The first time I visited Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park (about 15 miles south of Tallahassee) I remember two things very clearly: There were deer walking along the quiet road that led to the lodge and I had seldom seen deer before and the 1937 Spanish Mediterranean-style lodge was one of the most beautiful hotels I’d ever seen.

There’s so much to see that I think Wakulla Springs State Park should be on every traveler’s itinerary. Especially as it marks its 75th anniversary.

Certainly off the beaten path it’s also one of the most interesting places in Florida. Not only is the natural spring here the largest in Florida (260 million gallons of crystal clear water are gushing out of it every day) but as a state park it also offers the aforementioned 1930s lodge an authentic soda fountain (order the ginger yip!) a dining room hotel rooms swimming in the spring narrated river tours with a naturalist and perhaps best of all a history that stretches back far enough to include a 25 000-year-old mastodon skeleton (now on display at the state museum in Tallahassee) and film immortality through ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ and Tarzan films.

History recreation nature and lodging. It’s all here waiting for you in one of Florida’s finest off the beaten path destinations.

(And don't miss Tallahassee either!)

A soda fountain at Wakulla Springs State Park

Thirsty? Order a ginger yip from the authentic 1930s soda fountain.

- Florida State Parks

Wakulla Lodge at Wakulla Springs State Park

The historic Wakulla Lodge -- a wonderful place to spend the evening in Old Florida...

- Florida State Parks