(Last Updated On: December 30, 2022)
Park sign at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

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

An historic area surrounded by the majestic Osceola National Forest lies just 46 miles west of Jacksonville in Sanderson, Florida. This picturesque public recreational area, Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, serves to commemorate Florida’s largest Civil War battle, a famous battle that took place here on February 20, 1864.

Guests enjoy hiking, picnicking, bird watching and learning more about this Florida state park’s history during their visit here.

Every February the park is crowded with history buffs and spectators for the battle’s reenactment.

Activities

Pack a picnic lunch and plan on spending a few relaxing hours inside this beautiful state park surrounded by forest. A picnic area is located under the pine trees and across from the interpretive center. After lunch explore the trail and see a bit more of the surrounding area’s flora and fauna. And don’t forget to save some time to wander through the visitor center’s exhibits and displays.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park:

Historic Site at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

In 1912 Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park became Florida’s first historic site. Today’s guests are able to visit the battlefield, explore the surrounding area and learn more about the famous battle that took place here on February 20, 1864. Reenactments of this battle are held every February and a Civil War Expo is featured here during the summer. The 1989 movie “Glory” was filmed here during one of these reenactments.

Cannon in a field at olustee battlefield historic state park

The visitor center features informational displays, artifacts, and a short video documentary that help tell the story of this 5 hour battle that was fought by 10,000 cavalry, infantry and artillery troops.

Hiking at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

Take a leisurely walk through the pines, palmettos and wildflowers and get a glimpse of what Florida looked like back in the early 1900s. Interpretive signs line the pathway and educate visitors about the park’s flora, fauna and history.

The longer Florida National Scenic Trail extends through the park and may be accessed for a longer hike.

Birding at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

Bird lovers, equipped with binoculars and bird lists will enjoy searching for egrets, warblers, swallows, vireos, owls, woodpeckers, wild turkey, bald eagles, herons, wrens, Red-tailed Hawks, Wood Ducks, Northern Mockingbirds, American Kestrel and Bachman’s Sparrows.

Nature and Wildlife at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

A quiet walk through the mesic flatwoods of longleaf and slash pine will allow visitors a chance to see white-tailed deer, squirrels, alligators, snakes, gopher tortoises, spiders and many species of birds. Early in the morning or late afternoon are the best wildlife viewing times at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park.

Stone memorial at olustee battlefield historic state park

Pets at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

Pets are allowed at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park as long as they are supervised and kept on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet. Pets are not permitted inside park buildings or at the annual Battle Reenactment that is held in February each year.

Camping Near Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

Since Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park is a day use park you’ll need to make arrangements to spend the night somewhere else. This shouldn’t be a problem since there are many other options to consider nearby, such as.downtown Jacksonville. This large city features hotels, resorts and campgrounds as well as dining, shopping and lots of entertainment.

Here are a couple of nearby state parks that offer overnight accommodations;

  • Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park – 7450 N.E. 60th St. High Springs

    Camp near the sparkling clear blue springs in one of the park’s 23 campsites. Activities here include swimming, snorkeling, paddling, fishing and hiking.

  • Suwannee River State Park – 3631 201st Path, Live Oak

    Spend the night under the oaks and along the Suwannee River in one of this park’s 3o campsites. Each campsite has electric, water and sewer hookups, plus a picnic table and fire ring. A group camping area is also available.

  • O’Leno River State Park – 410 SE O’Leno Park Road, High Springs

    This state park’s modern campground area features 61 campsites with electric and water hookups, picnic tables and in-ground grills; and a primitive camping area that is located along Sweetwater Lake. The primitive sites are only accessible only by foot and a 3 mile hike-in).

    This unique state park also features a large developed group camp area with 3 leader cabins, 13 sleeper cabins, 2 bathhouses and a dining hall with a full kitchen. This camping area accommodates groups of up to 120.

Park Location

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
5815 Battle Fld Trl
Sanderson, FL 32087
Phone: 386.758.0400

Website

Map

Video

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