20 Best Things to Do in Lake City, FL

Lake City, FL
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Located in Florida, Lake City is a nature lover’s paradise.

It is an ideal vacation destination that offers the perfect mix of nature, history, and culture.

Lake City is home to numerous beautiful parks, mesmerizing rivers, charming creeks, and scenic lakes that provide opportunities for a vast array of nature-based recreational activities, such as hiking, swimming, snorkeling, tubing, kayaking, canoeing, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, birding, picnicking, and so much more.

Explore fascinating history at the museums and historic battlefield sites, appreciate nature’s beauty, experience the incredible local culture at vibrant festivals, gorge on delicious food, go on water adventures, and explore the wilderness in this heavenly city.

This is indeed the ideal place to book your next holiday and see nature.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here’s a list of the best things to do while vacationing in Lake City, Florida:

Fishing in Lake DeSoto

View of Lake DeSoto
Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This site features a mesmerizing lake and sprawling greenery.

It is popular for hiking, biking, running, birding, picnicking, and fishing.

The tranquil environment and the exquisite natural beauty make this place perfect for a refreshing evening walk.

Enjoy a good book under the shade of a tree or watch the beautiful birds and waterfowl.

Memorial at Lake DeSoto
Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bring along a delicious meal to enjoy with your friends and family.

The lake is home to numerous fish and attracts myriads of anglers.

Spend a relaxing day here and unwind.

The view of the sunset from this lake is absolutely spectacular.

Go Hiking in Alligator Lake Park

This picturesque park is a top-rated tourist attraction in Lake City.

It features miles of verdant hiking trails, lush foliage, a mesmerizing lake, wetlands, picnic areas, a playground, and so much more.

It provides opportunities for a vast array of nature-based recreational activities.

Enjoy an invigorating hike or run on the nature trails, explore the lake waters by canoeing and kayaking, listen to the sounds of nature, view the diverse wildlife, and relish a delicious picnic with your friends and family against the scenic backdrops.

It is an ideal place to take a break from the mundane and monotonous daily routine and escape into nature.

Watch RC Car Racing at Southside RC Raceway

For the ultimate RC experience with your other 3rd racing friends and family, head on down to Southside RC Raceway.

The facility is home to some fast-paced, hard-hitting RC racing.

If you'd rather stay out of harm's way but still want to catch all the thrills, there's no better place for you than at Southside RC Raceway.

You can walk around if you're not up at bat yourself, kick back in one of the many bleachers or up in one of our state-of-the-art towers, and watch from a distance.

Or you can beat some sand while you're watching!

Watch a Parade at Olustee Battle Festival

Food stalls at Olustee Battle Festival
Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This annual festival is one of the biggest events in Lake City.

It includes an arts and crafts market, featuring more than 200 vendors, mouth-watering food stalls, carnival rides, a vibrant parade, live musical performances, dances, pony rides, a re-enactment of the Battle of Olustee, artillery firing, Civil War memorial service, pig races, bouncy houses, health runs, and so much more.

The 3-day festival takes place every year in the second week of February and attracts myriads of visitors.

The parade features horses, wagons, carriages, vintage cars, artillery, and more.

Watch the parade, try out the various fun activities, have a thrilling experience on the rides, enjoy great music at the concerts, take part in the health runs, gorge on delicious desserts, explore beautiful artistic works at the art market, and watch the lively and fascinating re-enactment of the Civil War battle.

Shop Fresh and Local Produce at Fifth Generation Farms

This is the perfect place to go shopping for farm-fresh produce and catch a glimpse of the incredible local culture.

You will find fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, poultry products, desserts, snacks, wines, beer, handicrafts, body care products, candles, books, tea, curd, baked goods, and so much more.

All the products offered for sale are sourced from local farms and producers.

The place also features a café where you can sit back and relax while enjoying a delicious coffee.

It is open from Monday to Friday between 10 am and 6 pm and on Saturdays between 9 am and 6 pm.

The market and café are closed on Sundays.

Try the Hot Stone Massage at Elemental Massage

Elemental Massage is a professional massage place at 25 SE Baya Dr. Suite 101, Lake City, Florida.

If you're looking for an oasis of calm, you're in luck.

With professional service and a comfortable atmosphere, Elemental Massage is the new premier massage provider in Lake City.

Each therapist knows exactly how to diagnose your problem and is prepared with a number of treatment options that quickly eliminate those pain points.

Elemental Massage also offers Hot Stone massages, in which they use stones to massage your body.

Stones naturally retain warmth, and because of this, they work as an extension of the therapist’s hands.

These are some of the reasons why many people consider these kinds of massages to be much more effective in providing calming and soothing sensation than other types of massage sessions.

The session lasts for an hour, but more often than not, it is only mere minutes before clients start feeling the effects that make their stressful days disappear forever.

So if you are interested in having a massage while getting away from it all, this is the place to go!

Watch the Sunset at Lake Isabella

Scenic view of Lake Isabella
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Isabella is a picturesque lake located in downtown Lake City.

It is a perfect spot to spend a relaxing day while enjoying the gorgeous views.

Bring along a delicious picnic to relish while admiring the place's natural beauty.

Tall trees and benches at the lake front of Lake Isabella
Excel23, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can enjoy a refreshing evening walk here and feast your eyes on the heavenly views of the sunset.

The lake is surrounded by many historical buildings that you can explore.

Birdwatching at Alligator Lake Spring Festival

This annual festival takes place in April every year at Alligator Lake Park.

It features tours with bird and nature experts.

It also abounds with live music, delicious food stalls, fun activities, photography contests, arts and crafts vendors, a petting zoo, art shows by local talent, and so much more.

Be a part of the festivities and experience the amazing local culture of this city.

Go on a Breakfast at IHOP Restaurant

This restaurant serves excellent American breakfast at affordable rates.

They are known for their delicious pancakes and amazing French toast.

Start your day with a wholesome meal here and feel energized.

It is open from Sunday to Thursday between 6 am and 10 pm.

It is open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

Spend a Day at Youngs Park

Youngs Park is a nice playground at 554 NW Desoto Street, Lake City, Florida.

It’s a lovely little green space from across the church.

The trees provide shade for much of the play equipment, and there's also a basketball court, picnic tables, and benches all around.

The place is quiet enough to enjoy watching your kid having fun at the swings, slides, and climbing frame.

Whether you're looking for relaxing time with your kids or a place to get some fresh air in between errands, you'll find what you need at this park.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Camping in O’Leno State Park

View of O'Leno State Park
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled on the banks of the enchanting Santa Fe River, this 6,000-acre scenic park was originally the site of an abandoned 19th-century town.

The park is a nature lover’s paradise.

It encompasses swamps, towering trees, dense foliage, sandhills, nature trails, picnic areas, a museum, a beautiful suspension bridge, and so much more.

It provides opportunities for a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, camping, canoeing, biking, wildlife viewing, swimming, and fishing.

O’Leno State Park
William Silver / shutterstock.com

Beat the heat by swimming in the Santa Fe River, explore the river waters by canoeing, hike on the verdant trails that meander through the scenic landscapes of the park, enjoy the sounds of nature, experience fishing, camp here at night, appreciate nature’s astounding beauty, and end your day with a lovely picnic.

The site is home to diverse wildlife, including deer, squirrels, turtles, raccoons, alligators, and more.

The park is located around 21 miles from Lake City.

It is open to visitors daily from 8 am to dusk.

Experience the Amazing Local Culture at Santa Fe River Fest

This popular festival takes place over three days in March every year.

It features live musical performances, songwriting competitions, silent auctions, art shows, numerous fun activities, delicious food stalls, a dance, fundraisers, paddleboat tours with a naturalist, hiking with a botanist, and so much more.

The fun and entertaining activities include bubble blowing, hula hooping, dance, and more.

Be sure to try out the fantastic locally crafted beer.

Groove to the beats at the music concerts, gorge on mouth-watering local food, explore the wilderness by boating, learn fascinating facts about the regional flora and fauna from a naturalist and botanist, take part in the fun activities, and explore local art.

Kayaking on Santa Fe River Paddling Trail

Santa Fe River
Irinak / Shutterstock.com

The Santa Fe River Paddling Trail offers over 25 miles of trail perfect for kayaking, tubing, and canoeing.

The enchanting river also offers opportunities for a wide range of nature-based recreational activities, such as snorkeling, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

You can spot river otters, turtles, beautiful birds, deer, and more.

The scenic trail begins from the O’Leno State Park and features numerous springs, lush foliage, diverse wildlife, swamps, and more.

At the end of its journey, the river meets the Suwannee River.

The waters are ideal for beginners.

Explore the river waters by kayaking or tubing, view the diverse wildlife, watch beautiful birds, try your hand at fishing, and get close to nature.

