry, stadiums or universities, the possibilities are nearly limitless.
Outdoor lovers will have a plethora of activities to keep them busy, from exploring the beach on the coast, springs and caverns, boating, fishing, camping, horseback riding, to beaches and bird watching. There is something for everyone in Tallahassee!
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