Learn through history by visiting interesting historic sites around the state of Florida. Historic sites let you put a real face on the history that you've read about, making it more exciting for you and your children.
Historic Sites in Florida
St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine
The Saint Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine is a living memorial to the first Greek settlers on the American continent and to all the Greek Orthodox pioneers whose love of freedom and desire for a better life for themselves and their children brought them to this New World.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973, Florida's southernmost state park is popular for recreation, as well as U.S. military history. The fort was one of a series built in the mid-1800s to defend the nation's southeastern coastline. Completed in 1866, Fort Zachary Taylor played important roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. A beautiful beach at the southern end of the park provides opportunities for picnicking, swimming, snorkeling, and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy a short nature trail and bicycling within the park.
Dade Battlefield Historic State Park
The battle that started the Second Seminole War is commemorated in January each year under the oaks of Dade Battlefield. On December 28, 1835, Seminole Indian warriors ambushed 108 soldiers at this site-only three soldiers survived. The park protects not only a historic battlefield, but also the natural communities as they existed when the soldiers and Seminoles battled over 180 years ago. Strolling a half-mile nature trail through pine flatwoods, visitors might see gopher tortoises, woodpeckers, songbirds, hawks, and indigo snakes. The park has a playground, picnic area with covered shelters, and a recreation hall. The visitor center has information and displays about the battle and visitors can watch a twelve-minute video history, This Land, These Men.
Fort Mose Historical State Park
The power politics of 18th century England and Spain reached across the Atlantic to the Florida frontier. In 1738, the Spanish governor of Florida chartered Fort Mose as a settlement for freed Africans who had fled slavery in the British Carolinas. When Spain ceded Florida to Britain in 1763, the inhabitants of Fort Mose migrated to Cuba. Although nothing remains of the fort, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 for its importance in American history. Visitors may view the site from a boardwalk and stop for a picnic in a covered pavilion.
Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse
Visited by over 120,000 people each year, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, making it one of only 10 lighthouses with this designation. The lighthouse tower and museum are located 12 miles south of Daytona Beach and are open to the public year round. The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and one of the tallest lighthouses in the nation. Visitors who climb the 175-foot-tall lighthouse tower are treated to a magnificent view of the Florida coastline and Halifax River from Daytona Beach to New Smyrna Beach.
Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida
The mission of the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida is to collect and preserve material culture pertaining to the region's history; to interpret its economic and social history, including the relationship between the region's human population and its natural resources, through research, exhibits, and educational programs; and to provide public access to its collections for research purposes. The Heritage Museum is located on the original main street of Valparaiso, Florida. The oldest part of the building was the second home of Valparaiso State (now Vanguard) Bank. In 1964, the building became the first home of Okaloosa-Walton (Junior) College.
The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum is one of St. Augustine's most authentic historic properties. The museum complex is located on Aviles Street, America's first platted thoroughfare, in the center of the city's oldest community, the Old Town area south of the Plaza. The property includes a ca. 1798 coquina stone house, the region's only detached kitchen building, a reconstructed ca. 1802 wash House and a new Visitor Center with state-of-the-art interactive exhibits and a museum store.
Madira Bickel Mound State Archeological Site
This ancient Native American site was the first in Florida to be designated a State Archaeological Site. Karl and Madira Bickel donated the mound and surrounding property to the state in 1948. The flat-topped ceremonial mound-composed of sand, shell, and village debris-measures 100 by 170 feet at the base and is 20 feet in height. Archaeological excavations have disclosed at least three periods of Native American cultures, the earliest dating back 2,000 years.
Camp Gordon Johnston Museum
Located in Carrabelle, Florida, the museum's role is to preserve the heritage of the men who trained at the this camp during WW II. Carrabelle was the focal point of social life around the camp when it was open during WW II, and today continues its role as the preserver of the amphibious soldier's heritage. Camp Gordon Johnston opened in 1942 for the sole purpose of training amphibious soldiers and their support groups, this camp trained a quarter of a million men, closing in June of 1946.
Mission San Luis
A visit to Mission San Luis transports you back in time. Your destination is a community where Apalachee Indians and newcomers from Spain live in close proximity drawn together by religion as well as military and economic purpose. Modern day visitors to Mission San Luis discover a re-created community where time stands still. There they meet the people of San Luis going about the tasks that sustained life centuries ago. They walk the plaza where the Apalachees played their traditional ball games. They visit the most important structure in the Apalachee village, the council house, and also stop at the home of the Spanish Deputy Governor. Visitors are welcomed at the church built under the supervision of Franciscans, and at the friary where they lived. Mission San Luis is a very special place where history comes to life.