The trail can be accessed from various points, and you can find a multitude of outfitters.

Picnicking at Falling Creek Falls

View of Falling Creek Falls
Retneprac / Shutterstock.com

This is an enchanting 10-foot waterfall surrounded by lush greenery.

The site is top-rated for various recreational activities, such as hiking, nature exploration, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.

Falling Creek Falls
Jhurst84 / shutterstock.com

Enjoy a lovely picnic here, admire the exquisite natural beauty, view the diverse wildlife, hike, and explore the wilderness.

Additionally, the site features historic buildings and a playground.

Go on a Trip to Rainbow Springs State Park

Scenic view of Rainbow spring state park
IrinaK / Shutterstock.com

This park features the scenic Rainbow River, wetlands, sprawling greenery, diverse wildlife, sandhills, woodlands, gorgeous gardens, waterfalls, picnic areas, outrageously colored wildflowers, and so much more.

It attracts myriads of nature lovers throughout the year and is one of Florida’s prime tourist attractions.

It is popular for a vast array of nature-based recreational activities, such as tubing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, geocaching, wildlife viewing, and picnicking.

Rainbow Springs State Park
IrinaK / shutterstock.com

It is the ideal place to take a break from the mundane and monotonous life and go on an adventure and explore the wilderness.

The park is home to alligators, turtles, otters, squirrels, hummingbirds, hawks, owls, and more.

Enjoy the views of the beautiful wildflowers, hike on the verdant trails, go on a river adventure by tubing or kayaking, beat the heat by swimming, enjoy a lovely picnic, and get close to nature.

The park is open to visitors daily from 8 am to 5 pm.

Rental kayaks, canoes, and other equipment are available on the site.

The park is about a 1 hour and 25 minutes’ drive from Lake City.

Spend a fun-filled and adventurous day here with your friends and family.

Travel Back in Time at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

View of Olustee Battlefield Historic state park
romarti / Shutterstock.com

This historic site is where the Battle of Olustee took place in February 1864.

It was the largest Civil War Battle in the state, and over 10,000 soldiers fought.

Close to 3,000 army men lost their lives during this battle.

union soldiers battle reenactment at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
Ufocus / Shutterstock.com

Today the park is popular for hiking, geocaching, and picnicking.

The hiking trails feature various interpretive exhibits about the battle.

The visitors' center here features numerous historical artifacts.

Myriads of people visit this park in February to watch the annual re-enactment of the battle.

confederate soldiers battle reenactment at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
Ufocus / Shutterstock.com

The site is open to visitors every day of the year from 9 am to 5 pm, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Admission is absolutely free for all.

Explore Local History at Union County Historical Museum

This museum emphasizes the local history of Union County.

Its collection includes various war memorabilia, historical artifacts, and local memorabilia.

You can find photographs, books, clothing, rifles, bullets, antique rocking chairs, medals, flags, and so much more.

Explore fascinating local history at this museum.

It is open to visitors on Saturdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 1 pm.

Try Water Adventures at Ichetucknee Springs State Park

View of Ichetucknee springs state Park
Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The mesmerizing Ichetucknee River meanders through the scenic landscapes of this park.

The park features sprawling greenery, multiple springs, diverse wildlife, woodlands, hiking trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, swimming holes, and so much more.

It is popular for a wide range of recreational activities, such as hiking, snorkeling, birding, wildlife viewing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, tubing, scuba diving, picnicking, geocaching, camping, and many more.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Joanne Dale / shutterstock.com

The park is home to waterfowl, turtles, turkey, deer, otters, alligators, catfish, bass, bluegill, and others.

Explore the wilderness by camping here at night, hike on the verdant trails, cool off in the river water, go on water adventures, enjoy the sounds of nature, watch beautiful birds, relish a picnic, and get close to nature.

Located 20 miles from Lake City, the park is a nature lover’s paradise.

It is open to visitors daily from 8 am to sunset.

Final Thoughts

Lake City is home to a variety of sites and activities perfect for exploring all facets of your vacation.

If you're looking to just relax on your vacation, there is plenty of nature and art waiting to be explored.

Or, if you're feeling active, there are plenty of attractions here that will keep you happily entertained at top speed throughout your stay.

Whatever kind of excitement you're seeking while visiting Lake City, FL—whether family fun, outdoor exploration, or treasured tranquility—make sure that Lake City gets the chance to wow you during your next vacation getaway!