Madison County, FL

Offering a beautiful country backdrop to history, culrue and nature gives Madison County a reason to boast "Our Attraciton is Only Natural."  Madison County is bordered on three sides by rivers; the Aucilla River to the west, the Withlacoochee to the north and east, and the Suwannee River to the southeast.  The rivers provide excellent paddling and fishing opportunities.  The Madison Blue Springs State Park, a first magnitude spring located on the eastern border of the county on the Withlacoochee River, was voted the best swimming hole in the United States by the USA Today’s Reader’s Choice Award 

Bicyclists will like Madison County  The 25-mile out-and-back Four Freedoms Trail, a paved, grade-separated multi-use path allows visitors to walk or bicycle from the town of Madison to the Withlacoochee River at the Florida-Georgia line,  Madison County also features a marked 100-mile loop bicycle ride.  The “Loop” is an on-road route which has been in existence for over 25 years.  Many bicycling groups have held organized rides of the Loop over the years.  Additionally, U.S. Highway 90 which bisects the county is part of the American Cycling Association Southern Tier, Section 7 of its Coast to Coast bicycle route.

The town of Madison, which serves as the county seat, presents itself as though it were straight out of Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.  It isn't, of course, but it is one of the cutest towns in Florida.  The town has a historic district comprised of restored homes and downtown buildings.  A walking guide to the historic district is available here.

The downtown is vibrant and lined with antique shops, locally-owned eateries and two museums.  Madisoin also has a downtown community playhous which regulrarly hosts plays and old movies.  The town is also home to North Florida College.  The college features events and activities which help enline the community cultural scene.

The town hosts an annual Downhome Days festival andparade in mid-April which features music, crafts and a street dance.  Madison also hosts a Christmas parade and tree lighting event in late November.  the event includes a variety of activities, entertainment and, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Accommodations inlcude the Unity House Bed and Breakfast, located in downtown Madison as well as the nearby Best Western Plus, Days Inn, and a Super 8.  Campers and those with recreational vehicles will find pleasing accommodations at Yugi Bear Jellystone Park Camp/Resort and the Deerwood Inn.

The town of Greenville, located 14 miles west of Madison, is the birthplace of Ray Charles, the world-famous singer and compser.  A statue has been erected in the town park in his honor and his birth home has been converted into a museum.  Greenville is also home to the charming Grace Manor bed and breakfast.  The historical importance of Greenville to the area is suggested by looking at a map.  Imagine the time before insterstate highways.  If you can, you will see that every paved road leasds to Greenville.

Madison County isn't just the kind of place to spend a day or even two.  It is just the kind of place in which to stay forever.