Bright and colorful camellias, azaleas and many other beautiful plants and flowers are featured in the historic gardens inside Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park, 6 miles north of downtown Tallahassee. In addition to the extensive gardens the park also offers guests opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating and picnicking.
The 28 acres of formal gardens, first planted in 1923 by the original owners – Alfred B. and Louise Maclay, also features a secret garden, reflection pool and brick walkway. This unique site is also known as the Killearn Plantation Archaeological and Historic District.
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park features exotic gardens, nature trails, fishing, kayaking, wildlife viewing and a picnic area that overlooks picturesque Lake Hall.
The gardens are in full bloom from early January through April. During this time guests may also tour the 1909 Maclay House that has been restored to appear as it did when the gardens were first planted. The Florida state park features special events throughout the year that center around the gardens.
Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park:
Boating at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
Spend the day out on beautiful Lake Hall during your visit. Kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, small sailboats and small electric motorized boats are permitted on the lake and a boat launch is located near the recreation area.
Bring your own water craft or rent one nearby. A limited number of kayaks are available for rent at the ranger station.
Swimming at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park features swimming and a sandy beach area along a freshwater lake. Swimming is only allowed in Lake Hall. This designated beach area also has a picnic area with pavilions, tables and grills and is close to restrooms, changing rooms and showers.
Hiking at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
Explore the 5 miles of multi-use trails that extend throughout the park’s forest of mixed pine, live oaks, magnolias, dogwood and sweet gum and along the lakes.
Here are a couple of the trails at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park:
- Maclay Gardens Nature Trail – This easy 0.7 mile path flows through the beautiful gardens of Japanese Magnolia, Camellia, Cherry Blossoms and more, and then along the Reflecting Pool and Pond. A Gardens Walking Tour brochure is available at the ranger station.
- Lake Overstreet Trail – A moderate 4 mile loop through hardwood forest and around Lake Overstreet that offers visitors a view of natural habitats and wildlife. Some longer sections of this trail are uphill and may be steep for some.
Biking at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
The park has 3 miles of designated bike trails in addition to its 5 miles of multi-use trails. These scenic trails flow throughout the woods and provide beautiful views of both lakes. All riders under 16 are required to wear helmets.
A limited number of bicycle rentals are available within the park
Fishing at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
Fishing is not allowed in Lake Overstreet but you may catch bluegill, largemouth bass and bream in Lake Hall. Be sure to check the park’s fishing regulations and pick up a Florida fishing license ahead of time.
Birding at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
Wander through the historic gardens, picnic areas and trails along the lake and through the woods and you will see many native and migratory birds during your visit to Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park.
Some commonly seen birds here are the Great Egret, White-breasted Nuthatch, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Great Blue Heron, Blue-headed Vireos, Orange-crowned Warblers, Dark-eyed Juncos, bald eagles, Red-headed Woodpecker, Great Horned Owl, wild turkey, Baltimore Orioles.
The Ranger Station keeps a few binoculars on hand for guests to borrow for a couple of hours.
Nature and Wildlife at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
Picturesque and rustic Lake Overstreet is one of the few remaining untouched lakes in Leon County. Its undeveloped shoreline offers shelter and nourishment for fish, water fowl, otters, alligators, turtles, white tailed deer, bobcats, snakes and many other species.
Please be careful not to disturb wildlife in their native habitat when hiking through these remote areas.
Pets at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
Pets are only allowed in certain designated areas within Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park; they are not permitted in the gardens, swim area or any park buildings. Dogs must be kept on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet.
Camping Near Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
Big Oak RV Park – 4024 N Monroe St, Tallahassee
Spend a few nights in Tallahassee at one of the oldest operating RV parks in the state of Florida. This family style establishment has 156 shaded campsites with electric and water hookups plus access to modern restrooms, hot showers, laundry facilities, dish satellite service, RV storage and a fenced dog run.
Tallahassee RV Park – 6504 Mahan Dr, Tallahassee
Nearby Tallahassee RV Park is surrounded by towering pine trees, beautiful magnolias, dogwoods and wildflowers, and is just minutes from the bustle of downtown life, shops and restaurants. This campground features full service hookups (electric, water and sewer), spacious pull-through sites and access to wifi/cable tv, swimming pool, laundry facilities, clubhouse with full kitchen and a dog walk.
Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park
3540 Thomasville Rd
Tallahassee, FL 32309
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park:
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