(Last Updated On: December 24, 2022)
Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park Sign

Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park sign. Photo: Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are into US Civil War history you’ll want to pay a visit to Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park.

Situated just a 25 minute drive from downtown Tallahassee, the park is home to the site of the second largest Civil War battle in Florida.

Rich in history and national significance it has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. It has also been ranked by the Civil War Preservation Trust as one of the USA’s Top 10 endangered Civil War sites.

The main attraction of this Florida state park is the striking geological feature it was named after. This is a crossover section that lies at a juncture where the St. Marks River disappears underground for a quarter of a mile before emerging again. Therefore forming a natural bridge you can cross over.

Another drawcard is the monument that honors the Confederate soldiers who died whilst trying to defend the Natural Bridge. Visitors can also partake in fishing and picnicking during their time there too.

While it is not a place you would spend more than a few hours at, the park is well worth visiting. Unfortunately, it does not have any camping options available. But there are plenty of campgrounds within the surrounding area that you can choose to stay at.

The Battle of Natural Bridge

Towards the end of the Civil War, a flotilla of Union soldiers arrived at Apalachee Bay with the expressed intention of capturing Fort Ward. (Which is now encompassed by San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park).

Once they had done this they aimed to continue marching northbound towards Tallahassee.

Somehow local volunteers from the state capital were tipped off, so a group of Confederate soldiers, supported by old men and young boys, cut the Union forces off at Natural Bridge.

After bravely and successfully repelling three major attacks, they forced the Union soldiers to retreat back towards the bay. Subsequently Tallahassee stood as the only Confederate capital on the eastern side of the Mississippi that was not captured by the Union.

Activities

Visitors to the park can enjoy its beautiful surroundings and notable attractions in various ways.

Here are some further details about some of the things you can see and do while you are there.

Tours at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park

The Battle of Natural Bridge took place at the site of the park on March 6, 1865.

If you give them at least a two week period of notice, the park will run an organized, interpretive, ranger-led tour of the 110-acre park and battlefield for you.

This tour can accommodate groups of up to 50 people and gives you a detailed overview of the events that took place here.

Battle Reenactment at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park

Every year, on the first full weekend of March, a reenactment of the battle takes place.

This involves people dressing up in full Union and Confederate war regalia and provides visitors with an insight into what took place here.

Fishing at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park

The area towards Natural Bridge’s northern side is a noted spot for fishing and attracts many anglers from Tallahassee. Crappie, catfish, bream, striper and Florida black bass are some of the main species of fish that can be caught.

If you want to cast a line here you may need a license. So it is best to check with the Florida Wildlife Commission first before doing so.

You will also need to adhere to the park’s rules and regulations with regards to methods of capture, number, size and the season when you fish. Strict penalties are enforced if you don’t.

Picnicking at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park

As the park is surrounded by picturesque woodlands, it makes for a beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic.

There are several sheltered picnic tables dotted around the landscape where you can partake in an al fresco meal.

Just off the main walkway, under a pavilion, you will also find an accessible picnic table for those who require it.

Birding at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park

The park is not a renowned birding spot.

But as Tallahassee is home to a variety of species you may see the likes of swallow-tailed kites, roseate spoonbills, blue jays and American robins during your time there.

Pets at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park

Pets are allowed at the park but restrictions on their presence do apply.

This involves them being well behaved at all times and restrained on a leash that is no more than six feet in length.

To find out more about the park’s pet policy it is worth contacting their main office for further clarification.

Camping at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park

There are no camping facilities available at the park.

However, within a short driving distance you will find several campgrounds including the Newport Campground and Goose Pasture Campground.

Between them they offer a huge range of camping accommodation to fit all preferences. This includes cabins and lodges as well as RVs and trailer sites that come with hookups for electricity, sewer and water. They also offer plenty of primitive tent sites and facilities for group or youth camping too.

Depending on where you decide to stay, amenities should include flush toilets and hot showers. There may also be a swimming pool, boat ramp, laundry, convenience store and children’s playground.

If you would rather stay in a hotel, motel or Vrbo, there are plenty of these options available in neighboring Tallahassee as well.

Park Location

Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park
7502 Natural Bridge Road
Tallahassee, FL 32305
Phone: 850.487.7989

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park: