Take a Virtual Vacation to Lake Butler and Union County, Florida

Take A Break and Take a Virtual Vacation in Natural North Florida

Spring 2020 has brought a halt to Florida tourism, and tourism worldwide.. Our Visit Natural North Florida region has slowed, too, and with the restrictions of social distancing and travel we’re all dreaming of better times to come. And we hope that potential visitors, from near and far, take care of themselves, and dream of coming to visit us when the “fever” breaks. In the meantime, take some time to peruse our special “edition” of Virtual Vacations in Natural North Florida. This post is the third in that series. More, featuring highlights of our 15-county region will follow, each including links to local highlights, where “Nature Is Our Theme Park”

Union County Courthouse, Lake butler, FL
Lake Butler
View a short video about Lake Butler

Union County is a breath of fresh air, tucked between Alachua County and the University of Florida/Santa Fe College (70,000 students) and the Jacksonville/Duval County/Clay County/St. Johns metro area. Originally part of St. Johns/Duval and St. Johns counties, Union County is Florida’s smallest, with a total population of about 15,000. It was formally founded in 1921 with the city of Lake Butler as its county seat. Currently the main industry in the county is timber. Tourism plays a small part of the county’s income, but taking a drive up SR121 from Gainesville will show you some nice country roads, as well as the town and lake at Lake Butler.

Lake Butler

Lake Butler–a great place for a family outing
Historic home in Lake Butler

While in Lake Butler, park your car and take advantage of walking the downtown, which borders the lake. Visit the Townsend Museum, eat at Simmer Down or Laredo Mexican Restaurant, or just take in the beauty of the lake.

Simmer Down Restaurant is owned by a former NFL football player from Lake Butler and University of Florida- Gerard Warren. He played for the Browns, Oakland, and the Patriots
Simmer Down Restaurant is located lakeside, by the city park, boat ramp, and playground
The Palatka to Lake Butler Bike Trail Though still in development as a paved, multi-use recreational trail is situated in one of the most picturesque areas of the state. This state trail is warmly welcomed by this northeast Florida region for the enhanced quality of life and economic benefits it offers many small towns and communities.
The James W. Townsend House is a U.S. historic home in Lake Butler, Florida. It is located at 235 Southwest 4th Avenue, south of SR 100 . On February 29, 1996, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places .

The small town of Worthington Springs is at the southern end of the county/ The actual springs don’t flow these days, but the county park is an excellent spot to picnic or to launch canoes, kayaks or small boats on the Santa Fe River.

County Park, Worthington Sprints
The boat launch at Worthington Springs is just under the SR121/Santa Fe River bridge

We hope you have enjoyed this overview of one of our most popular regional communities. More specific posts will follow, featuring more details of the places and activities mentioned here.