When you think of “Vacation Destinations” in the United States, you have your usual suspects.  When it comes to traveling with our families, it’s easy to think of Disney, any place with a beach, New York, the mountains…you know.  What I’ve discovered by having friends all over the United States is there are some amazing little gems all across America.  They are off the beaten path and deserve our attention too!  That’s where this new travel series comes in!  I’ll be sharing cities that you should discover and explore with your family, that you wouldn’t naturally think of first.  Each is rich in history, lots of fun and will create some memorable experiences for your family!

If someone said “Florida vacation”, Tallahassee probably won’t be the first thing to cross your mind.  Florida’s capital isn’t on the beach or filled with amusement parks (I’m looking at you Orlando, Miami, the Keys and Destin).  But, if you haven’t spent some time exploring Tallahassee; you’re passing up on a city rich in heritage, culture, nature, shopping and sports- the culmination of an ULTIMATE family vacay.

My friend Tammy lives in Tally, so I had to get her take on some great tips when it comes to visiting her city.  Isn’t always great to know a native??

“The best time to come here is anytime between January and March, because it’s not too hot or too busy.  You’ll want to stay anywhere off of Appalachia Parkway, as its central to pretty much everything.  We live in such an amazing city, anyone who comes here is sure to love it”!

Tammy and I during a trip to Ohio. She's an incredible woman of God!

Tammy and I during a trip to Ohio. She’s an incredible woman of God!

If there’s anything I’ve found in raising three kids, it’s that everyone has their own personality and different things appeal to them.  I took some time to dig around to find what places in Tallahassee you should visit based on your interests, to help plan your trip!

For the History Buff:
Museum of Florida History: Here, you’ll find exhibits that explore when Ponce de Leon landed on Florida shores in 1513, to the Civil War and World War II.  You’ll discover the deep Naval ties Florida has with the exhibit of all the Navy ships that proudly boast the name “Florida”.  In addition to its permanent exhibits, there are also many traveling exhibits that make there way to the museum temporaily.

Goodwood Museum & Gardens:  Goodwood is more “plantation” than a true museum.  Established in the 1830’s, the estate used to be the centerpiece of over 2400 acres.  After the Civil War the emphasis waned from cotton and corn agriculture to an elegant private home.  Though renovated, the home and gardens still has its turn of the century style.  It’s largely run by volunteers, so I’d suggest calling to see if a docent guided tour is available during your trip.  It has such a fun history, you’ll want to make sure you get the full experience as a visitor to Tallahassee.

History Bonus: Tallahassee is truly overflowing with history! In addition to the two I’ve listed, you might want to explore the Florida Historic Capitol,  or the Mission San Luis.

For the Creative & Artsy One:
When you think about “Art”, your mind might go straight to galleries or theater.  Tallahassee has taken the appreciation of art to a new level and not confined it only to indoors.  While there are plenty of Art Galleries and performance art opportunities, Tally has an entire DIRECTORY of Public Art!  Not only can you see iconic, quirky and historical inspired pieces; you can keep your healthy lifestyle while enjoying public art from city, county and university collections like at the Downtown Art Walk.

For the Outdoorsy One:
As a Mom, one of the hardest parts of being on “vacation” with my family is that it’s not a TRUE vacation for Mom, right?  For this reason, I try to have lots of down time during our vacations, while ensuring the kids can still have fun.  That’s why I was thrilled to find this sweet little place in Tally, Cascades Park.  It also came highly recommended by Tammy, who has two girls.  FAMILY APPROVED!

There are trails, splash pads (Imagination Fountain), concerts, a play zone, and historical elements. The Imagination Fountain is a splash pad during the day, and a water light show at night! I also thought it was pretty interesting that the area was designed to flood as a storm water management system.

Imagination Station at night. Photo Credit: City of Tallahassee

Imagination Station at night. Photo Credit: City of Tallahassee Website

You can read the ideal “Magical Kids Day in Tallahassee”, (which includes Cascades Park) here.

Outdoorsy Bonus: Check out Wakulla Springs for a jungle cruise. Surprisingly the Tallahasse Museum is great to experience nature and wildlife.  It’s more nature-like than museum-like!

Tallahassee Museum is beautiful and full of nature for the outdoors lover.

Tallahassee Museum is beautiful and full of nature for the outdoors lover.

For the Foodie:
Because we used to live just a short distance from Tally, we didn’t spend much time exploring the dining scene.  Now that we aren’t a hop, skip and jump from Tally, this is a MAJOR regret of mine!  However, I loved this comprehensive Tallahassee foodie list from one of my favorite blogging families “Travel with Bender”.  Take a look at their suggestions!

So tell me!  Have you been to Tallahassee?  What did you love about the city?  If you’ve never been there before, be sure to add it to your list!


Make today an experience!


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