14 Best Things to Do in Marianne (FL)

Marianna is a city in Jackson County, Florida Panhandle, located north of Interstate 10, bounded by Pensacola to the west and Tallahassee to the east.

Although it has a population of just over 9,000, it has grown by 50% over the past decade.

Officially known as the “City of Southern Charm,” most visitors agree that it lives up to its name.

Visitors to Marianna can travel relatively easily to Georgia and Alabama in the north, as well as to the many attractions along the Gulf Coast in the south.

Here are 14 things to do in and around Marianna, Florida.

1. Jackson County Visitor Center

Jackson County Visitor Center, Marianne

Located on Lafayette Street in downtown Marianna, the Jackson County Visitor Center is a great place to check out first for new visitors unfamiliar with the area.

Free to visit, there are helpful and enthusiastic local volunteers who provide the most valuable resource for those unsure how to complete their schedule in the area.

The centre has free maps, brochures and travel magazines. In addition to offering lots of great activity suggestions, many of them also offer special deals and coupons for discounted dining, services, and lodging.

2. Florida Caverns State Park

Florida Caverns State Park

Located on Marianna’s Cavern Road, Florida Caverns State Park is one of the state’s most unique attractions, featuring the Sunshine State’s only above-ground cave system open to the public.

Amenities at the park include a visitor center and museum, covered picnic areas and playgrounds. Although parts of the park remain closed due to Hurricane Michael, the ranger station and cave remain open.

The Flashlight Tour explores the cave’s labyrinth of passages that have been formed over millions of years, giving visitors a unique glimpse into the most eerie and fascinating subterranean worlds.

3. Florida Caverns Golf Course

Florida Caverns Golf Course

Adjacent to Caverns State Park, Florida Caverns Golf Course is a 9-hole facility that has been open to the public for eight years.

Designed by renowned golf course designer Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the course is just over 3,200 yards from the longest tee.

Don’t expect many upscale amenities at other ritzier courses in the area, but previous guests have noticed that while the greens aren’t particularly well-manicured, they appreciate the course’s layout, golf carts and raised tee boxes. They also believe that the price they pay makes the experience very rewarding.

4. Blue Springs Leisure Park

Merritt Mill

A few miles east of Marianna, Blue Springs Recreation Park features a reservoir called Merritt’s Mill Pond, a popular destination for anglers and swimmers.

Many first-time park visitors are shocked to find the water in the reservoir sparkling and clear, like the waters often associated with alpine lakes in western states.

The natural spring water that feeds the reservoir keeps the water surprisingly refreshing even in the dog days of summer. In addition to the designated swimming area, there are volleyball courts, boat docks and playgrounds.

The natural environment in the park is diverse, and many tourists choose to bring their own food and drinks to spend the whole day.

5. Chipola College

Chipola Theater

College and university campuses are often overlooked by travelers, but they are especially relevant for budget-conscious travelers who want to avoid the masses and experience less commercialized entertainment.

Chipola College was established in 1947. For most of its existence, it was a two-year community college, but with the addition of a bachelor’s degree program in 2003, it became a full-fledged college.

It’s probably best known for its relatively new arts center, which was completed in 2012 at a cost of nearly $20 million.

The center’s two theaters offer a range of performances throughout the year, including live music, theater, and even classical and chamber music.

6. Long and narrow watermelon festival

Panhandle Watermelon Festival Parade

Florida is one of the largest fruit-producing states in the United States; along with citrus and strawberries, watermelon has always been a staple.

The quaint town of Chipley is a short drive west of Marianna on Route 90. For more than six years, it has hosted an annual watermelon festival that draws visitors from all over the state — as well as many surrounding states like Alabama and Georgia.

The Panhandle Watermelon Festival offers plenty of fresh melons in every way imaginable. There’s also a variety of live entertainment, arts and crafts, a children’s play area, and even a parade.

This is a free event held at the end of June.

7. Southern Craft Cream

Southern Craft Cream

Located on Jefferson Street in Marianne, Southern Craft Creamery is the top destination in the town for those in need of homemade ice cream that they can’t find anywhere else.

The secret to The Creamery’s success is simple – use fresh local ingredients wherever possible, build lasting relationships with suppliers and customers, and provide quality products at reasonable prices.

