When visitors come to Natural North Florida, they’re often surprised to find rolling hills and historic towns with no beaches or amusement parks. However, a drive across Florida’s Jefferson and Madison counties can easily change your perception of our little-known and lightly-traveled region.
US90 is a major American highway. In fact, it begins in California and ends at the Atlantic Ocean on Florida’s eastern coast. But since the building of Interstate Highway 10 in the 1960’s, it’s become more of a local route, taking travelers “back in time”.
We recommend you begin your tour at the western boundary of Jefferson County, at Lake Miccosukee. There’s a small boat ramp on western edge of the lake where you’ll get a good look at a primeval Florida cypress swamp.
Traveling east you’ll soon arrive in historic Monticello, the county seat of Jefferson County. There, park your car and take a walk through downtown. Visit the Opera House, check out some of the local Bed and Breakfast Inns, or browse through some of the many antique and specialty shops. And then have a lunch at Tupelo’s Bakery and Cafe, Rancho Grande, or the new Rev Cafe.
Following US90 east from Monticello, you’ll soon arrive in Greenville. No longer the rail stop it was in the last century, Greenville was the childhood home of legendary musician Ray Charles. Be sure to see the statue of Charles in the city park.
And if you’re in the mood for a stop, spend the night at the town’s remaining bed and breakfast inn, Grace Manor.
Your next stop on this adventure is in the historic town of Madison, the county seat of Madison County.
In Madison, don’t miss taking a walking tour of this lively town, and pay special attention the the Four Freedoms Monument that’s across US90 from the courthouse.
Your last stop in your journey through Jefferson and Madison counties will take you just off US90, east up State Road 6 to Madison Blue Spring State Park.
One of Florida’s newest state parks, Madison Blue Springs State Park is an excellent example of our abundance of freshwater springs that pump clean, clear, 72-degree F water all year long. There, you can picnic or take a dip into the spring or the adjacent Withlacoochee River.
This easy driving trip can be done in one day–maybe two if you plan to stay in one of the towns along the way. You can find information on both counties, as well as the local towns using the following links: