Marianna is nicknamed "The City of Southern Charm" for its laid-back atmosphere and gorgeous preserved historic architecture dating back to the mid-19th century. The town, which is the seat of Jackson County, is best known as the home of Chipola College and serves as the gateway to lovely Florida Caverns State Park, the state's only park offering direct access to cavern systems. Blue Springs Recreational Park is home to impressive Jackson Blue Spring, which pumps 77 million gallons of water each day and offers excellent opportunities for scuba and cave diving.
1.Florida Caverns State Park
© Tonya Herring/stock.adobe.com
Florida Caverns State Park is Florida's only state park offering access to limestone caves, opened to the public in 1942 near the city of Marianna. The park, which is located within the Florida Panhandle region, protects a notable area of karst topography, home to a vibrant ecosystem that includes cave-dwelling blind crayfish, bat, and salamander species.Unique stalagmites, stalactites, and flowstone formations are showcased within the park's caves, which can be explored as part of guided flashlight cave tours throughout the day. Interpretive exhibits are showcased at the park's visitor center, which was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of the New Deal along with an adjacent nine-hole golf course. Popular visitor activities include camping, boating, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding, along with opportunities for picnics at assorted day-use tables and pavilions.
3345 Caverns Rd, Marianna, FL 32446, Phone: 850-482-1228
2.Blue Springs Recreational Park
Blue Springs Recreational Park is anchored around the gorgeous Jackson Blue Spring, located approximately five miles east of the city of Marianna. The spring flows an average of 77 million gallons of water each day, sourcing the nearby 202-acre Merritt's Millpond reservoir, which is known throughout the country as a top fishing and boating destination. Visitors can enjoy excellent opportunities for open-water scuba diving and cave diving at the park throughout the year with county permits and view rare species within the spring's underwater cave complex, including Dougherty Plain cave crawfish and Georgia blind salamanders. The park is open to the public Memorial Day through Labor day, also offering a lovely hiking trail, a children's playground, and a day-use picnic pavilion.
5461 Blue Springs Rd, Marianna, FL 32446, Phone: 850-482-2114
3.The Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail
The Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail stretches for half a mile off CR-162 near Marianna, leading through Jackson County to the oldest bridge of its kind in Florida. The bridge, which was constructed in 1914, sits on the site of earlier bridges dating back as far as 1840 and is believed to be the state's most haunted bridge site. Its popular ghost story revolves around Jackson County resident Elizabeth Jane Bellamy, who died in 1837 and is purported to continue haunting the bridge area in search of her beloved husband, Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy. Samuel never recovered from his wife's death for the remaining 15 years of his life and was buried in nearby Chattahoochee, Florida. Since then, Elizabeth's spirit is believed to have roamed around the bridge's surrounding region, searching for her husband's spirit to be at final rest with him. Visitors can drive along the route and view the bridge, along with some of the state's most beautiful scenery near the Chipola River and the Great Florida Birding Trail.
4.Historic Russ House Visitors Center
© City of Marianna
Historic Russ House Visitors Center is the official visitor center for Jackson County, housed within the 1890s-era Russ House, which was remodeled in 1910 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The home, which is considered to be one of America's most beautiful examples of Classical Revival and Queen Anne-style architecture, is purported to be haunted and has hosted a number of paranormal investigations throughout the years. Supposed hauntings include the spirits of soldiers killed during the 1864 Battle of Marianna and the suicide of builder Joseph W. Russ in 1930. Guided tours of the home are available daily throughout the year during regular weekday business hours, elaborating on the home's supposed ghost stories.
4318 Lafayette Street, Marianna, Florida, 32446, Phone: 850-482-8061
5.Marianna Civil War Battlefield
Marianna Civil War Battlefield preserves the historic site of the Battle of Marianna, a seminal battle between Union and Confederate forces in September of 1864. The battle was the culmination of a Federal cavalry raid in northwestern Florida, pitting Southern Union troops led by General Alexander Asboth against Confederate forces. A church and home at the site were burned to the ground during the battle, which killed more than a quarter of the male population of the city of Marianna by its end. Visitors can explore the historic battlefield as part of self-guided tours throughout the week and learn about its Civil War history significance. Self-guided walking tour brochures are available at the city's Historic Russ House Visitor Center.
6.Country Cottage Antiques and Florals
Country Cottage Antiques and Florals is a charming local antique shop in downtown Marianna, showcasing unique pieces of home furnishings and decor carefully cultivated by its owners. An extensive selection of vintage quilts, linens, and handwork are sold at the store, along with lovely sophisticated antique furniture pieces. China and tablescapes line the store's rooms, including many vintage and antique 19th and 20th-century pieces. Decor is rotated seasonally, rotating in modern pieces along with antique finds. Floral arrangements are also sold at the shop, along with artificial floral arrangements and vases to suit all homes' styles and needs.
2813 FL-71, Marianna, FL 32446, Phone: 850-557-3363
7.Bear Paw Escape
Bear Paw Escape offers full-service river float and canoeing trips along Marianna's gorgeous Chipola River, lasting between two hours and all day. Visitors ages five and older can embark on kayaking and canoeing trips throughout the year, led by expert tour guides assisting with navigation. Trips are offered for amateur and expert boaters, exploring area natural wonders like dry caves and freshwater springs. Inner tube trips are also offered aboard regular or Cadillac, or Wow Max tubes of a variety of shapes and sizes. All trips include shuttle service and boat or tube rental for the duration of the trip.
2100 Bear Paw Ln, Marianna, FL 32448, Phone: 850-482-4948
Mashawy is a delicious Greek-American fusion restaurant serving up high-quality fresh Mediterranean fare throughout the week at lunch and dinner. The family-owned fine-dining restaurant offers generous portions at reasonable prices, making it a great choice for diners looking for gourmet experiences on a budget. Diners can enjoy excellent traditional entrees like layered eggplant moussaka, chicken or lamb mandi, and vegetable moshakal throughout the week, paired with artisanal steaks and seafood entrees such as filet mignon, cowboy ribeye, and yellowfin tuna steaks. Wrap sandwiches are stuffed with Mediterranean favorites like shawarma, beef gyro, and vegetarian falafel. Diners can also split classic shareables, ranging from hummus and baba ghanoush platters to stuffed grape leaves.
3297 Caverns Rd, Marianna, FL 32446, Phone: 850-526-1578
© Beef O'Brady's
Beef O'Brady's is a popular sports bar franchise known for its family-friendly Irish pub fare and delicious draft beer selections. The franchise, which was founded in 1985 by Jim Mellody, has grown from its original location in Brandon, Florida to offer nearly 200 locations across 19 states, including a location in Marianna. Diners can enjoy hearty classic entrees like Nashville hot fried shrimp, cheesy bacon chicken breasts, and steak burritos, paired with grilled entrees like salmon filets and Southwestern chicken bowls. Wraps and burgers also feature prominently, ranging from buffalo chicken wraps to barbecue bacon cheeseburgers. Shareable favorites include beer-battered onion rings, boom boom shrimp, and cheesy bacon pub chips.
4944 Malloy Plaza E, Marianna, FL 32448, Phone: 850-482-0002
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9 Best Things to Do in Marianna, FL