Ochlockonee River State Park

  Welcome to Ochlockonee River State Park This jewel of a park is a great place to get away for a weekend or a weeklong vacation. Picnic facilities and a swimming area are located near the scenic point where the Ochlockonee and Dead rivers intersect. Ochlockonee, which means "yellow waters," is See more details

Wakulla River

The Wakulla River originates from Wakulla Springs, reported as the largest in Florida. The springs and first 3 miles of the Wakulla River are located in the State Park. The clear, cool waters of the Wakulla River flow from Wakulla Spring nine miles to the St. Marks and offer great kayaking, canoei See more details

Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory

  GULF SPECIMEN MARINE LABORATORY 222 CLARK DRIVE, PANACEA, FL  323406 PHONE: 850.984.5297   G.S.M.L. is a non-profit aquarium open to the public.  We offer a truly one of a kind experience because we feature not only sharks and sea turtles, but also the rarely seen invert See more details

St Marks Lighthouse

    Between 1828 and 1831, Congress appropriated $20,000 for building a lighthouse at St. Marks, Florida. The contract for the building was given to Winslow Lewis of Boston who built it for $11,765. Viewed from sea, it is easy to see why a lighthouse was needed here. With a low coast and many See more details

Wakulla Springs

The source of the Wakulla River is Wakulla Springs. Because of the karst topography, the eastern part of Wakulla is filled with freshwater springs, and circular groundwater fed ponds and sinkholes.  Early inhabitants dubbed the springs, "strange and mysterious waters," an accurate name because in See more details

St. Marks Trail

  Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail Florida's first designated state trail follows the abandoned railbed of the historic Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad. The trail runs almost due south from Tallahassee to the town of St. Marks, which is at the confluence of the St. Marks and See more details

Wildlife Watching

The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is home to a great diversity of creatures. As you browse through its miles of unspoiled natural habitat you can see animals and birds that aren't to be found anywhere else. As you are slowly driving the blacktop road that winds through the park, you are trea See more details

San Marcos de Apalache

      Welcome to San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park The many different flags welcoming visitors to the park demonstrate the colorful history of this site, from the first Spanish explorers to the present day. The history of this National Landmark began in 1528 when Panfilo de Narvaez See more details

Apalachicola National Forest

  The Apalachicola National Forest is comprised of 564,961 acres on gently rolling flat terrain, and is the largest National Forest in Florida. Located located southwest of Tallahassee, it was established in 1936 on land that was in poor condition due to bad timber and turpentine producing pract See more details

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

  Welcome to Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park Home of one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, this park plays host to an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, deer, and birds. Daily guided riverboat tours provide a closer view of wildlife, and glass See more details

St Marks Lighthouse


Between 1828 and 1831, Congress appropriated $20,000 for building a lighthouse at St. Marks, Florida. The contract for the building was given to Winslow Lewis of Boston who built it for $11,765. Viewed from sea, it is easy to see why a lighthouse was needed here. With a low coast and many trees, and many oyster banks and shoals, it was important that the entrance to the river be clearly marked. 

St. Marks Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in Florida with wooden stairs. The stairs are connected toLighthouse steps a large wooden pole (it looks almost like a ship's mast) that stands in the center of the tower. Close examination of the stairs and center post shows that the stairs are attached by nails. A rope handrail was provided for use on the outside of the tower. The windows in the tower are square. They are protected with stout wooden shutters. There is a small watchroom landing at the top of the wooden stairs. From the watchroom to the lantern room, a short flight of narrow metal stairs leads up to a small metal trap door. 

LighthouseThe actual builders were Benjamin Beal and Jairus Thayer. The superintendent of Lights for the District of Magnolia refused to accept the lighthouse as completed in March, 1830 and charged the builders with deliberate fraud against the United States Government. Arbitrators were appointed to examine the lighthouse, and the walls were found to be hollow instead of solid as called for in the contract. 

The tower was rebuilt by Calvin Knowlton. The reconstruction was completed January 29, 1831. Samuel Crosby was appointed the first keeper January 18, 1830, and entered duty in the middle of February, 1830. 

During the Seminole War the Samuel Crosby, the lighthouse keeper, requested a guard be established to protect the lighthouse from Indian attack. Stephen Pleasonton, General Superintendent of the Lighthouse Service, refused to approve of the guard or to comply with a request that a vessel be provided for the keeper in which he and his family might escape should the Indians attack. 

The St. Marks Lighthouse was constantly battered by storms and hurricanes. In 1842 it was removed to a more secure position and a new tower was built by Calvin Knowlton. As a result of damage done by a gale on September 17, 1843, a contract for a new keeper's dwelling was made with David Carey of Fall River, Massachusetts, and a contract for a sea wall was given to Francis A. Gibbons, of Baltimore, Maryland, in 1844. 

During the Civil War, the Confederates, in an attempt to blow up the lighthouse, seriously damaged the base of the tower. The work of re-establishing the light, which had been extinguished by the Confederates, was begun in September 1866, and the light was re-lighted on January 8, 1867. 

The 2,000 candlepower flashing light is visible for 15 miles, shining from the top of the white conical tower, 82 feet above the water, and Lighthouse View80 feet above the ground. It is located on the North side of Apalachee Bay, on the east side of the entrance to the St. Marks River.


Photographs courtesy of Neil Hurley/The Florida Lighthouse Page