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Florida is a popular destination for tourists and travelers alike. Many visitors drive directly to their vacation destination. But getting off the highway allows you to see things in the cities located along the highways including I-10 in Florida.
On our road trips not only in Florida, but throughout the USA, we have found so many cool things we would not have been able to see if we didn’t get off the highway.
Sometimes traffic jams can work in your favor when your GPS reroutes you. One such attraction is the historic town of Monticello, located just a few miles south of I-10.
This charming town is home to several antebellum homes, including the historic Perkins Opera House and the Monticello Old Jail Museum.
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Visitors can also explore the town’s quaint downtown area, which is filled with unique shops and restaurants.
Another off-the-highway destination worth visiting is the Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park, located just a short drive from I-10. Perfect for history buffs.
This park is home to the site of a Civil War battle and features several hiking trails, a museum, and a reconstructed fort. Visitors can also explore the park’s sinkholes and natural bridge, which is one of the largest in the world.
Why You Should Take Time to Get Off the Highway
Many of us are always in a hurry. Rushing to get from one place to the next without taking time to stop and smell the roses.
When traveling on I-10 in Florida, it can be tempting to stay on the highway and get to your destination as quickly as possible. But there are many reasons why taking the time to get off the highway and explore the surrounding areas can be a worthwhile experience.
Firstly, getting off the highway allows you to experience the local culture and way of life. Florida has a rich history and diverse population, and by exploring the smaller towns and cities along I-10, you can gain a deeper understanding of the state’s unique character.
You can also discover local restaurants, shops, and attractions that you wouldn’t find if you stayed on the highway.
Secondly, getting off the highway can lead to unexpected discoveries and adventures. There are many hidden gems in Florida that can only be found by exploring off the beaten path.
For example, you might stumble upon a beautiful nature reserve, a charming historic district, or a quirky roadside attraction that you wouldn’t have seen if you stayed on the highway.
Lastly, getting off the highway can be a more relaxing and enjoyable way to travel. Driving on the highway for long periods of time can be tiring and stressful, but taking breaks to explore the surrounding areas can break up the monotony and make the journey more enjoyable.
Plus, you can stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy the scenery. The rest area in the Osceola National Forest Rest Area I-10 East MM 318 has a short hiking trail located directly behind the eastbound rest area.
Overall, taking the time to get off the highway when traveling on I-10 in Florida can be a rewarding experience.
By exploring the local culture, discovering hidden gems, and enjoying a more relaxing journey, you can make your trip more memorable and enjoyable.
What to See in Jacksonville off I-10
Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida, offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to explore. Here are some of the top things to see in Jacksonville off I-10.
Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that rescues and provides a permanent home for big cats, such as tigers, lions, and leopards.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the sanctuary and see the animals up close in their habitats. The tours are educational and informative, providing insight into the lives of these majestic creatures.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is home to over 2,000 animals and 1,000 species of plants.
Visitors can explore the different exhibits, including the African Savannah, Wild Florida, and the Range of the Jaguar. The zoo also offers interactive experiences, such as feeding giraffes and stingrays.
Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is a cultural institution that showcases art and gardens from around the world.
Visitors can view over 5,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The museum also features three historic gardens, including an Italian garden, an English garden, and a Florida native plant garden.
Little Talbot Island State Park
Little Talbot Island State Park is a natural oasis located just off I-10. The park features five miles of pristine beaches, as well as hiking trails, fishing spots, and picnic areas.
Stop and see Black Rock Beach or explore the park’s unique ecosystems, including salt marshes, dunes, and maritime forests.
Kingsley Plantation is a historic site that offers a glimpse into Florida’s past. The plantation was once a thriving sugar plantation and is now a National Historic Landmark.
Visitors can tour the plantation house, slave quarters, and other historic structures, as well as learn about the lives of the people who lived and worked on the plantation.
What to See in Maclenny off I-10
Maclenny is a small town located just off I-10 in Baker County, Florida. While it may not be the most well-known destination in Florida, there are a few interesting things to see and do in the area.
One of the most popular attractions in Maclenny is the Heritage Park Village. This outdoor museum features a collection of historic buildings that have been restored and preserved.
Enjoy a self-guided tour of the village and learn about the history of the area. Some of the buildings include an old schoolhouse, a general store, and a church.
For those who enjoy spending time in nature, the St. Mary’s Shoals Park is a must-see.