The Peña-Peck House was constructed around 1750 by order of the King of Spain to be the residence of his royal Treasurer, Juan Esteban de Peña. The Peña-Peck House sits on St. George Street at the heart of the historic district. Built of native coquina stone, it is the finest surviving First Spanish Period home in the city. Today the loggias and the first floor remain little changed. Today, Exchange volunteer guides conduct visitors throughout the house filled with Peck furnishings including priceless 18th century American antiques. Visitors are encouraged to explore 254 years of history. Tour the graceful frame and coquina house, a block north of the city's Plaza de la Constitucion, and step into history. Hear stories of its Spanish and British occupants as well as a succession of local families who lived in the house until 1837 when Dr. Seth Peck bought the property.
Historical Museum of Southern Florida
HistoryMiami Museum gathers, interprets, and presents the history of Miami and the greater South Florida region as a cultural crossroads of the Americas. Through exhibitions, collections, and publications, the museum offers the community, its residents and visitors meaningful ways to connect to the rich past and ever-evolving future of the region and its diverse inhabitants. Their education programs are designed to provide age and grade-level appropriate experiences. Students compare and contrast the past and present and are encouraged to visualize and discuss what the future may be like based on patterns of the past. They also offer their Historic Site Visits Program, with tours of the museum, the Cape Florida Lighthouse, Lummus Park, Matheson Hammock Park, Miami Circle, Miami City Cemetery, Miami-Dade Count Courthouse, and Virginia Key Beach.
Amelia Island Museum of History
Discover the rich history and culture of Amelia Island, a tiny paradise with a big place in Florida’s history books. Housed in the historic Nassau County jail, the Amelia Island Museum of History showcases the island’s 4,000 years of Florida history. Although just 2 miles wide by 12 miles long, the island’s location attracted settlers, as well as the eight flags of occupation. The Museum offers modern exhibits, educational lectures, historic walking tours, ghost tours, and Elderhostel programs. As the first spoken history museum in the state of Florida, they continue their story-telling tradition through twice daily docent-led tours.
Air Force Armament Museum
Experience the aviation warfare armament from the early days of World War I right through to today's high tech planes and bombs. Inside, you'll find an extensive collection of weaponry and interactive displays that will amaze and intrigue. Outside displays include vintage military aircraft including the fastest plane ever built, the SR-71 Blackbird. Admission is free and all are welcome. Located at Eglin Air Force Base in northwest Florida.
Florida Capitol Building
Florida's new Capitol building has a rich ancestry, which began in 1824 with the establishment of Tallahassee as the new capitol city. As Florida's population has continued to grow, so has its need for government services. The New Capitol symbolizes the growth and development of Florida. The Capitol Complex, located in downtown Tallahassee, provides a dignified and serviceable headquarters for state government. The Capitol is the twenty-two story building. It is home to Florida's Executive and Legislative branches. Others building at the Capitol Complex include the two four story office buildings for the House of Representatives and Senate as well as the Historic Capitol and Knott Building. The Capitol is located in downtown Tallahassee at the intersection of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe Street. The Capitol is open to the public Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays.
Alachua County Historic Trust: Matheson Museum
The Alachua County Historic Trust: Matheson Museum, Inc. is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of Alachua County, Florida. The Museum complex includes 4 sites: the Matheson Museum, housing the exhibit hall and research library, the Matheson House, the Tison Tool Museum, and Sweetwater Park. The museum complex is located in Gainesville, Florida.
Ybor City Museum State Park
Don Vicente Martinez Ybor came to the frontier near Tampa and built a city that became the "Cigar Capital of the World." From the opening of the first cigar factory in 1886 until the 1930s, Ybor City flourished. This urban park is dedicated to the preservation of Ybor City's unique cultural heritage. The museum, housed in the historic Ferlita Bakery, traces the rich cultural history of Ybor City and the cigar making industry. The museum has self-guided exhibits, with written and audio information, and a video presentation. La Casita, a restored cigar worker's house, is open for viewing and guided tours are available.
Gamble Plantation Historic State Park
This antebellum mansion was home to Major Robert Gamble and headquarters of an extensive sugar plantation. It is the only surviving plantation house in South Florida. It is believed that Confederate Secretary of State, Judah P. Benjamin, took refuge here after the fall of the Confederacy, until his safe passage to England could be secured. In 1925, the house and 16 acres were saved by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and donated to the state. Today, the mansion is furnished in the style of a successful mid-19th century plantation. Guided tours of the house are given six times a day, Thursday through Monday and there are picnic tables on the grounds.
Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park
In 1836, the Second Seminole War swept away the prosperous Bulow Plantation where the Bulow family grew sugar cane, cotton, rice, and indigo. Ruins of the former plantation-a sugar mill, a unique spring house, several wells, and the crumbling foundations of the plantation house and slave cabins-show how volatile the Florida frontier was in the early 19th century. Today, a scenic walking trail leads visitors to the sugar mill ruins, listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. The park has picnic facilities and an interpretive center that tells the plantation's history. A boat ramp provides access for canoes and small powerboats to scenic Bulow Creek, a designated state canoe trail. Anglers can fish from the dock or a boat.
