Spend The Night and Spread Your Wings From Perry, Florida

Perry, in Florida’s Taylor County, is known as the “Forest Capitol of the World”. And rightly so, as for many years the smell of the local paper mill was the giveaway that this small city was more important than just a “wide spot in the highway”. But now, with the Foley mill is now turning locally-harvested pine trees into raw cellulose, used to make absorbent paper products, It seems the days of the Kraft paper bag is over–and all the better for Perry.

Much of Perry’s success as a great town to visit goes to the leadership and activity of the Perry/Taylor County Chamber of Commerce. It seems like there’s always a good reason to come downtown, to the Forest Capitol Museum State Park or the Gulf coast.

I may be giving away my age, but Perry wasn’t always the booming metropolis is is today. My best childhood friend’s dad was a Florida State Senator from Pinellas County, Each year, as the legislature went into session, they’d all load up the car and head north from St. Pete to Tallahassee, the state capitol. Unlike now, with lots of good roads, even US19 was rough and tumble and the drive slow and hot. And to break up the trip, they usually stopped just short of their destination and rental house, and spent the night in Perry. I think there was only one motel in those days, but times have changed. Now there are many choices, at all levels of price and convenience.

Hampton Inn Perry Hotel ·  · 548 on TripAdvisor2399 S Byron Butler Pkwy, Perry, FL · (850) 223-3000

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Perry Hotel ·  · 92 on TripAdvisor601 Everett Way, Perry, FL · (850) 584-3200

Royal Inn MotelMotel, Hotel ·  · 227 on TripAdvisor1829 S Byron Butler Pkwy, Perry, FL · (850) 584-75654

Rodeway Inn Hotel ·  · 60 on TripAdvisor2238 S Byron Butler Pkwy, Perry, FL · (850) 584-4221

Econo Lodge Hotel, Motel ·  · 74 on TripAdvisor2220 US Highway 19 S, Perry, FL · (850) 584-6231

Not only are there good lodging choices in Perry, but you’ll also find plenty of good eats, ranging from sit-down to fast food. Two local favorites are Mama’s Italian Family Restaurant on US19.98 and Backdoor Bistro And Coffeehouse on Jefferson Street.

For a real Florida treat, don’t miss lunch or dinner at Deals Famous Oyster House, just west of town on US98.
Grits, fried oysters, and hushpuppies–OH MY!
I’m sure there will be some arguments to the contrary, but I consider the donuts at Johnson’s Bakery, downtown on Jefferson Street, to be the best in the United States. Eat a few and tell me different!

Taylor County is physically pretty large, and Perry sits mid-county. Three major roads radiate from Perry. US19/98 enters from the south and splits, with US19 heading north towards Capps and then on to Monticello. US98 heads west from town towards St. Marks, in Wakulla County. And US27 heads north and west to Tallahassee, Florida’s capital.

But…don’t leave Perry yet! There’s plenty to see and expericence, including a walk through downtown, a visit to the museum and and homestead display at the Forest Capitol Museum State Park, or a day at one of the many festivals and community gatherings.

Forest Capitol Museum State Park

BeerFest is fun for the adult crowd!
Professional and semi-pro BBQ chefs gather in Perry for many cook-off events
Music can be found at many of Perry’s festival events. Bluegrass, country and rock are all represented!

Once you’ve “experienced” Perry, take a trip to Taylor County’s long Gulf of Mexico coastline. Rent a boat at Steinhatchee’s Sea Hag Marina or hire a guide at River Haven Marina. Taylor’s coastline is renowned for the annual bay scallop harvest, as well as fin-fishing for redfish and spotted seatrout.

And when you get hungry eat a meal at Roy’s Restaurant or McDavid Cafe, both in Steinhatchee.

Early morning on the grass flats, near Steinhatchee
Taylor County’s pristine grass flats and crystal clear water make bay scalloping a summertime adventure for kids of all ages.

In spite of being a rural town and county, Perry and the outlying areas offer plenty to see and do, in our Natural North Florida region.

For more information, including festival schedules , check out the Taylor County website.