Well, the time in Orlando is over already, but the journey has just begun!
Day 7: Gainesville & Tallahassee
It´s time to move on to our next destination, the Capitol of Florida: Tallahassee.
In front of us lays a long car ride. From Orlando to Tallahassee, there are about 257 miles (413 km) and almost 4 hours to go, and we thought that it would be a good idea to stop by somewhere on the way. Even if it´s to have a short break for lunch and maybe we find something interesting to look at.
Gainesville & Devils Millhopper Geological State Park
The next big city on that route is Gainesville. We didn´t have that much time, so we decided to focus on one landmark only.
The Devils Millhopper Geological State Park was our choice. A small but nice and interesting place with its sandy terrain, pine forests and a bowl-shaped 120 feet deep sinkhole.
It was an excellent choice to stop here and fill up our energy tanks by walking through the cool forest and climbed down to the very bottom of the sinkhole. It helped a lot to get ready to go back to the hot car and drive for two more hours.
Finally, we arrived in Tallahassee*. As late as it was already, we checked in to the hotel and rested for a while. We worked a bit on our blogs and checked some e-mails. Both of us were tired so that we only looked for something sweet to eat and fell into our beds afterward.
Day 8: Tallahassee & Defuniak Springs
Wake up in the morning, full of energy and ready for the upcoming day. We started with a tasty “breakfast” with a hot coconut milk mocha macchiato for me and went straight to the new capitol building. They opened parts of the building for the public; especially the 22nd floor is free to visit and has a breathtaking 360-degree view of Tallahassee and its surroundings. With good weather and eyes, you even could see the Gulf of Mexico from there. Because I didn´t manage to visit the state capitol within operating hours three years ago, I was more than happy that we made this time. 😀
The next place to visit was the Mission of San Luis, one of the most spectacular and beautiful missions I have seen so far. My personal favorite of this day. I loved this place already when I visited three years ago, and I still love it today. I recommend coming to visit when you´re around. And for five dollars per person, it is more than reasonable. The mission is worth more than that.
The Mission San Luis was the last stop for this day in Tallahassee. We wanted to end up in Pensacola to stay there for more than one night and have enough time for the beach.
We did not take the route alongside the coast because we would drive it later. That is why we chose the I-10 heading West. It always feels a bit desperate, when you have about 200 miles straight ahead, it feels like forever. Fortunately, there were a couple of beautiful places, which we could visit.
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
The first stop was at the Ponce de Leon Springs State Park. Usually, it is possible to swim in the clear water of the spring or have a little walk alongside several trails. Unfortunately, the days and nights before it stormed and rained a lot so that the half of the park was flooded. It wasn´t allowed to swim in the spring nor possible to walk on one of the pathways. But it was still good enough to put our feet into the fresh water. Too bad, that it was not open for swimmingthat day. I believe that this could be a cool place to hang out with family and friends on hot summer days.
Defuniak Springs & Lake Defuniak
Next highlight and welcome further break on this long driving tour to Pensacola. Defuniak Springs, a small town with a lake in its center. The lake is “one of the two almost perfectly spring fed round lakes in the world.”
We walked a little bit alongside the lake and drove around two times. Around the lake, there are a lot of historic homes and buildings dated back to early 1900. Many of them already renovated and restored, but some needed a little bit of “attention.” Anyways, they are lovely and pretty and worth to watch. With the historic downtown and the old train station, which is a museum nowadays, this little town is a beautiful place to spend a couple of moments and have a break from driving.
Day 20 – Miami