Located in Suwannee County in northern Florida, Live Oak is a small, peaceful and beautiful haven for travelers who want to get away from the crowds but close to all the major attractions in the area. With a population of only 7,000 people, you don’t have to worry about long lines or fights with crowds.
Both the Suwanee and Santa Fe rivers border the town, and the streets are lined with mature oak trees. Downtown Live Oak is a lively place with some good restaurants and a variety of retail stores.
The open green spaces in the town and nearby communities provide ample opportunities to engage in a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking.
History and culture are very important in Live Oak, and much of the town’s lifestyle today is influenced by its historic rail service, which was only recently restored with the addition of an Amtrak station.
Here are 14 of the best things to do in and around Live Oak, Florida.
1. Heritage Parks and Gardens
Live Oak This popular green space features 90 acres of beautiful gardens. The expansive landscape gives visitors and locals the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of outdoor activities. There are several walking trails, a disc golf course, and picnic areas and playgrounds on site.
Various events are held throughout the year, such as Civil War Reenactments.
2. Suwanee County Historical Commission and Museum
The area around Live Oak has been inhabited for 12,000 years, and this museum has exhibits that outline the history of the first people who called the area home.
Information about the area’s indigenous wildlife is also displayed, and historians reconstruct the 16th-century Timucuan settlement.
3. Wesskills Peacock Springs State Park
Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park has two main springs, one spring, and six intact sinkholes. If you’ve never done cave diving, you probably don’t know what this means. But certified divers can, and their certification allows them to dive in the longest underwater cave system on the continent. Few people get to see these amazing underwater caves.
For visitors without a certified diver, there’s a lot to explore above ground. Hike interpretive nature trails through mature forests and stroll along the cave tunnels that meander below.
Peacock Springs and Orange Grove Sink are popular swimming holes during the warmer months, and there are picnic areas on site.
4. Old Hamilton County Jail
The old Hamilton County Jail, near Jasper, held prisoners in the early 1900s and hanged from the central tower. Today, the historic building is a museum displaying various documents, pictures and artifacts.
5. Ichetacney Springs State Park
About an hour’s drive from Live Oak is the beautiful Ichetucknee Springs State Park water park. Features include over 2,000 acres of lush greenery, pristine swimming holes with warm water, and springs that join to form the Ichetucknee River.
Downstream and swimming are the most popular activities in the park. While swimming in one of the most popular springs, swimmers can see part of the cave system that stretches below the surface. Certified divers can explore the area’s cave system.
During a hike on one of the park’s nature trails, visitors may spot wildlife including beavers, otters, turtles and many birds. Another spring in the upper part of the park is a popular spot for kayaks and canoes. Other on-site amenities include picnic areas, bike paths, playgrounds, and restrooms.
6. The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park and Campground
Even if you don’t plan to do any camping during your stay in the Live Oak area, the spirit of Suwannee Music Park and Campground is the perfect place to spend the day. The marina at Lake Rees is a popular fishing area, and hiking and horse trails are available throughout the park.
Canoes and tubing are available for hire. There is also an in-ground swimming pool, restaurant, craft village and museum on site. For tourists who want to stay overnight but don’t like sleeping in a tent, luxury treehouses can be rented.
7. Suwanee Country Club
Suwannee Country Club in Live Oak is semi-private, but it is open to the public, meaning visitors can enjoy improving their skills on the driving range and teeing off on the 9-hole course.
There is a ballroom on site with a full kitchen and everyone has access to the White Lake located within the venue.
8. Troy Springs State Park
Troy Springs State Park has a stunning 70-foot deep spring. Visitors can enjoy a popular swimming hole this spring. Snorkeling is a popular activity for the adventurous. If you’re certified, you can scuba dive until spring and see the stunning natural landscape below the surface and the remains of a Civil War-era steamboat.
There is also an interpretive walking trail through the forested area, but many choose to rest and fish on the banks of the river.
9. Ganyden Farms
A warm, family-friendly environment welcomes visitors to Gan Eden Farms. The local farmers market harvests a variety of crops, and the kids especially enjoy meeting residents, including dogs, goats, chickens and cows.
10. International Falcon Academy
Falcons, hawks and owls are professional predators, and you can learn about these fascinating birds and their hunting skills at the International Falcon Academy. Start with an introduction to falconry, then take a hands-on class or workshop to get you up close and personal with these majestic animals.
These outings are suitable for all ages; they include watching these birds do what they do best, as well as nature walks with trained and informative guides.
11. Mystic Jungle Educational Facility Company
At Mystic Jungle Educational Facility Inc, visitors can book tours and see a variety of animals, including bobcats, tigers and leopards. There are public and private tours to choose from, and luxury tours have the opportunity to feed the tigers.
The animals that make their home here have been displaced or injured and need care to survive.
12. Dixie Grill
While in Live Oak Florida, some local southern food must be tried. There’s nothing more authentic than The Dixie Grill in the historic heart of downtown. This restaurant has been in business since 1959 and is loved by locals and tourists alike.
Offering a variety of traditional and contemporary dishes, as well as a variety of unique dishes, it combines traditional and modern flavors to create what the locals call New Southern Cuisine. Hearty breakfasts, hearty comfort foods, healthy sandwiches and salads made with fresh local ingredients are just some of the options.
13. Lower Suwanee Wilderness State Trail
The Lower Suwannee River Wilderness State Trail is primarily a paddling trail for kayaks and canoes, but there’s a lot to see along the way, both on the water and on land. As you make your way down the river, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the area, its history and the work done to protect the fragile environment.
On the river, you will experience tranquility surrounded by stunning scenery. On land, you’ll find a variety of nature trails, green spaces, camping areas, museums and cultural experiences. There is also a lot of wildlife around the area.
14. Suwanee River State Park
Not far from the live oaks is the beautiful natural oasis of Suwanee River State Park. Almost every outdoor activity imaginable can be done here. There are many hiking trails, including Little Gem Spring, Lime Sink Run, Sandhill Trail, and The Big Oak Trail, which is a longer hiking trail of 12.5 miles.
Along these trails, visitors can see lush vegetation and wildlife, including cypress trees and many birds.
The canoes in this park are said to be some of the best in Florida, and there is a canoe rental service. Cyclists have access to several trails of varying levels. Fishing is also a popular activity.
Facilities throughout Suwannee State Park include picnic areas, campgrounds, cabin rentals, playgrounds, and exhibits detailing the history of the land from Paleo-Indian settlements along the river to the arrival of European explorers.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Live Oak, FL
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