You don’t need to buy a plane ticket to escape the everyday. If you’re itching for a getaway and find yourself within driving distance of scenic Wakulla County, here is your guide to a one-tank trip that will allow you to hit some must-see spots and classic favorites in Old Florida.
Return to a historic seaside at the St. Marks Lighthouse
The St. Marks Lighthouse has been guiding watercrafts through the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico and towards the mouth of the St. Marks River for nearly 200 years, and while the lighthouse’s beam has been dormant for several years, the St. Marks Lighthouse remains a crucial part of the region’s history. The current lighthouse was built in 1842, and it is actually the second structure to guide vessels through the area. It replaced the first version constructed in 1831 that was threatened by erosion.
Over the centuries, it has weathered powerful hurricanes and survived multiple wars, including the Civil War where the Confederacy attempted to blow up the lighthouse to stop a Union landing party from moving inland. Numerous improvements have been made in the ensuing years. The St. Marks Lighthouse stands as a beacon for ships and visitors alike.
Immerse yourself in the natural wonderland of Wakulla Springs State Park
As residents of Wakulla County, we know that Wakulla Springs State Park is one of the true hidden gems of the south, and we want you to discover it as well. The centerpiece of the park is the gorgeous springs themselves, whose blue, 70-degree waters beckon swimmers even on the hottest summer days. Wakulla Springs is also renowned for being the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the entire world.
One of the most popular activities at the park is taking a riverboat tour, where you can cruise the springs for signs of wildlife. The springs are also a great place for snorkeling or scuba diving, and there are hiking and wildlife photography opportunities for visitors who prefer to stay on dry land. Don’t forget to check out the Lodge at Wakulla Springs, which is a full-service hotel and restaurant that has welcomed guests since the 1930s.
Explore the wonder of the deep sea at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab
Where can you visit a working marine laboratory that doubles as an interactive nature center for guests? Wakulla County, of course! The Gulf Specimen Marine Lab (GSML) in Panacea is crucial in furthering marine biology research in the area, but visitors also have a chance to view and even handle some real aquatic wildlife. The Gulf of Mexico and various freshwater bodies of the area are vital to Wakulla County’s ecosystems, so the GSML aims to teach guests about the diversity of marine life through a state-of-the-art aquarium and hands-on displays.
Top off your gasoline tank and discover even more of Wakulla County
You can see some of the highlights of Wakulla County on a single tank of gas, but if you have time to stay longer you’ll find there’s so much more to explore in our natural paradise, including dining on fresh local seafood and attending one of our community events. Check out our accommodation options, and start planning your getaway today.