DeLand House Museum/Memorial Hospital Museum at Bill Dreggors Park
The DeLand House Museum was built in 1886 for DeLand's first attorney, Arthur George Hamlin, who also developed the Hamlin Orange. Originally a one-and-a-half story structure, the house was built upon land purchased from Henry A. DeLand, the founding father of the City. At the time, the site extended all the way to Woodland Boulevard and had an orange grove from the house to the street. Currently a museum housing eight galleries and exhibits, The DeLand Memorial Hospital was originally built to serve the growing needs of a population expanded by the land boom era. In 1920, its cornerstone was placed, and in 1922 the completed building was dedicated to the service men of World War I.
Avon Park Depot Museum
The museum serves as an ever-growing, multifaceted resource for the community. It was built as a railroad station in 1926 by the Seaboard Railroad, which brought hundreds of people to the area in the late 1920s, many of whom would later settle here. Today, the Depot’s main function is to serve as a historical museum for Avon Park and the surrounding area. It features a number of ever-growing exhibits telling the stories of Avon Park. The museum also features a research room, complete with a microfilm reader/printer for viewings yesterday’s Avon Park newspapers. And, of course, visitors will find a museum gift shop. A former railroad dining car, built in 1948 and purchased by the Historical Society of Avon Park in 1986, sits adjacent to the museum.
Fort Foster State Historic Site
Fort Foster State Historic Site is part of Hillsborough River State Park, though located on the East Side of US 301 from the park. Fort Foster is a reconstructed fort from the Second Seminole War. Tours of the fort are offered (weather permitting) on weekends and an annual Fort Foster Rendezvous with skirmishes is held in February. The interpretive center contains exhibits about the fort, the Seminoles, and the Second Seminole War.
Fort Cooper State Park
The sparkling waters of Lake Holathlikaha were a welcome sight to sick and wounded soldiers during the Second Seminole War. In 1836, the First Georgia Battalion of Volunteers built a stockade for the soldiers resting here, enabling the Volunteers to hold their own through several skirmishes with the Seminole Indians. The park´s diverse natural areas provide a refuge for many plants and animals, including threatened and endangered species. Fishing in Lake Holathlikaha is a popular activity; swimming is available only when the lake level is high enough.
The Barnacle Historic State Park
This beautiful house with a whimsical name dates to a quieter time. The Barnacle, built in 1891, offers a glimpse of Old Florida during The Era of the Bay. Situated on the shore of Biscayne Bay, this was the home of Ralph Middleton Munroe, one of Coconut Grove´s most charming and influential pioneers. Munroe's principal passion was designing yachts. In his lifetime, he drew plans for 56 different boats. As a seaman, civic activist, naturalist, and photographer, Commodore Munroe was a man who cherished the natural world around him. A walk into the park passes through a tropical hardwood hammock. In the 1920s, it was representative of the original landscape within the city of Miami. Today, it is one of the last remnants of the once vast Miami Hammock. Enjoy sitting in the rocking chairs on the spacious porch used as a gathering place or on a bench under a tree for solitude.
Cedar Key Museum State Park
Picturesque Cedar Key, on Florida's Gulf Coast, was a thriving port city and railroad connection during the 19th century. The museum contains exhibits that depict its colorful history during that era. Part of the collection has sea shells and Indian artifacts collected by Saint Clair Whitman, the founder of the first museum in Cedar Key. Whitman's house is located at the park and has been restored to reflect life in the 1920s. A short nature trail gives visitors the opportunity to see wildlife and birds, as well as native vegetation. Small gray squirrels, doves, mockingbirds, blue jays, woodpeckers, and green tree frogs can be seen on the museum grounds and along the walking trail.
Constitution Convention Museum State Park
A boomtown founded in 1835, St. Joseph competed with Apalachicola as a trading port on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The original settlement lasted only nine years, but during its short life the city hosted Florida's first State Constitution Convention. The museum commemorates the work of the 56 territorial delegates who drafted Florida's first constitution in 1838. Following four more constitution conventions, Florida was finally admitted to the Union in 1845 as the 27th state. Visitors can take a self-guided tour through displays and exhibits of 19th century life in St. Joseph. Life-size, audio-animated mannequins in the replicated convention hall demonstrate the debate and process of drafting a state constitution.
Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park
This site was once part of a thriving sugar plantation owned by David Levy Yulee. Yulee was a member of the Territorial Legislative Council, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate after Florida statehood. The park contains the remnants of the once-thriving 5,100-acre sugar plantation: a forty-foot limestone masonry chimney, iron gears, and a cane press. The steam-driven mill operated from 1851 to 1864 and served as a supplier of sugar products for southern troops during the Civil War.
