Within it's borders Jackson County keeps the magic and beauty of the Florida found behind the billboards and beyond the glare of theme park lights.
A natural wonder few have discovered. Low rolling hills crowded by towering stands of pine and sprawling oaks are crisscrossed by a shimmering lacework of unspoiled waterways.
Meandering streams and rivers, crystal clear springs, vast lakes and quiet ponds endlessly feed the lush scenery, abundant wildlife and the dreams of sportmen and nature lovers everywhere.
Whether canoeing, tubing, diving, swimming, fishing, boating or camping, visitors soon discover Jackson County is literally dripping with outdoor recreation options.
Jackson County fishing stories are easy to believe. From the world-record shellcracker out of Merritt's Mill Pond, to the 79 species swimming the depths of Lake Seminole, Jackson County is a nationally known sport fishing favorite. From the boat or the bank, the winding Apalachicola River and Ocheesee Pond are equally popular places to drop a line for bluegill and feisty largemouth bass.
Canoe enthusiasts can explore one of Florida's most beautiful paddling trails on the mysterious Chipola River, or trade their paddle for an inner tube to splash down Spring Creek. River and creek beds alike often surrender arrowheads, mastodon teeth and other artifacts for the watchful eye. Two large natural springs - Blue Hole and Blue Spring - provide crystal clear refreshment for swimmers and divers alike.
Interstate 10 and U.S. Highways 231 and 90 put Jackson County well within an hour's drive of major airports in Tallahassee, Panama City and Dothan Alabama, and a municipal airport services private and charter aircraft. The county also has convenient Greyhound Bus service, as well as Amtrak service just minutes from the county line.
It's no surprise that the county's two major attractions are the natural kind, perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding, birding or cave exploring.
Named for the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers that merge to form the Apalachicola River below Lake Seminole, the 682-acre Three Rivers State Recreation Area lines two miles of the lake's southern shore at the Florida-Georgia border. Visitors enjoy nature trails, picnic areas and campgrounds, as well as a fishing dock, boat ramp and canoe rentals. While alligators and snapping turtles are commonly seen in the lake, the heavily forested park provides the ideal home for white-tailed deer, grey fox, bob-white quail and other native wildlife.
An attraction unique to Jackson County, the Florida Caverns State Park allows visitors a chance to tour the state's only walk-through cave system. Once used as shelter by aboriginal Indians, the caverns reveal an amazing world of black pools, brilliantly lit, jagged formations and dripping limestone stalactites.
Above ground, visitors can enjoy hiking and horseback riding trails, picnic and campgrounds, and swimming and canoeing to explore a diverse ecosystem of plant and wildlife. Wildflowers, trees and other plants more typical of the southern Appalachian Mountains of north Georgia are home to woodpeckers, barred owls, beavers, alligators, rare Barbour's map turtles, alligator snapping turtles and other species.
The state park is also home to one of the county's two nine-hole golf courses. Golfers of all skill levels can also enjoy the 18-hole championship course at Indian Springs Golf Club. All three courses are open to the public.
Established in 1822, Jackson County is as rich in history as it is in natural beauty. Along shaded avenues and down winding trails, visitors discover the rich and colorful heritage of the area in cities and towns such as Marianna, Graceville and Sneads. Elegant antebellum homes, sprawling plantations and farmland, Civil War battle sites and monuments all give a fascinating glimpse into the area's history, and the proud, pioneering spirit of it's people. Informative markers identify many of the sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
From the call of the wild to a call from the front desk, visitors can choose from a variety of accomodations, including hotels, bed and breakfasts and campgrounds. Adding an eclectic twist to the standard traveler's fare is a collection of creekside eateries, and small town cafes and diners, ideal for fueling appetites for the great outdoors.
For a true taste of local color, visitors can explore out-of-the-way antique and craft stores or wade into the steady stream of lively festivals and annual events. Whether it is bluegrass and handcrafts, or fireworks and rodeos, every visit to Jackson County is sure to be an eventful one.