Off the Beaten Path Tallahassee

By Max Berman on May 28, 2016

During the year we all know the drill. Class, work and then going out, with very little variation in between. But what happens when the semester ends and suddenly Tallahassee is a ghost town? The Starbucks drive thru sits empty, as tables that were once overflowing at Strozier now sit quiet, waiting for the return of the masses. While you may be contemplating dropping out of school because of your situation, we’re here to help with some advice. Being stuck in Tallahassee over the summer doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be boring. While most students have returned back home for the break, a lucky few of us remain up here to participate in summer classes or other obligations to the University. Luckily, Tallahassee has a ton of off the beaten path activities/things to do in order to pass the time (and surprisingly none of them involve alcohol).

Although most of Tallahassee is comprised of the various Universities and a primarily urban landscape, the city has some of the most beautiful parks to offer which are within short driving distance if you’re a student. The first undiscovered gem is Lake Henrietta Park located on Lake Bradford Road. This park is unique in the fact it offers a two mile walking loop around a stunning lake. Not only that, but you are able to go off of the paved path and into a nature reserve that stretches for miles into the Tallahassee backwoods. Back here you’re able to follow a peaceful river and follow the trail all the way to Wakulla Springs if you have the time and energy. It’s perfect for an early morning walk or a picnic with someone, and even better if you have a dog to bring along! If you’re looking to walk and want to be extremely close to campus, there is another park (Lake Alberta) which is right down Lake Bradford! Rarely visited by students, this park offers a mile long paved loop around a lake, and also leads back into some interesting older neighborhoods of Tallahassee. Along with this, many people fish off the creek that surrounds the park, and have been known to have some amazing catches.

If you’re sick of the traditional outing, Tallahassee has some of the best abandoned sites to explore in and around the city. One of my personal favorite places to adventure is between Crawfordville and Tallahassee on Highway 319 and is a car cemetery. Here, you can photograph and explore dozens of cars ranging from the 1920’s-1960’s that have essentially been left on the side of the road to decompose. It’s surprisingly relaxing, and an interesting way to view a piece of history you probably did not know was only twenty miles outside of Tallahassee.

Another gem to visit, especially during the summer months, is the “verdura” plantation on Old St. Augustine Road. A quick google search will yield specific directions to the site, and here you can view the remains of an old southern plantation. There are enormous stone pillars that were left behind after the fire that destroyed the house at the turn of the 20th century. If you explore the area a little more, you’re able to find the family cemetery with dozens of plots you can view. It gets a little spooky out here, so it’s best to go with a friend or with a group of people. You can also take other trails around the plantation and hike, enjoying being up in the hills and looking down at the vegetation and ruins below.

The Verdura Plantation

Besides natural beauty, Tallahassee has some awesome industrial ruins that make urban exploring quite enjoyable. Just between Blountstown Highway and Capital Circle SW near West Pensacola Street, there is an abandoned cement factory. You have to take a path in the woods from the nearest shopping center closest to the train tracks, but a short walk will lead you to a couple of empty warehouses and the entirety of the mill. Here, vandals have made a home virtually marking up every surface with tags and graffiti. It’s perfect for a photo shoot or just hanging out.

When it comes to the great outdoors in Tallahassee, the one place that takes the cake is the  Miccosukee Greenway. One of Tallahassee’s biggest parks, and located just off of I-10, it boasts massive walking trails, as well as wide open fields which is perfect for pickup games and canine friends. Not only that, but the park has an enormous clump of trees which are centrally located and utilized for hammocks as well as picnics and parties. The Greenway also allows mountain bikers and off-trail runners a place to get away within the city, and is perfect for a weekday or weekend trip.  Whether it be parks or abandoned sites, Tallahassee has some of everything to keep you entertained during these long summer months!

The Greenway

Max Berman is a junior at Florida State University where he is majoring in Editing, Writing, and Media. Along with writing, he is pursuing his recently launched clothing line and collaborative art gallery. Besides this, he's obsessed with early 2000's TV shows and backpacking around the world.

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