John G. Riley Center/Museum of African American History and Culture
The Riley House is a little known historical and cultural gem that sits at the bottom of a hill in downtown Tallahassee, at the corner of Meridian and Jefferson Streets. In 1978, through the efforts of local preservationists, the Riley House became the second house in Florida owned by a black person to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the first being the Mary McLeod Bethune house in Volusia County. In 1995, a group of Tallahassee citizens established a museum at the Riley House dedicated to African-American history and culture. This facility draws more visitors and tourist into the area while providing a historically diverse attraction.
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
This park commemorates the site of Florida's largest Civil War battle, which took place February 20, 1864. More than 10,000 cavalry, infantry, and artillery troops fought a five-hour battle in a pine forest near Olustee. Three U.S. Colored Troops took part in the battle, including the now famous 54th Massachusetts. The battle ended with 2,807 casualties and the retreat of Union troops to Jacksonville until the war's end just 14 months later. In 1912, when many living Civil War veterans still attended reunions, the battlefield became the state's first historic site. Olustee Battlefield has a visitor center with historical information and artifacts. A reenactment is held every February and a Civil War Expo takes place in late summer. Scenes for Civil War movies, including the 1989 movie Glory, have been filmed during the reenactments.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park
Visitors to this Florida homestead can walk back in time to 1930s farm life. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings lived and worked in the tiny community of Cross Creek. Her cracker style home and farm, where she lived for 25 years and wrote her Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Yearling, has been restored and is preserved as it was when she lived here.
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is dedicated to discovering, preserving, presenting and keeping alive the story of nation's oldest port by offering educational opportunities, local and national preservation efforts, maritime archaeological research, and by safeguarding the memories and precious belongings of those who came before us.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Almost 70 miles (112.9 km) west of Key West lies a cluster of seven islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, called the Dry Tortugas. Along with the surrounding shoals and waters, they make up Dry Tortugas National Park. The area is known for its famous bird and marine life, and its legends of pirates and sunken gold. Fort Jefferson, one of the largest coastal forts ever built, is a central feature.
Micanopy Historical Society Museum
The Micanopy Historical Society Museum exists for the purpose of collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of Micanopy and its surrounding area. Artifacts representing life at the Micanopy site from pre-historic times to the present are retained for research, education and exhibition in the Society's Museum.
Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve
The 46,000 acre Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve was established to protect one of the last unspoiled coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast, and to preserve historic and prehistoric sites within the area. The estuarine ecosystem includes salt marsh, coastal dunes, and hardwood hammocks, all rich in native vegetation and animal life. Archaeological evidence indicates 6,000 years of human habitation in the area. The arrival of Europeans over 400 years ago resulted in exploration, colonization, agriculture, and commerce under the flags of France, Spain, Great Britain, the Confederacy, and the United States. The Preserve features the Fort Caroline National Memorial, Kingsley Plantation, and the Theodore Roosevelt Area.
DeBary Hall Historic Site
DeBary Hall was the winter retreat of a European-born wine merchant who chose the St. Johns River country for his hunting estate. Beginning in the 1870s, New Yorker Frederick deBary acquired lands near Lake Monroe, built a large vacation house, and tried his hand at orange growing and commercial steamboating. But above all, this Florida estate became a center of sport hunting and hospitality. When deBary’s last American heir died in 1941, the retreat had grown to more than 6,000 acres with many outbuildings. Today’s historic site is a little smaller—ten acres. But it still includes the 8,000-square-foot main house, stables and other structures, plus artifacts from a kind of working farm.
Black Archives at the Union Bank
Completed in 1841 when Florida was still a territory, the Union Bank is the state's oldest surviving bank building. Chartered to help finance local cotton plantations, it ultimately closed because of crop failures, the Second Seminole War, and poor management. After the Civil War, it reopened as the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company for emancipated slaves and later served several other functions. In 1971, the Bank was moved from its original site, and, after restoration, it was opened as a museum in 1984. The Union Bank now serves as an extension of the Florida A&M University Black Archives, Research Center and Museum and is open to the public and school groups only on weekdays. Artifacts and documents reflecting black history and culture are on display, and public programs are provided by Black Archives staff. The museum is located in Tallahassee, Florida.
Egmont Key State Park
Although this park is primarily a wildlife refuge, it can be a personal refuge - a place to relax and collect shells along secluded, pristine beaches. Accessible only by private boat, Egmont Key has a unique natural and cultural history, including a lighthouse that has stood since 1858. During the 19th century, the island served as a camp for captured Seminoles at the end of the Third Seminole War and was later occupied by the Union Navy during the Civil War. In 1898, as the Spanish - American War threatened, Fort Dade was built on the island and remained active until 1923. After touring the historic sites and trails, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, wildlife viewing, and picnicking.
