In North Florida and Southwest Georgia, the Red Hills Region is great for downtime, with parklands, forests, rivers and more, just 20 miles from Tallahassee.
Southern charm and wild, untouched terrain collide in the Red Hills region of North Florida and Southwest Georgia. Stretching from Havana and Tallahassee, Florida, to Cairo, Monticello and Thomasville, Georgia, this diverse and scenic region combines the big city amenities of Florida’s capital city with the charm of small towns.
One glance at its hilly terrain and red clay soil, and you’ll understand where this 300,000-acre area got its name. The Red Hills region’s amazing landscape is dotted with parklands, forests, rivers, and lakes along with historic towns and charming roadways for navigating what the locals fondly call “the land between two rivers” in a nod to its position between the Aucilla and Ochlockonee Rivers.
From its wild northern terrain to landmarks like Tallahassee’s Capital complex, the region offers a diverse menu of attractions and activities to fill your downtime. When you’re in Tallahassee on business, don’t miss out on exploring the city and beyond. After all, getting back to nature is only a 20-minute drive away; perfect for whiling away an hour or two, or making a day of discovering the magic of the Red Hills region.
Explore the Canopy Roads of the Red Hills
It’s impossible to not feel the thrill of the open road when you’re driving beneath a canopy of live oak, hickory, pine, and sweet gum trees dripping with moss and oozing southern charm. That’s exactly what you get when exploring the 300-plus miles of canopy roads in the Red Hills region. Journey along winding roadways past sprawling parklands filled with wildflowers, historic cemeteries, tobacco barns, and panoramic views of the region’s clay hills. Some of the best canopy roads include the following:
- New Hope Road in Thomas County, Georgia
- Meridian Road in Leon County, Florida
- Beachton-Metcalf Road in Grady and Thomas Counties, Georgia
- Old Centerville and Moccasin Gap Roads in Leon County, Florida
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
The Red Hills region is home to the largest swath of undeveloped plantation lands in the U.S., leading the Nature Conservancy to dub the region as one of the country’s “Last Great Places.” Getting close to nature is easy in the area, thanks to abundant wilderness and nearly limitless options for outdoor fun. Some of the Red Hills’ most popular natural attractions include the following:
- Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve: Spanning more than 140 acres, this preserve in Cairo, Georgia, is open for year-round hiking among the largest stretch of trout lilies anywhere.
- Wacissa River and Springs: This spring-fed river located in Wacissa, Florida, is paradise for water enthusiasts. It’s also known as one of North Florida’s most diverse waterways with 22 springs located along the mighty Wacissa River, a state paddling trail surrounded by native plants and wildlife.
- Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail: Bikers love this 20.5-mile trail that spans from the state’s capital city to St. Marks, a charming coastal community. Once a railroad corridor that transported cotton, the trail is now part of Florida’s Greenways and Trails System. Hiking, horseback riding, and other activities are available along the way.
- Cherokee Lake and Rose Garden: Go fishing, walk the one-mile lighted path along the lake, or simply sit and take it all in. As one of Thomasville’s most scenic spots, this park and the Thomasville Rose Garden located next door offer a great place to stretch your legs and see the local sites.
- Birdsong Nature Center: Another Thomasville gem, Birdsong Nature Center spans 565 acres and features swamps, meadows, forests, and ponds. Bring your camera along to capture the serene landscape and to snap captivating photos of local wildlife.
Step Back in History
In addition to the Red Hills region’s gorgeous natural surroundings, it’s also a great place to indulge your inner history buff. From the bustling city of Tallahassee to small towns like Monticello and Havana, Florida, and Thomasville, Georgia, the region is steeped in southern tradition and rich history. When you need a break from driving the canopy roads or playing outside, spend some time visiting historic attractions like:
- Wirick-Simmons House, a historic home that now serves as home to the Jefferson County Historic Society in Monticello, Florida
- Thomas County Museum of History in Thomasville, Georgia
- Pebble Hill Plantation, a former hunting plantation spanning 3,000 acres in Thomasville, Georgia
- Florida Historic Capitol Museum, located in the Capitol complex in Tallahassee
- Mission San Luis, a National Historic Landmark in Tallahassee that was once home to more than 1,400 people, including a Spanish deputy governor and an Apalachee chief
Do you have business in Tallahassee or elsewhere in the Red Hills? Take some time to explore the wonders of the region while you’re there, and share your favorite attractions with us on Facebook.