This park is located just a short drive from Maclenny off I-10 and offers visitors the opportunity to explore a beautiful natural area. The park features hiking trails, picnic areas, and fishing spots.
If you’re interested in learning about the local history, the Baker County Historical Society Museum is worth a visit. This small museum features exhibits on the history of the area, including displays on the Civil War and the timber industry.
Finally, if you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, the Olustee Depot Antiques and Collectibles is a great place to visit. This antique shop is housed in an old train depot and features a wide variety of antique and vintage items.
What to See in Lake City off I-10
Lake City is a charming town located in the northern part of Florida, just off I-10. It is a great place to stop and explore if you are looking to get off the highway and see some of the local sights. Here are some of the top things to see in Lake City:
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park is a must-see attraction for history buffs. It is the site of Florida’s largest Civil War battle and features a museum, walking trails, and a reenactment held annually in February.
Visitors can learn about the battle and its impact on the region and the country.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Farther inland off I-10 in Florida, is Ichetucknee Springs State Park. This is a beautiful natural area with crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and tubing.
The park also has hiking trails, picnic areas, and a campground. It is a great place to spend a day enjoying the Florida sunshine and nature.
There are several other natural springs nearby to check out before you jump back on I-10.
Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum
The Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum is a small but interesting museum that showcases the history of the area.
Visitors can learn about the town’s founding, early industries, and notable residents. The museum also has exhibits on the Civil War, Native American history, and local agriculture.
Lake DeSoto Farmers Market
Also in Lake City on US 90 off I-10, the Lake DeSoto Farmers Market is a great place to stop for fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious food.
The market is open on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm and features a variety of vendors. Visitors can sample local honey, baked goods, and other treats while supporting local businesses.
Alligator Lake Park
Alligator Lake Park is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and hiking. The park has a boat ramp, fishing pier, and several trails that wind through the woods and around the lake.
Visitors can spot wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and birds while enjoying the natural beauty of the area either by kayaking or hiking.
What to See in Live Oak off I-10 in Florida
Live Oak is a small town located in Suwannee County, Florida, just a few miles off I-10. Despite its size, Live Oak offers visitors a variety of attractions and activities that are worth exploring. Here are some of the top things to see in Live Oak:
Suwannee River State Park
Suwannee River State Park is a beautiful park that features hiking trails, picnic areas, and camping sites. The park is located on the banks of the Suwannee River, which is known for its clear water and scenic views.
Visitors can enjoy fishing, canoeing, and kayaking on the river, or take a guided riverboat tour. The park also has a museum that showcases the history of the area.
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is a popular destination for music lovers. This park is located on US 129 between I-75 and I-10.
The park hosts a variety of music festivals throughout the year, including the Suwannee River Jam, which is one of the largest country music festivals in the Southeast. The park also features a restaurant, a general store, and cabins for rent.
Big Shoals State Park
Big Shoals State Park is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts. This state park as well as Big Shoals State Forest are located in White Springs.
The park is home to the largest whitewater rapids in Florida, which can be seen from an observation deck. Visitors can also hike or bike along the park’s trails, or go horseback riding. The park has picnic areas and camping sites as well.
Live Oak may be a small town, but it has plenty to offer visitors who are looking for a break from the highway. Cute restaurants too located in downtown Live Oak.
What to See in Madison off I-10
Madison is a small town located in the northern part of Florida, just off I-10. Despite its size, it has a rich history and plenty of things to see and do.
Here are a few highlights to check out:
Four Freedoms Trail
The Four Freedoms Trail is a 12.5-mile paved trail that runs through the heart of Madison. It’s perfect for a leisurely bike ride or a jog. Along the way, you’ll see historic markers and learn about the town’s history.
The trail is named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech, which he gave in 1941.
Treasures of Madison County Museum
The Treasures of Madison County Museum is a small but fascinating museum that showcases the history of Madison County.
It’s located in the old jailhouse and features exhibits on the area’s Native American history, the Civil War, and more. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Now Ragans family Campground
If you’re traveling with kids, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park which is now Ragans Family Campground is a must-visit.
This family-friendly campground has tons of activities, including a water park, mini-golf, and a playground. You can even rent a cabin or RV site if you want to stay overnight.
Madison Blue Springs State Park
Madison Blue Springs State Park is a beautiful park located just a few miles outside of town. It’s known for its crystal-clear water and is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
There are also hiking trails and picnic areas if you want to spend the whole day there.