Halifax Historical Museum
Since 1986 the Halifax Historical Museum has been housed in the former Merchant's Bank Building located in the heart of the downtown historical district of Daytona Beach. The focus of the museum is to present the history of the greater Daytona Beach area with artifacts dating from 5,000 B.C. including the local Native Americans, the Spanish and British colonial eras, early pioneer families, beach auto racing, World War II and vintage toys. The Museum offers a research facility with old city directories, documents and maps as well as an extensive photographic and postcard collection.
Historic Pensacola Village and T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum
Historic Pensacola Village consists of twenty properties in the Pensacola National Register Historic District. Ten of these properties are interpreted facilities that are open to the public. The T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum, originally the 1908 City Hall building, is a virtual treasure trove of historic artifacts, Americana, and West Florida history. The T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum houses two floors of permanent and traveling exhibits and our children's hands-on exhibit, the Discovery Gallery, located on the third floor. Plan an exciting trip to historic downtown Pensacola today.
Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum
In the heart of historic downtown Fort Walton Beach, sits a one-room school, reminiscent of days gone by. This building was the first schoolhouse constructed for the children of Camp Walton, later to be known as Fort Walton Beach. Local citizens built the school of native pine and oak in 1911. When the school opened in 1912, there were 15 students and 1 teacher. Eight grades were taught in this school. Miss Minnie Tippins from Andalusia, Alabama, was the first teacher. The preservation and restoration of the building was undertaken by the Junior Service League and the Okaloosa County School Board in 1971 and opened as an educational museum in 1976. In 1986, the Junior League turned over the ownership and operations to the City of Fort Walton Beach. This schoolhouse is truly a place where memories can be captured and new ones made. This school is still teaching!
Knott House Museum
Built in 1843, probably by free black builder George Proctor, the Knott House was first occupied by attorney Thomas Hagner and his wife Catherine Gamble. The house served as temporary Union Headquarters in 1865, where Brigadier General Edward McCook announced the Emancipation Proclamation. Physician Dr. George Betton made the location his home and office in the 1880s. Betton assisted in the early medical training of his carriage driver, William Gunn, who became Florida’s first African - American physician. In the early 20th century, three Florida Supreme Court judges lived in the house, acquired by William and Luella Knott in 1928. As the wife of a state treasurer, Luella hosted notable social functions, and as a poet, she wrote verses about the home and its furnishings, causing the site to be known as "The House That Rhymes." With the death of the Knott's son in 1985, the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board became the beneficiary, and after extensive renovations, the Knott House Museum opened to the public in 1992. Its administration was transferred to the Museum of Florida History in 1997.
Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park
Located near the mouth of the St. Johns River, this site was an important military position during the Civil War, allowing access to the inland areas of Florida's east coast. There was never an actual fort on Yellow Bluff, but an encampment that was fortified and equipped with large guns for protection. Constructed in 1862, the site was occupied by both Confederate and Union troops during the Civil War and-at its peak-housed over 250 soldiers. The site has a T-shaped earthworks and covers about 1.3 acres.
San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park
This underwater archaeological preserve features a submerged shipwreck that is available for diving and snorkeling. Part of a Spanish flotilla, the San Pedro was a 287-ton, Dutch-built ship which sank in a hurricane on July 13, 1733. Her remains were discovered in 1960 in Hawk Channel near Indian Key. After major salvage efforts in the 1960s, all that remains of San Pedro is a large pile of ballast stones covering an area 90 feet long and 30 feet wide. The underwater site has been enhanced with seven replica cannons, an anchor, and an information plaque. Visitors can also appreciate the marine life that occupies the site.
Forest Capital Museum State Park
The importance of forestry in Florida dates back to the early 1800s. The museum celebrates the heritage of Florida's forest industry. The heart of the museum is dedicated to longleaf pines and the 5,000 products manufactured from them. The 50-plus-year-old longleaf pines growing on the museum grounds provide a majestic canopy and create an enjoyable walking trail for visitors. Adjacent to the museum is an authentic 19th century Cracker homestead, much like those scattered throughout Florida at the turn of the century. Rangers lead interpretive tours during special events and upon request.
Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park
The Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park is owned and operated by the Florida Department of Military Affairs (Florida National Guard). It is a public facility dedicated to individuals and units of the US Army in memory of their World War II service. The museum collects, preserves, exhibits, displays and accounts for all objects and artifacts related to the history, heritage and traditions of Camp Blanding the Florida National Guard, individuals and units that trained at Camp Blanding and their global campaigns.
Oldest House Museum
A must-see on your tour of the nation's oldest city. The museum complex, owned and operated by the St. Augustine Historical Society, includes Florida's Oldest House, two museums, a changing exhibition gallery, an ornamental garden, and a museum store. Here you'll find the Oldest House, the Manucy Museum, Tovar House, the Page L. Edwards Gallery, and the Oldest House Garden.
