Over in the Florida Panhandle, just 15 minutes from downtown Tallahassee, Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park is a fascinating place to visit.
Nestled on the south shore of Lake Jackson, the park is one of Florida’s most significant archaeological sites.
Possessing six of the seven earthen temple mounds which are currently known to exist.
Established in 1966, the area encompassed with the park housed inhabitants of the Fort Walton Culture, who lived there between 1050 and 1500. Serving as both the chiefdom’s capital and its ceremonial center.
As you would expect, the mounds are a huge drawcard. However, while at this Florida state park, visitors can also enjoy other pastimes including hiking, boating, fishing, interpretive tours, picnicking, birding and wildlife watching.
All of which combine, to make this state park a wonderful public recreational space to visit.
During their time at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park, visitors can enjoy a range of fun outdoor pursuits.
Here are some more details about the main activities you can do during your time there.
Boating at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
As the park resides on the southern fringes of Lake Jackson it offers plenty of opportunities to get out onto the water.
Overall there are 5 public boat ramps dotted at various points around the lake. So you will easily be able to venture out on a pontoon, canoe, kayak or SUP.
Fishing at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
Spanning over 4,000 acres, the park is known throughout the USA for being an exceptional largemouth bass fishery.
This is because it features several aquatic species of vegetation like eelgrass, maidencane and hydrilla, that provide perfect habitats for them to live in.
The best time to fish for bass in the lake during the day is around February to May. After May most anglers tend to cast a line at night to escape the intense Floridian heat.
You can choose to fish on the shoreline or in a boat out in the middle of the water. Before you do it is worth checking with the park’s authorities to see if you need a license.
Be mindful too, of the rules and regulations with regards to size, number, season and method of capture of the fish.
Hiking at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
For those who prefer to stick to dry land, the park has a couple of very good trails to explore.
This includes the interpretive trail which leads you past landmarks and points of local significance that convey the state’s territorial period. As well as its statehood between the years of 1820 – 1860. In which time, the park was encompassed within a massive estate that was owned by Colonel Robert Butler.
Its 2.2 mile nature trail meanders its way through a sandhill community, where you will see several native plants and trees. You may also see the remains of a grist mill that dates back to the 1800s as well.
Interpretive Tours at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
Throughout the year the park offers a series of hour-long interpretive tours.
Led by knowledgeable rangers, they can accommodate up to 50 people and showcase some of the park’s main highlights.
On these tours, they will provide detailed information about some of the flora, fauna and notable sites you encounter.
Picnicking at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
Whilst at the park many visitors take the opportunity to enjoy a picnic.
The lake is a very picturesque setting for an alfresco meal and there are several picnic tables set up. Many of these afford excellent views of two of the largest mounds.
As well as the tables there is also a pavilion available for larger groups to enjoy a family reunion or a party. Should you want to use the pavilion it is recommended you reserve it in advance.
However, if it is unreserved at the time of your visit, you can use it on a first come first served basis.
Nature & Wildlife
The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Some of which, like the Trillium reliquum plant species, are endangered. (This was only discovered in 2010 by hikers and was previously only thought to grow in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama).
During your time at the park you may well see the likes of squirrels, foxes, deer and turtles.
If you look up in the sky you may also spot northern cardinals, red-shouldered hawks, osprey and other bird species too.
Pets at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
You are welcome to bring your dog along with you to the park. However, at all times they are required to be restrained on a handheld leash of no more than six feet in length.
They must also be well-behaved and cleaned up afterwards. Other restrictions may also apply, so to clarify what they are you might want to contact the park’s main office.
Camping at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
There is no camping available at the park. However within a short driving distance of it you will find a handful of very good options.
These include the Big Oak RV Park, the High Bluff Campground and Ingram’s Marina. Collectively they provide everything from RV and trailer sites that come with full hookups, to group camps, cabins and primitive tent sites.
Depending on where you stay, amenities can include a swimming pool, playground, games room, laundry, hot showers and flush toilets.
Should you prefer to stay somewhere that offers all your creature comforts, downtown Tallahassee has several hotels and motels available.
Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
3600 Indian Mound Rd
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park: