Lake City is in central North Florida’s Columbia County and was formerly a Seminole village named Alpata Telophka. Lake City and its natural beauty and outdoor activities attract many visitors from around the world. If you have decided to visit Lake City, we recommend visiting during mid-February and visiting the Olustee Battlefield reenactment that is organized annually during the period. Nevertheless, we have created 10 absolute necessary things to do when in Lake City, Florida that you cannot miss out on!
1. Olustee Battlefield State Park
This park memorializes the site of Florida’s largest Civil War battle, which occurred on 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 relics. A re-enactment is held every February and scenes for Civil War movies, including the 1989 movie Glory, have been filmed during the re-enactments. Visitors can enjoy a meal at the picnic area or take a walk along a mile-long trail that has informational signs describing the events of the battle.
Olustee Battlefield State Park
Address: 5815 Battlefield Trail Road, 32087 Olustee, FL
Website: Florida State Parks
2. Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum
The museum is in an 1870s era house in Downtown Lake City containing exhibits related to the history of Northern Florida County. The building belonged to the Vinzant family and a portion of the house is devoted to the family’s history. In addition to various articles, the museum also offers genealogical research, tours, and exhibition.
The architectural style of the house is “Italianate,” which though not lavish, grants characteristics that are both utilitarian and attractive. Wide porches, tall windows, and ornamental woodwork are some of what typifies this style of architecture during the 1800’s. The building retains the character of a Victorian residence both outside and in even after renovations made with every effort pursued towards preserving the unique qualities of the vintage structure.
Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum
Address: 157 SE Hernando Ave, 32025 Lake City, FL
Hours: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Thursday and Saturday)
Phone: +1 (386) 755 9096
3. Olustee Battle reenactment
The Annual Olustee Battle reenactment is held annually around February 20 (check below website for up-to-date information) at the Olustee Battlefield State Park near Sanderson, Florida. This is the famous site of Florida’s Largest Civil War Battle between the North and the South was fought leading to many casualties. The Battle of Olustee is the largest annual Civil War event in the southeastern United States.
Over 2,500 Civil War re-enactors comprising of men, women, and children come to the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park every year from all over the United States. These re-enactors portray military personnel, members of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, and Civil War era civilians and sutlers. Numerous Civil War authors and historical exhibitors can be seen throughout the weekend. If you are interested, you can listen to presentations performed under the large 900 square meters (9,000 square foot) tent.
Visitors/spectators are encouraged to visit the authentic camps, wander among the campfires, listen to the soldiers and civilians and ask questions. While spectators should not wander through the modern reenactor camps, they are welcome to visit the authentic Federal (Union) Infantry and civilian camps, the combined Federal and Confederate cavalry and artillery camps, and the Confederate infantry and civilian camps. Plenty of seats are available for this event which is worth a visit at least once in a lifetime.
Olustee Battle reenactment
Address: Olustee Battlefield State Park, 5815 Battlefield Trail Road, 32087 Sanderson, FL
Phone: +1 (386) 758 1312; +1 (386) 758 0400; 877-635-3655
Website: Battle of Olustee
4. Olustee Festival Parade
One of the top 10 events in the Southeast, the award-winning Olustee Battle Festival and Civil War reenactment where hundreds of civil war infantrymen, cavalry troopers, horse and carriages and so much more flood the streets of downtown Lake City, FL at the annual Olustee Festival Parade. The parade takes place during the festival around February 20 (dates differ every year, check out the link below for current details) at around 10:30 a.m.
The parade route begins at the Department of Transportation Office on Marion Avenue and ends at the Columbia County School Board Office on US Highway 90. Bring a chair or a blanket and claim your spot along the route early so that you get the see the parade in all its glory at an advantage. Entries from historical organizations, sponsors, military organizations, local schools and of course the hundreds of Civil War reenactors create an impressive and one of a kind parade that takes you back in time.
Olustee Festival Parade
Address: 1109 South Marion Avenue, 32025 Lake City, FL
Phone: +1 (386) 758 1397
Website: Olustee Festival
5. Alligator Warrior Festival
The Alligator Warrior Festival is an annual non-profit event organized in memory of the years between 1800 and 1859, when Lake City, Florida was still called Alligator, Florida, and in memory of its most famous resident, the Seminole commander, Alligator Warrior. This three-day event comprises a reenactment of the 1836 Battle of San Felasco, Hammock. In addition to the reenactment, the event also organizes a festival that celebrates Native American and immigrant American cultures with music and dancing, living history camps, demonstrators of historic skills, traders, craftspeople, and food vendors.
Alligator Warrior Festival
Address: 410 SE Oleno Park Rd, 32643 High Springs, Florida
Website: Alligator Warrior Festival
6. Osceola National Park
With approximately 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres) of the original Florida is waiting to be explored in the Osceola National Forest. These sylvan woodlands and swamps offer several opportunities for a wide range of visitor experiences such as camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and much more. Some recreational activities require a pass or permit. This “flatwoods” forest is a medley of low pine ridges disconnected by cypress and bay swamps. Visitors appreciate the quiet peaceful woodlands named in admiration of the famous Seminole Indian warrior, Osceola.
Osceola National Park
Address: 24874 U.S. 90, 32087 Olustee, FL
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Monday to Friday)
Website: Osceola National Park
7. O'Leno State Park
One of Florida’s first state parks, O'Leno State Park was first established by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. The park is situated along the banks of the scenic Santa Fe River, a tributary of the Suwannee River, and consists sinkholes, hardwood hammocks, river swamps, and sandhills. As the river sequences through the park, it disappears underground and re-emerges over 5 kilometers (3 miles) away from the River Rise Preserve State Park.
O’Leno State Park provides visitors with the occasion to unwind in a natural environment. Visitors can take pleasure by utilizing a day of hiking or biking on the park’s shaded trails. The Santa Fe River is a stunning spot to launch a canoe or try fishing along its banks. Pavilions are located along the river’s edge, offering a tranquil milieu for picnicking and relaxing. The shady, full-facility campground is the ideal place for a relaxing overnight stay.
O'Leno State Park
Address: 410 Dogwood Trail, 32643 High Springs, FL
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Phone: +1 (386) 454 1853
Website: Florida State Parks
8. Webb’s Antique Mall
For your one-stop with regard to anything and everything sight-worthy, while you’re in Lake City, Webb’s Antique Mall has it all! This sensationally large space offers you a wonderfully diverse selection of antique items, a virtual library of itemized history available for your perusal and purchase. From the small to the large, the recent to the dated, to simple to the extravagant, trust that Webb’s Antique Mall has a selection of winning antique items, entirely worth your visit!
With a constantly shifting and changing series of items, you’re going to find the ideal item for your trip, no matter if it’s your first time visiting or even if you’re a regular visitor to a shop widely regarded as one of the finest antique venues in the state, Webb’s Antique Mall promises to deliver items you are not going to find anywhere else. If you find yourself passing through Lake City, take the chance and visit Webb’s Antique Mall, open seven days a week.
You might discover a long-forgotten photo, pick out your home’s newest centerpiece, or strike a bargain on an item of ages past, where you can actually purchase a piece of certifiable Lake City history!
Webb’s Antique Mall
Address: 245 SW Webbs Gln, Lake City, FL 32024
Website: Webb’s Antique Mall
9. Halpatter Brewing Company
After a long, productive day exploring, end it off with a trip to the Halpatter Brewing Company! Featuring a wide variety of tastes perfect for even the strictest palate, this brewing company easily defines the industry in Lake City.
Distinct, strong tastes are only an easy decision away, along with a large variety of assorted food, the perfect complement to your newest favorite brew. As the absolute gem of the historic downtown district of Lake City, and readily identifiable by its masonry and exterior deck, you can bet that the Halpatter Brewing Company comes alive nightly, as the vibrant social scene moves indoors for an all-around tasting experience you have to encounter for yourself to believe.
This craft micro-brewery is absolutely brand new, having only recently opened; you’ll be among the first to set the stage for what’s sure to exist as a staple landmark of Lake City! Check out the wide variety of musical acts which take to the stage on a regular basis at the Halpatter Brewing Company, as well as their constantly changing portfolio of local IPAs and assorted beverages. You can always visit the Facebook and Instagram pages of the Halpatter Brewing Company to get a taste as to what you’re likely to discover onsite, but there’s no substitute for the vibe you’ll receive when you immerse yourself in the culture this micro-brewery offers!
Halpatter Brewing Company
Address: 264 NE Hernando Ave, Lake City, FL 32055
Website: Halpatter Brewing Company
10. Painting with a Twist
No matter if you’re artistically inclined or if you’re a novice when it comes to the art of painting, Painting with a Twist in Lake City proves one of the top attractions that the extended region offers! Painting with a Twist offers up the stunning combination of world-class painting, with the provision of alcohol on the premises! Rest assured that those under the legal drinking age are certainly welcome, while for those over the age of 21, painters are encouraged to allow alcohol to enhance the wildest side of your creativity! This group painting session is just the type of rejuvenating activity you’ve been craving.
Welcome to Painting with a Twist, where you’ll find yourself the privileged guest of an expert, professional artist, who will walk you through the creation of a masterpiece soon to become your own! Step-by-step, brush stroke by brush stroke, the painted image begins to take form before your eyes, and you’re going to undoubtedly surprise yourself by the high extent of your own capacity for creativity! It is suggested that you check ahead to guarantee availability, given the sheer popularity of Painting with a Twist in Lake City, especially during holiday times. Nevertheless, the site proves the perfect place to blow off steam at the end of a busy day, or the ideal venue for your next social gathering, birthday party, or anniversary of any sort!
The onsite artistry experts are always available to answer any and all of your questions, to encourage you in your creative capacity as the world’s newest artist, and to provide you with more paints as needed. As you paint beside other aspiring artists, you’ll revel in the simultaneous similarities and differences between your respective creations, before together everyone will pose with their paintings at the conclusion of a fun-filled paint session. you can even bring your painting home with you, set on a professional canvas, characterized by high-quality paints.
Painting with a Twist
Address: 1009 SW Main Blvd #135, Lake City, FL 32025
Website: Painting with a Twist
Go back in time through Lake City
The battlefield enlivens during a re-enactment of this historic event in addition to the museum and a revealing trajectory along battle lines that are open year round. Shopaholics can however personally enjoy Lake City’s numerous shopping and dining establishments to their heart’s content. History lovers will have a field day here at Lake City, with numerous options at their disposal. It’s as if time goes back to the 1830s when you arrive in Lake City.
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