Dudley Farm Historic State Park
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this park demonstrates the evolution of Florida farming from the 1850s to the mid-1940s-through three generations of the Dudley family. An authentic working farm, the homestead consists of eighteen buildings, including the family farmhouse with original furnishings, an 1880s kitchen outbuilding, a general store and post office, and a functional cane syrup complex. Park staff in period clothing perform daily chores, raising crops, and tending to livestock. The farm features seasonal cane grindings, corn shuckings, and heritage varieties of livestock and plants. Deer, wild turkeys, gopher tortoises, and bluebirds are still seen in the fields. The park has a visitor center, picnic area, and nature trail.
Suwannee River State Park
About a quarter mile past the ranger station, a high bluff overlooks the spot where the Withlacoochee River joins the Suwannee River on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. Vestiges of history in the park show how important the Suwannee River was to Florida history. Along the river are long mounds of earthworks built during the Civil War to guard against incursions by Union Navy gunboats. Other remnants from the past include one of the state´s oldest cemeteries, and a paddle-wheel shaft from a 19th century steamboat. Five trails, ranging from a quarter mile to 18 miles, loop through surrounding woodlands and provide panoramic views of the rivers.
Oldest Wooden School House in the United States
Located near the City Gates, The Old School House is a surviving expression of another time. Built over 200 years ago, while Florida was under the rule of Imperial Spain, it was constructed of red cedar and cypress and put together with wooden pegs and handmade nails.
Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park
Natural Bridge is the site of the second largest Civil War battle in Florida and where the St. Marks River drops into a sinkhole and flows underground for one-quarter of a mile before reemerging. During the final weeks of the Civil War, a Union flotilla landed at Apalachee Bay, planning to capture Fort Ward (San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park) and march north to the state capital. With a timely warning, volunteers from the Tallahassee area-Confederate soldiers, old men, and young boys-met the Union forces at Natural Bridge and successfully repelled three major attacks. The Union troops were forced to retreat to the coast and Tallahassee was the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi not captured by the Union. A reenactment of the battle is held at the park every March.
Built in 1838 by Thomas Orman, this antebellum home overlooks the Apalachicola River, and was used for both business and social gatherings. Orman was a cotton merchant and businessman in Apalachicola from 1840 to the 1870s. He helped the tiny town become one of the Gulf Coast's most important cotton exporting ports during the mid-19th century. The house features details of both federal and Greek revival styles with wooden mantelpieces, molded plaster cornices, and wide heart-pine floorboards.
Mandarin Museum and Historical Society
Mandarin Museum & Historical Society shares the stories of Mandarin’s history, culture and natural resources by providing engaging programs that educate, entertain and inspire. In the 1800s, Mandarin was a small farming village that shipped oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other fruits and vegetables to Jacksonville and points north on the steamships that traveled the St. Johns River. In 1864, the Union steamship, the Maple Leaf, hit a Confederate mine and sank just off Mandarin Point. Author Harriet Beecher Stowe wintered in the village from 1867 to 1884. Mandarin now is a small section of the City of Jacksonville, Florida, but its natural beauty, parks and historic buildings draw visitors from around the world. School tours are available.
Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
This park is the original site of the nation's oldest city. Located in the area first explored by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 and settled by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565, historic St. Augustine is the oldest successful European settlement in the United States. Colonial America started right here, 55 years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, and 42 years before Jamestown. With a long, rich history spanning nearly 500 years, the Fountain of Youth Park will delight and amaze you. Whether you visit for an hour or take all day, the 15 waterfront acres will provide you with hours of enjoyment.
Florida Historic Capitol Museum
The Florida Historic Capitol Museum serves to illuminate the past, present, and future connection between the people of Florida and their political institutions through programs of civic education, historic interpretation, and preservation. The restoration of The Old Capitol (1978—1982) was conducted under the supervision of the Department of General Services in conjunction with the Department of State. This intensive project of historical and archaeological investigation makes Florida’s former capitol one of the most thoroughly documented restoration projects in the nation. The Florida Legislative Research Center is located on the ground floor of the Historic Capitol. Its mission is to collect, preserve and make available for research significant materials connected with Florida's legislative history. It has a substantial collection of oral histories and is at present organizing an archive of important papers, photographs and related materials.
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Throughout its history, the story of Fort Matanzas has been closely intertwined with that of the city of St. Augustine and the Castillo de San Marcos. This Spanish outpost fort was built in 1740-1742 to guard the Matanzas Inlet and to warn St. Augustine of British or other enemies approaching from the south. Fort Matanzas now serves as a reminder of the early Spanish empire in the New World. In addition, the park, which is located on barrier islands along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas estuary, provides a natural habitat rich in wildlife with the salt marsh, scrub, and maritime hammock now protecting endangered and threatened species like the historic Fort Matanzas protected St. Augustine long ago.
