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Your guide to Lake City
All About Lake City
Lake City is a small town regarded as the Gateway to Florida, thanks to its northern location midway between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. Although its name might imply there’s only one lake in the community, you’ll find several bodies of water fed by clear freshwater springs here, making the town a popular spot for all sorts of water and lakeside activities. Anglers come to try their luck in the local pools and streams, which are home to white bass, sunfish, and pickerel. Kayakers launch into the wetlands near Alligator Park or picnic on the shores. The town also makes a great starting point for exploring Columbia County and Northern Florida, where you’ll discover state and local parks threaded with hiking and biking trails and abundant freshwater sources like Ichetucknee Springs, famous for its warm-water tubing.
Downtown Lake City centers on Marion Street, featuring shops, eateries, and several renovated historic buildings, including a famous hotel that has hosted numerous musicians and other celebrities. The town’s sense of community revolves around a creative atmosphere, with live music, art exhibitions, and a growing brewery scene.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Lake City?
Like the rest of Florida, Lake City has a humid, subtropical climate. It can be hot in summer, with strong sunshine. Sun-worshippers may choose to visit between June and September, while spring temperatures are comfortably warm. If you plan to visit during this time of year, you may want to consider reserving your Lake City vacation rental for Memorial Weekend. Each May, the Florida Folk Festival takes place in White Springs, just over 10 miles from Lake City, and features live music, traditional craft demonstrations, and a children’s music and play area.
Visiting in mid-October will allow you to take in the Alligator Warrior Festival, a celebration of the Seminole commander, Alligator Warrior, who lived in the area, with music, living history displays and demonstrations, and food and crafts.
What are the top things to do in Lake City?
Gateway Art Gallery
Gateway Art Gallery is a nonprofit community arts organization and a creative hub featuring works by local artists inspired by the Lake City region. The gallery showcases paintings, photography, carvings, and stained glass. You can also learn new artistic techniques at one of the regular workshops.
Less than 20 miles from Lake City, Ichetucknee Springs has crystal-clear water ripe for exploring. You can try canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or even tubing here. Fed by nine springs, the river is as clean as the turquoise waters would suggest, and the current will guide you past woodlands of oaks, pines, and maples. Plenty of wildlife species call the springs home, including wading birds, turtles, otters, and deer.
Columbia County Historical Museum
Located in an original 1870s house, Columbia County Historical Museum features a quirky collection of artifacts and memorabilia. Each room represents a different era in local history, with relics, heirlooms, and exhibitions telling stories of times past. You can book a guided visit, or take part in historical scavenger hunts, storytelling events, and even craft workshops.