Union County has been a long-time stomping ground for outdoor enthusiasts and explorers alike. It’s home to an assortment of fresh-water lakes, rural flatland and woodland forests, which allow for perfect one-day trip adventures. The charming cities of Union County also accommodate fine dining and retail-shop seekers, and its centralized location makes the county easily accessible to those navigating northern Florida. Here’s a one-day trip guide that highlights the best of what Union County has to offer:
Lakeside Park Along Lake Butler
Union County is home to Lake Butler, a one-mile wide body of water located in the heart of north Florida. The lake is full of fresh-water bass and other aquatic life, and offers visitors the opportunity for various outdoor, water-based activities, including fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and even taking out small flats fishing boats at their leisure.
Alongside Lake Butler’s shoreline is Lakeside Park, a perfect destination for outdoor backyard barbecuing. The park’s picturesque backdrop is both charming and iconic, and it’s classified as one of Florida’s best locations for Fourth of July celebrations. The park not only offers picnic tables, a gazebo and cookout amenities for family and friend gatherings, but it also offers a large, aquatic playground area for children called Splash Park, which is open from 8 a.m. to dusk and is suitable for children 12 and under.
Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail
Union County boasts to one of the most well-known trails in Florida called the Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail. It’s a multi-use recreational trail, covering nearly 47 miles from State Route 238 in Lake Butler to west of US 17 in Palatka. The trail is an ideal path for bikers, inline skaters, runners, walkers and horseback riders looking to explore north Florida.
The Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail is accessible at several different locations. Its path is both paved and unpaved, allowing visitors to enjoy several scenic Florida counties all from under the shade of generous greenery and tree canopies. The course is easily navigable and well kept, which is perfect for families and outdoor explorers. Additionally, the Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail features various natural and historical elements. It winds alongside several ponds, creeks and pastures with restrooms and small shops along the way for traveler convenience.
Union County has many lodging accommodations for visitors traveling along Interstate 75. In terms of campgrounds and RV lodging, Union County offers the Casey Jones Campgrounds, E-Z Stop RV Park, High Springs Campground and the Travelers Campground. A few campground located near the east end of State Road 301 include the Bradford Motel & Campground, as well as the Starke/Gainesville NE KOA. Hotels located near Union County include the Best Western Starke, Days Inn Starke and Super 8 Lake City.