Pensacola Historical Museum
The Museum has been a part of downtown Pensacola for over thirty years. In that time, the Museum has moved from Old Christ Church to the Arbona Building. Many visitors who remember coming into the Museum in Old Christ Church bring their younger generations to the new Museum in the Arbona Building. The Museum houses two floors of exhibit space. The first floor is dedicated to our changing exhibits. The second floor of the Museum houses our permanent galleries, including Army/Navy Gallery, Maritime Gallery, Multicultural Gallery, Native American Gallery, and Forts/Civil War Gallery. The Museum also has a Museum Store full of those hard to find local publications.
Blue Spring State Park
Join the fun, its summer at Blue Spring State Park, hot days, cool refreshing spring water, and a great opportunity for kids and parents to cool off in the spring. Bring your swim gear, pack a picnic lunch, and bring the whole family for a picnic and family fun in the Florida sun! The largest spring on the St. Johns River, Blue Spring is a designated Manatee Refuge and the winter home (mid-November through March) to a growing population of West Indian Manatees. For centuries, the spring area was home for Native Americans. In 1766 it was visited by Colonial American botanist John Bartram, but it wasn´t until 1856 that it was settled by Louis Thursby and his family. The Thursby house, built in 1872, remains standing.
Indian Key Historic State Park
In 1836, Indian Key became the first county seat for Dade County. At that time, this tiny island was the site of a lucrative business-salvaging cargo from shipwrecks in the Florida Keys. Accessible only by canoe or kayak, visitors come here to swim, sunbathe, and hike. Fishing is also a popular activity.
Bulow Plantation Ruins State Historic Site
In 1821, Major Charles Wilhelm Bulow acquired 4,675 acres of wilderness bordering a tidal creek that would later bear his name. Using slave labor, he cleared 2,200 acres and planted sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. Major Bulow died in 1823, leaving the newly established plantation to his seventeen year old son, John Joachim Bulow. Bulow's sugar mill, constructed of local "coquina" rock, was the largest mill in East Florida. At the boat slips, flatboats were loaded with barrels of raw sugar and molasses and floated down Bulow Creek to be shipped north. This frontier industry came to an abrupt end at the outbreak of the Second Seminole War. In January 1836, a band of raiding Seminole Indians, resisting removal to the West, looted and burned the plantation. It would never recover. Bulow returned to Paris where he died the same year. Today, the coquina walls and chimneys of the sugar mill remain standing as a monument to the rise and fall of the sugar plantations of East Florida.
Paynes Creek Historic State Park
During the 1840s, tensions between the settlers and Seminole Indians prompted authorities to establish a trading post in Florida´s interior, away from settlements. Built in early 1849, the post was attacked and destroyed by renegade Indians that summer. In late 1849 Fort Chokonikla was built nearby as the first outpost in a chain of forts established to control the Seminoles. The Seminoles never attacked the fort, but the Army was nearly defeated by mosquitoes. Today, nature enthusiasts and hikers can enjoy walking along trails through the park´s natural areas. Paynes Creek and the adjoining Peace River provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. A museum at the visitor center depicts the lives of Florida´s Seminole Indians and pioneers during the 19th century.
Goodwood Museum and Gardens
This estate began in the 1830s as a cotton and corn plantation that ultimately encompassed 2,400 acres. The plantation's agricultural emphasis declined after the Civil War and by the 1880s the remaining 160 acres, home and garden served as an elegant private residence. In 1911, Goodwood's ownership changed and the house and garden underwent major renovation, securing a place among the fine homes of the Country Estate era. The estate's style and elegance was further enhanced by Goodwood's owners in the late 1920s. Restoration efforts focus on this turn-of-the-century Country Estate era, ever mindful of Goodwood's rich 19th-century history.
Eden Gardens State Park
Stop in for a picnic along Tucker Bayou, stroll down our nature trail, or simply meander through the gardens. The focal point of this park is a beautifully renovated, two-story house with elegant white columns and wrap-around porch. Surrounded by moss-draped live oaks and ornamental gardens, the Wesley house inspires visions of hoop skirts and landed gentry. The park is part of the estate owned in the 1800s by the Wesleys, a wealthy Florida timber family. In 1963, Lois Maxon bought and renovated the home, creating a showplace for her family heirlooms and antiques. The collection of Louis XVI furniture is the second largest in the United States. Guided tours of the house are available hourly Thursday through Monday (including holidays). Visitors can enjoy the grounds, gardens, and picnic area daily from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.