What to See in Tallahassee/Monticello off I-10
Tallahassee and Monticello are two cities that are worth a visit when traveling off I-10 in Florida. Here are some of the highlights that visitors can enjoy:
- Florida State Capitol: The Florida State Capitol building is a must-see attraction in Tallahassee. Visitors can take a guided tour of the building and learn about the history of Florida’s government.
- Tallahassee Museum: The Tallahassee Museum is a great place to learn about the natural and cultural history of Florida. The museum features exhibits on Florida’s wildlife, Native American history, and pioneer life.
- Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park: This beautiful park is located just a few miles outside of Tallahassee. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, picnic areas, and a stunning display of blooming flowers in the spring. So pretty, you’ll be glad you stopped and stretched your legs.
- Monticello Opera House: The Monticello Opera House is a historic building that has been restored and is now used for performances and events. Visitors can enjoy live music, theater, and more.
- Jefferson County Courthouse: The Jefferson County Courthouse is a beautiful building that was built in 1909. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the building and learn about its history.
- Monticello Vineyards & Winery: This winery is located just outside Monticello and offers tastings of their award-winning wines. Visitors can also enjoy a tour of the vineyards and learn about the winemaking process.
What to See in Marianna off I-10
Marianna is a small town located in the Florida Panhandle, about 60 miles west of Tallahassee. It is a charming town with a rich history and plenty of things to see and do.
Here are some of the top attractions to check out off I-10 in Marianna:
Florida Caverns State Park
The Florida Caverns State Park is a must-see attraction in Marianna. It is home to some of the most beautiful and unique cave formations in the state.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the caves and see stalactites, stalagmites, and other fascinating geological features. The park also offers hiking trails, fishing, and camping. A fantastic stop.
The Russ House is a historic home that has been turned into a museum. It was built in 1895 and is a great example of Victorian architecture.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the home and learn about its history and the people who lived there.
Jackson Blue Springs Recreation Area
The Jackson Blue Springs Recreation Area is a beautiful park located just outside of Marianna. It is home to a crystal-clear spring that is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The park also offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and camping. Reopens in May.
Battle of Marianna Site
The Battle of Marianna Site is a historic battlefield that played a significant role in the Civil War. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the site and learn about the battle and its impact on the town.
Chipola River Canoe Trail
The Chipola River Canoe Trail is a scenic waterway that is perfect for canoeing and kayaking. It offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and is home to a variety of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, and birds.
What to See in Fort Walton off I-10
Fort Walton Beach is a beautiful city located in the Okaloosa County of Florida. It is situated just off I-10 and has a lot to offer to tourists who are looking for a break from the highway.
Here are some of the things that visitors can see and do in Fort Walton:
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is a must-visit destination for families and marine life enthusiasts. The park is home to a wide variety of animals, including dolphins, sea lions, turtles, and sharks.
Visitors can watch live shows, interact with the animals, and learn about marine conservation efforts.
Okaloosa Island is a beautiful barrier island located just off the coast of Fort Walton Beach. The island is known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning sunsets. Visitors can go swimming, fishing, boating, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun.
Indian Temple Mound Museum
The Indian Temple Mound Museum is a fascinating destination for history buffs and archaeology enthusiasts. The museum is located on a prehistoric Native American temple mound and features exhibits that showcase the history of the region.
Visitors can see artifacts, learn about the culture of the Native Americans, and explore the beautiful grounds of the museum.
Emerald Coast Science Center
The Emerald Coast Science Center is a fun and educational destination for families with children. An educational break for everyone.
The center features interactive exhibits that teach visitors about science, technology, engineering, and math. Visitors can learn about space, robotics, physics, and more.
Air Force Armament Museum
The Air Force Armament Museum is a must-visit destination for aviation enthusiasts. The museum features a wide variety of aircraft, missiles, and bombs that have been used by the United States Air Force throughout history.
Visitors can see planes like the F-15 Eagle, the B-17 Flying Fortress, and the SR-71 Blackbird.
Take Time to Stop and See Things You Would Not See Otherwise on Your Road Trip
Life truly goes by in the blink of an eye. All of us need to get off the fast-paced, merry-go-round lifestyle we are living and take time to experience new places and things along the way.
I like to use Booking for booking not only my hotels, but my tickets and rental cars as well. Makes life so much easier with only having to log into one location for my information.
Be sure to grab my travel tips to save you time and money. You’ll also be entered into the weekly drawings.
Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH. Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise