My family and I experienced a hosted trip to Tallahassee Florida to experience the city, but all opinions are my own.
While Tallahassee may be known as the home of the Seminoles and the capital of Florida, it’s a not-so-hidden gem for families that too often gets overlooked. Centrally located on Florida’s panhandle, it’s less than hour from Georgia and a few hours from Alabama. The inner city offers a bustling vibe that easily transitions into the night, while the nature reserves remind you to slow down and reconnect. See why Tallahassee is a great place to take the kids and, in my opinion, the perfect escape from the overcrowded tourist traps that your kids have already been to.
The Ultimate Family Travel Guide to Tallahassee Florida
Depending on the time of the year, family attractions and what to see differs. For example, you’re more likely to see manatees from November to April while families can catch a Florida State University football game during the Fall months. Since many of the city’s destinations are open year round – thanks for great Florida weather – taking a last minute trip to Tallahassee is very doable.
Where To Stay in Tallahassee
Home 2 Suites by Hilton offers spacious rooms that are designed for families of all sizes. Each suite offers a kitchenette, with a refrigerator, and a partition to divide the room for privacy. We’re always more comfortable with extra storage space and a refrigerator to store milk. Plus, a complimentary breakfast is served daily.
If you’re traveling with older kids and want to be in the heart of downtown, Aloft Tallahassee Downtown is a great option that’s minutes from the capitol. They offer a free shuttle service within a 2 mile radius of the hotel that’s great for the downtown area and a pool. Kids under 12 can utilize Camp Aloft, which features pint sized bedding and mattress.
Registered with the Historic Hotels of America, the Lodge at Wakulla Springs boasts vintage touches while you stay close to nature. The hotel is actually located inside of Wakulla Springs State Park and was built in 1937 by industrialist Edward Ball. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings of it’s time and a fun place to stay if your family prefers outdoor activities over city life.
What To Do As A Family
Tour Florida treetops, visit living wildlife exhibits and discover outdoor art at the Tallahassee Museum. With so much to offer, it’s clear why this family destination is ranked as one of the state’s top museums to visit. Personal exhibit favorites include Jim Gary’s 20th Century Dinosaurs which are made of recycled automobile parts and Wildlife Florida where kids can see native animals in their natural setting. The museum is stroller friendly and perfect for little ones.
Step back in time and see how Apalachee Indians and newcomers from Spain lived together at the Mission San Luis. It’s home to the largest historic-period Indian building found in the Southeast and houses a museum of the artifacts that were excavated onsite. The living history exhibits allow kids to see a blacksmith in action or taste the traditional foods that they ate. Middle school kids and older can appreciate and understand the history behind the mission.
If your kids have taken to STEM academic subjects, foster even more learning at the Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee. Located downtown, they offer state-of-the-art exhibits and hands-on demonstrations that are perfect for budding scientists. The Space Mission Simulator let’s kids experience the next best thing to an actual space flight. This is a great destination for all ages to enjoy.
For eclectic finds and impressive collections, visit the Tallahassee Automotive Museum. While this museum features two stories of unique automobiles from around the world, it’s also home to so much more. Kids can appreciate seeing a real Batmobile or the sports memorabilia. Don’t be fooled though – this is where car-loving Dads can stay for a few hours. There is so much to see and they are constantly updating exhibits.
Wakulla Springs State Park won our family’s heart with only one visit. The park has so much to offer: swimming, kayaking, hiking, snorkeling and birding – to name a few. Don’t miss the Jungle Cruise Boat Tour where a park ranger guides you through the natural habitat living in the springs. We saw alligators, turtles, birds, fish and manatees. At any Florida state park, kids can partake in the Junior Ranger Program. Kids love completing educational tasks to earn ranger patches and stamps in their passport for completion.
Where to Eat in Tallahassee
Since it’s a college town, the city is full of restaurants that will be easy on your wallet and casual. Dog Et Al serves world class hot dogs with over 10,000 flavor combinations. You pick the dog and the toppings! It’s a local favorite that has a line at lunchtime.
If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast, there are two favorite breakfast spots. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Uptown Cafe & Catering serves classic breakfast dishes alongside more eclectic options – like the smoked salmon grit bowl. For families pinching a penny, you can’t beat the breakfast prices at The Bada Bean. Guests love their homestyle cooking and line up on the weekend for brunch.
For dinner, enjoy creole fusion cuisine at Coosh’s Bayou Rouge Restaurant. Our family enjoyed classics like shrimp gumbo and hushpuppies alongside a Po’ Boy sandwich. They have two locations: one north of downtown that offers a casual family atmosphere and another in the heart of FSU’s campus that has a full service bar.
Top off your sweet tooth at Sugar Rush Bar. They offer over-the-top milkshakes that are perfect for an Instagram worthy photo opportunity. You’ll have a hard time picking from the mouthwatering options, but families can definitely split these huge shakes. Or just keep simple with a scoop of ice cream.
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