Mound Key Archeological State Park
Framed in forests of mangrove trees, the shell mounds and ridges of Mound Key rise more than 30 feet above the waters of Estero Bay. Prehistoric Native Americans are credited with creating this island's complex of mounds with an accumulation of seashells, fish bones, and pottery. Mound Key is believed to have been the ceremonial center of the Calusa Indians when the Spaniards first attempted to colonize Southwest Florida. In 1566, the Spanish governor of Florida established a settlement on the island with a fort and the first Jesuit mission in the Spanish New World. The settlement was abandoned three years later after violent clashes with the Indians. The only access to the island is by boat; there are no facilities. Interpretive displays can be found along a trail that spans the width of the island.
Hawthorne Historical Museum and Cultural Center
The Hawthorne area has a wonderful museum that highlights and vanguards the history of the area, a true reflection of Florida's heritage. It is located at the southern end of SE 221 St. (historic Johnson St).
Destin History & Fishing Museum
Experience the feeling of swimming in the Gulf of Mexico with award winning examples of fish caught in Destin. This exhibit is displayed on a 100 feet of wall space depicting the Gulf floor. View a large collection of antique fishing rods and reels, the most unique is constructed of split bamboo with an original Penn Reel, that belonged to Ernest Hemmingway. Get an idea of life in Destin before the arrival of electricity in the 1930s. Visit the original Destin Post Office building located adjacent to the property. See the oldest seine fishing boat still in existence, The Primrose, built in 1925. Enjoy vintage photographs of early Destin settlers, boat captains and their boats, beach scenes, businesses, and much more. Located in Destin, Florida.
Crystal River Archaeological State Park
National Historic Landmark, this 61-acre, pre-Columbian, Native American site has burial mounds, temple/platform mounds, a plaza area, and a substantial midden. The six-mound complex is one of the longest continuously occupied sites in Florida. For 1,600 years the site served as an imposing ceremonial center for Native Americans. People traveled to the complex from great distances to bury their dead and conduct trade. It is estimated that as many as 7,500 Native Americans may have visited the complex every year. Although primarily an archaeological site, the park sits on the edge of an expansive coastal marsh. Anglers may catch saltwater and freshwater fish. As part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, the park offers bird-watchers the chance to observe a variety of birds. The park has a boat tour of the river every Friday, weather permitting.
House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert's Bar
As the oldest structure on the Treasure Coast (circa 1876), The House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert’s Bar has weathered many storms and provided shelter for shipwreck survivors. It is the only remaining House of Refuge in the country. The museum is open seven days a week. Tours, which provide a look at turn-of-the-century coastal living at the Refuge, include the boathouse living quarters and a WWII lookout tower.
Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park and Cultural Center
Consists of the Indian Temple Mound Museum, Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, and the Garnier Post Office Museum. Together these three museums form a cultural center which presents the history of the Fort Walton Beach area from prehistoric times, some 12,000 years ago, the first school in 1912, and through the close of the post office in the 1950s. It is the purpose of these museums to preserve and hold their collections in trust for humankind. The Museum Division uses its collection to educate, for exhibit, research and advanced study. The museums host over 13,000 visitors annually from all 50 states and many foreign countries. An additional 7,500 school and civic organization members receive educational programs.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Located in in St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos, built 1672-1695, served primarily as an outpost of the Spanish Empire, guarding St. Augustine, the first permanent European settlement in the continental United States, and also protecting the sea route for treasure ships returning to Spain. Although the Castillo has served a number of nations throughout its history, it has never been taken by military force. During the 18th century, the Castillo went from Spanish control to British and back to the Spanish, all by treaty. The Spanish remained in power in Florida until the area was purchased by the United States in 1821. Called Fort Marion at this time, the Castillo was used by the US army until 1899. The park consists of the original historic Castillo fortress itself with its attendant grounds, some 25 total acres.
Barberville Pioneer SEttlement Historical Village Museum
The Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts, Inc. was established as an educational institution whose mission is the collection, preservation, conservation and exposition of objects which are the cultural heritage of the community. The Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts, Inc. is located on the grounds of former Volusia County Schools surplus property known as the Central School of Barberville (c. 1919), which was first leased from the Volusia County School Board in the year of the Settlement's incorporation, 1976.
Florida History from the Highways
Discover Florida, with its unique geography and exciting history--from ancient gold to modern real estate speculation--by journeying along its highways. Beginning with a chronology and succinct account of Florida's spectacular development, then an account of the rise of the major cities, Florida History from the Highways takes you throughout the state, pointing out the fascinating events that occurred at locations along the way. You'll travel through changing times and landscapes and emerge filled with new appreciation for what has made Florida the colorful place it is today. With an engaging style and a wealth of historical photographs, author Douglas Waitley invites you to explore this extraordinary state's rich past while enjoying its natural beauty.
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Learn and Do Unit Studies
Hands on unit studies on a variety of subjects, including science, life skills, arts and crafts, and animals and insects. Also offers free mini units available for download.
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