It must have worked, as they have attracted a loyal following, and previous visitors have noticed that in addition to their quality products, the restaurant has a charming feel that is conducive to relaxing with food and friends.

They also serve delicious coffee along with a variety of other beverages and sweets.

8. Wharf Leisure Seafood

Marina Casual Seafood

Located on Highway 90 in Marianna, Wharf Casual Seafood is known for its cozy atmosphere, generous portions, and reasonable prices.

Their menu includes many traditional favorites such as fried fish, steamed shrimp and fish tacos. For those with dietary restrictions, they also offer a gluten-free menu.

In addition to their delicious menu, Wharf is also known for their fresh cakes and pies, and rumour has it that their lime tarts are some of the best in the area.

The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating areas, and guests who previously traveled with dogs can leave them on the patio.

9. Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee is known for its wide variety of natural, historical and recreational attractions.

Spread over a unique area of ​​over 1,000 acres, the park’s vast and idyllic gardens are filled not only with natural beauty, but also sites of historical and archaeological significance.

The garden consists of different areas with unique themes connected by clearly marked paths. They are dotted with nearly 20 historic buildings, all of which contain information boards, so visitors will learn about the interesting history of the area.

Hiking, bird watching and photography are also popular park activities.

10. Challenger Learning Center

Challenger Learning Center, Tallahassee

The Challenger Learning Center, located on Duval Street in Tallahassee, is a program operated by the Florida A&M University Engineering Program.

With over 30,000 square feet of space, the center is dedicated to engaging young people with interactive exhibits covering science and technology, engineering and math.

The center also houses a popular space flight simulator, a planetarium and an IMAX theater.

It’s definitely not just another sight-seeing-but-no-touch attraction, and for families traveling with kids, it often ends up being one of the most memorable experiences of their trip.

They also offer a variety of specials, so check out their website to see what’s on their events calendar for you to visit.

11. Florida Historic Capitol Museum

Florida Historic Capitol Museum

Tallahassee is the capital of the Sunshine State, and while it’s about an hour’s drive from Marianna, it’s one of the worthwhile destinations that offer visitors a variety of historical, cultural, and recreational options.

The Florida State Historic Capitol Museum is located on South Monroe Street. Its exhibits focus on the state’s political history and include a variety of historical artifacts, photographs, first-hand accounts, and many original documents.

The buildings date back to the mid-1800s and include the former governor’s office, the state House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court building; most of them feature insightful and popular audio-visual displays.

12. St. Marks Lighthouse

San Marco Lighthouse

The St. Marks Lighthouse, located in the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge southwest of Tallahassee on the Gulf Coast, was built in 1831 and is the second oldest lighthouse in the state.

For a century and a half, lighthouses have fulfilled their role in times of hurricanes and social unrest. Although it was abandoned and in disrepair for most of its life, it has now been restored to near pristine condition.

Located at the mouth of the St. Marks River, the lighthouse rises nearly 90 feet above the surrounding landscape. It’s inexpensive to visit and is currently undergoing upgrades to make it more accessible to visitors with disabilities.

13. Bradfordville Blues Club

Bradfordville Blues Club

For those with a deep appreciation for blues music deeply rooted in the southeastern United States, a trip to the Bradfordville Blues Club will be a rewarding way to spend a great evening.

The Blues Club is definitely off the beaten track, in a one-room block building nestled among Spanish moss-covered oaks and cornfields.

Hole in the wall is a commonly used description, but on Friday and Saturday nights, the club comes alive with stunning blues from local and nationally known musicians. For many, it’s like stepping back in time.

14. Spanish Trail Theater

Spanish Trail Theater

Chipley’s Spanish Trail Playhouse is a popular community theater known for its local talent, vibrant musicals, and traditional Broadway-style plays.

The theater produces only a handful of performances each year, and they all take place in the local high school auditorium.

It might not sound like a particularly impressive venue, but it has something charming and homey about it that most guests find unforgettable.

In the past, their work has included classics such as Annie and Arsenic and Old Lace.

The theater’s origins date back to the early ’60s, and it is run by a non-profit organization made up only of volunteers.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Marian, FL (FL)
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