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This Is the Oldest Inland Town in Florida — and It Offers a Different Kind of Sunshine State Vacation

Florida may be known for its stunning beaches and thrilling theme parks, but for travelers who dig a bit deeper, there’s much more to the Sunshine State than meets the eye. And the tiny town of Micanopy is proof of that.

Named after an honorable Seminole chief, Micanopy is believed to be Florida’s oldest inland town (settled in 1821) and also one of the smallest, encompassing just over one square mile with a population of about 650. But don’t let these stats fool you. What Micanopy lacks in size, it makes up for in character, offering a different kind of Florida vacation — steeped in history, eclectic antiquing, unexpected wildlife, and more.

Best Things to Do in Micanopy
Lined with 19th-century brick buildings and massive oak trees dripping in Spanish moss, Cholokka Boulevard is the heart of Micanopy and can easily provide a full day’s worth of entertainment with its cute cafes, art galleries, and shops brimming with secondhand books, vinyls, and other finds.

As the self-proclaimed antique capital of Florida, Micanopy is the perfect place to search for timeless treasures. After all, there’s a reason why it’s nicknamed “The Town That Time Forgot.” Delectable Collectables is a favorite among the more than dozen antique shops sprinkled throughout the town, especially on Cholokka Boulevard. Plus, shopkeepers in Micanopy are friendly and eager to share details not only about their own collections, but also about the town itself.

For a more formal overview of the town’s history, head to the Micanopy Historical Society Museum and Archives. With that context under your belt, continue your learning with a visit to the Micanopy Historic Cemetery, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Active travelers should take a break from shopping and strolling to explore the area’s hiking paths and state parks. Only minutes from the restaurants and antiques of Cholokka Boulevard, you can step into a different world along the trails at the Native American Heritage Preserve or Tuscawilla Preserve.

Venture a bit further, and you’ll find Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park just outside Micanopy. This state park offers nine trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding; an informative visitor center; campgrounds and RV parking; and opportunities for fishing and canoeing on Lake Wauburg, though you’ll have to bring your own equipment. Don’t miss the 50-foot observation tower, where you can admire the entire park and search for local wildlife, including bison, alligators, wild horses, and more than 300 species of birds.

Best Hotels in Micanopy

When it comes to accommodations in Micanopy, there’s one option that never disappoints: Herlong Mansion Bed & Breakfast. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this property offers a blast from the past in all the best ways possible. Four grand Corinthian columns frame the front entrance, welcoming guests to unwind under the front patio. There’s also a second-floor veranda with swing beds that are ideal for an afternoon nap or curling up with your favorite book.

Meanwhile, the interiors perfectly blend Victorian-era beauty with modern amenities throughout the property’s 13 rooms, suites, and cottages. Unsurprisingly, Micanopy’s friendly Southern hospitality also extends to the Herlong Mansion, where generous, usually three-course breakfasts are served every morning, as are freshly baked homemade cookies and wine in the evenings.

If Herlong Mansion is already booked during your trip, consider heading to nearby Gainesville. The college town is roughly 20 minutes away and has plenty to offer in terms of accommodations and entertainment.

Best Time to Visit Micanopy

Though most activities in Micanopy can be enjoyed all year round, the town’s central Florida location leaves it more susceptible to seasonal changes that are worth considering as you plan your visit.

The summer heat can get intense, with no sea breeze to help cool temperatures. However, there are many massive oak trees providing ample shade throughout the year. For cooler yet still warm temperatures, along with plenty of sun and peak flower blooms, spring is a wonderful time to visit Micanopy. Winter can get fairly cold by Florida standards, especially in the evenings, but for those from up north, it will still be an escape from true winter.

Arguably the best time to visit, however, is fall, when temperatures have just started to cool and the air is crisp yet still warm enough for a light jacket. What makes this season particularly special is the annual Micanopy Fall Festival in October. Join locals and visitors alike for this two-day arts and crafts festival, complete with music, craft vendors, a lively auction, and more.

Best Places to Eat and Drink
After a day of hiking and antique hunting, Micanopy’s eateries feel like receiving a big hug from an old friend, thanks to the warm, friendly service and delicious comfort food. Start your day with a tasty pastry at Mosswood Farm Store & Bakehouse. Certain menu items, like the fruit-filled turnovers, rotate seasonally, but other favorites include lemon squares, almond bear claws, and samosas (if you’re in a savory mood).

For lunch, grab a simple wrap or sandwich (the tuna salad is a favorite), or a soup and salad, at Coffee n’ Cream. As its name suggests, this place also serves up your daily dose of caffeine, and if you’d like a bit of dessert to go with it, you’ll find plenty of sweet treats, too.

For a heartier lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong with Pearl Country Store & Barbecue, which doles out meat by the pound and classic Southern sides like collard greens and potato salad. Pearl also offers filling breakfast options, while Old Florida Cafe is another popular spot open only for lunch.

For a slightly more elevated meal experience, head to Blue Highway a Pizzeria, which whips up tons of specialty pies and tasty paninis.

Getting to Micanopy
Visiting Micanopy requires going slightly off the beaten path. Out-of-state visitors can fly into Tampa International Airport and drive north for about two hours. International airports in Jacksonville and Orlando are also viable options, with both located roughly two hours from Micanopy.

Whether you opt for a road trip or arrive at one of these airports and rent a car, having private transportation is the easiest way to visit this quaint town.

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