Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
The Old Florida Heritage Highway
If you want a sample of historic Florida, you could do no better than taking a trip along The Old Florida Heritage Highway. The Highway is a forty-eight mile trail that commences south of Gainesville on U. S. 441, travels through Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and meanders through forests and countryside to the historic towns of Micanopy, Evinston and Cross Creek.
To sample a piece of Old Florida, a visit to Micanopy - the oldest inland town in Florida - is a must. It is here that you will really get a feel for the history and heritage as you walk amongst the old Florida bungalow homes, old-fashioned cafés, antique shops and stately, shade-giving oak trees. One of Micanopy’s claims to fame is that the film “Doc Hollywood” starring Michael J Fox was shot here. The cafés and restaurants alone are worth the trip!
While motoring along the looped trail, if you have the time I would recommend a visit the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, which is located roughly ten miles to the east of U. S. 441 in Cross Creek. Here is another place in which to reconnect with the past as you wander the historic home and farmland where Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Yearling, lived and worked.
Only a few miles north of Micanopy along U. S. 441, you can stop and stretch your legs (again! ) at Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park. This park has a national reputation for its wealth and assortment of wildlife, including buffalo within it’s 21, 000-acres. The park also features superb recreational activities, hiking, biking, and horseback riding to name but a few.
Many activities await both the cycle and pedestrian travellers of the Old Florida Heritage Highway, with the byway area being a haven for those who like to leave the car behind and explore by foot or bicycle. Olympic time trials are often held in the area and visitors can enjoy the Gainesville/Hawthorn State Trail, a paved seventeen-mile multi-use path.
The months November to March are considered the Old Florida Heritage Highway's busy season because of snowbirds and other visitors trying to escape the cold winters.
As with many parts of Florida, the loveliest times to visit the Old Florida Heritage Highway are from April to May and September to November, due to the most pleasant weather and the fact that there are generally fewer visitors to the region at these times.
Access to the U. S. 441 is from I-75. Take the SR 331/Williston Road exit and head south, or from the Micanopy/C. R. 234 exit to head north along the trail.
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