Union County, FL

At 255 square miles, Union County prides itself on being the smallest county, in terms of area, in Florida.  Lake Butler, both the lake and its namesake town, are the centerpiece of the county. The lake is notable for its undeveloped shoreline.  Approximately 90 percent of the shoreline is surrounded by tall trees.  The town of Lake Butler is adjacent to the eastern shore of the lake.  Here one can find a rarity in Florida - freshwater beach.  Lakeside Park has, along with freshwater beach, a large playground and splash park.  It also has picnic tables and grills.  Lakeside Park is ideal for families looking for a day outing; however, do not plan to stay overnight as the county has no lodging accommodations.

Union County is also the western terminus of the Palatka - Lake Butler State Trail.  Approximately 4.1 miles of this off-road trail have been paved eastward from its terminus in Lake Butler.  It can also be walked.  The town also is home to a very nice local history museum which is near the rail trail.  The Union County Historical Museum, located in the Townsend Building, is one of the few remaining original buildings in town.  Museum hours are limited; however, a friendly volunteer will unlock the door for you if you call in advance.  Contact the town hall at (386) 496-3401 to make arrangements for a visit.

In addition to the Palatka - Lake Butler State Trail, the town is also the northern terminus of the 61-mile out-and-back Gainesville to Lake Butler bicycle route.  The route is known for being flat and fast due to the absence of turns, stop signs, and signalized intersections as well as the recent resurfacing of State Road 121, which now has striped bicycle lanes on its shoulders.