I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.
Many people who visit Live Oak come for concerts and festivals at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, to cave dive in Peacock Springs, or to enjoy the plentiful hunting and fishing opportunities. There is so much more in Live Oak to explore and enjoy!
Are you looking for fun, free (or inexpensive) activities, events, and field trip ideas in Live Oak, Florida in Suwannee County? Here are our favorite local locations where we go for fun and where we take guests visiting from out of town, the best local annual events, and a list of the local field trips we've enjoyed.
Suwannee River State Park
Suwannee River State Park is my favorite local place to hike, and we've hiked around dozens of state parks and Florida Trail sites. Suwannee River State Park has a variety of things to see: a huge tree you can climb into, a picturesque boardwalk bridge over water, natural springs, Civil War earthworks, remains of an old sawmill, a small playground, etc. It also has a boat ramp if you want to take out a kayak or canoe.
Popular picture: Inside the huge oak tree that's hollow at the bottom
COST: $5/vehicle & bring cash as it’s unmanned
Heritage Park & Gardens
Heritage Park & Gardens offers a shaded playground, free small garden, disc golf course, & nicely shaded & paved walking path (about 1. 5 miles each way). They also host annual free Christmas & Easter events focused mainly on children’s activities.
Popular pictures: Along the walking trail with the sidewalk behind you and in the gardens next to the lattice areas
Suwannee Springs is where we head when my kids want to go swimming or when our guests ask to go to "the nearest beach." It has a small beach area along the river, is shallow enough in most areas, and even includes a rope swing. It also has the remains of an old bath house surrounding a sulfur spring and an old bridge that is a popular place for photos. It’s also a good place to go if you want to put out a kayak or canoe.
Popular picture: With the nearby old, abandoned bridge in the background
Mystic Jungle is an educational area for displaced wild animals focused mainly on large cats. It's open on Saturdays from 10am - 3 pm with tour times at 10 am, 12 pm, 1:30 pm and 3 pm. Private tours are generally scheduled on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
COST: Donation is $10. Children 3 & under are free.
Stephen Foster State Park
Stephen Foster State Park (in White Springs) has some trails, a craft village, & carillon tower that still plays songs. My favorite part is the 1950s home with moving dioramas depicting Stephen Foster’s songs.*If you have a few extra minutes stop by the historic Spring House which is just outside the park entrance.
Popular picture: In front of the Stephen Foster Museum
Falling Creek Falls
Falling Creek Falls (in Lake City) is directly off of I-10 and is one of the few places you can find a waterfall in North Florida. It has a short stroller-friendly boardwalk to the waterfall. It also has a nice, small playground and a couple historical buildings that you can see from the outside. There is also a short walking trail through the woods. Tip: Be sure to bring mosquito spray!
Popular picture: Overlooking the waterfall
Woodpecker Trail at Big Shoals State Park
Woodpecker Trail in Big Shoals State Park (in White Springs) provides a great stroller-friendly hiking (or biking) path through the forest. About half the path is shaded. It also has a couple small bridges. My kids love it because we usually come across some form of wildlife (usually snakes or tortoises) while on the hikes. Unfortunately, the trail isn't a loop, so we have to turn around eventually & go back the way we came.
COST: $4/vehicle & bring cash as it’s unmanned
Bell Springs (in White Springs) has a nicely shaded path that eventually leads to the shoals of the Suwannee River. (It's about 2 miles to that point.) The first mile is stroller-friendly (in an off-road type of way), but I wouldn't try to take a stroller after that.
Holton Creek (7092 Co Rd 249 in Jasper in Hamilton County) has a couple enormous trees (a record-holding bald cypress & a giant oak tree that is at least 150 years old) and is a beautiful place to hike along the Florida Trail.
Popular picture: next to the champion bald cypress tree
First Federal Sportsplex Playground
First Federal Sportsplex Playground is probably the best playground in town. My children especially love the zipline. We also enjoy the stroller-friendly 1/3 mile loop around the park. Grabbing some pizzas & heading to the park is the perfect day for my kids.
Charles, Little River, & Royal Springs
Charles Spring is our favorite spring for little children as the run from the spring to the river is about 2 - 4 feet deep, so it's perfect for younger children who want to run around in the water. It also has a limestone rock from which older children can enjoy jumping into the water. Little River Spring has a few shallow areas around the edge but a steeper drop off in the middle. If you only have older children, they'd probably enjoy Royal Springs. The key to enjoying any of these springs is you need to go during the week in the morning. They tend to fill up on weekends throughout the year, and even during the week they can get crowded around noon.
Suwannee County Historical Museum
Suwannee County Historical Museum was just renovated and reopened. We used to take visitors there before it had closed, and we enjoyed the historic articles we could view and handle while learning about our county's history. We're looking forward to being able to again visit the museum. It's open on Friday and Saturday from 10 AM – 4 PM.
Suwannee River Regional Library
Suwannee River Regional Library offers a number of great events including monthly talks, recipe swaps, bluegrass concerts, book clubs, craft projects, presentations, movie showings, & more. Click on “Library Locations” to see the calendar of events.
- February - Battle of Olustee Parade & Festival (in Lake City)
- March - County Fair (We go on Dollar Night.)
- March or April - Wings over Suwannee Fly-in Festival at the Suwannee Airport
- March or April - Easter Festival at Heritage Park
- June - Blueberry picking at Scott's Farm (in Wellborn - best prices) or Rooney's Farm (in Live Oak - most picturesque)
- October - Homecoming Parade
- November - Old Timey Days at Shady Grove Baptist
- November - Veterans Day Parade
- December - Christmas on the Square
- December - White Springs Christmas Parade & free night at Festival of Lights (White Springs)
- December - Christmas at Heritage Park
We have taken field trips to the following places while studying our unit studies which can be found here. Yes, these are all places we have actually gone to for field trips. All are located in or near Live Oak unless otherwise stated.
Key: (LO) = Live Oak, (G) = Gainesville, (J) = Jacksonville, & (T) = Tallahassee
- Animal Classification: Rainbow Bird Land Pet Center (LO), Jacksonville Zoo (J), Museum of Natural History (G), BugFest at UF (G), & Mystic Jungle (LO)
- Plants: Noble's Green House (LO) & Hearthstone Gardens (Wellborn)
- Astronomy: Challenger Learning Center Skies over Tallahassee free monthly planetarium show (T)
- Geology: Museum of Natural History, especially "Can You Dig It" event (G)
- Music, Instruments, Five Senses/Hearing: The Music Center (LO), Friends of Music Concert Series at Covenant First Presbyterian Church (LO), & Valdosta Symphony Orchestra Youth Concert Series (Valdosta, GA)
- Five Senses/Seeing: Walmart Vision Center (LO)
- Nutrition: Full Circle Farm (LO)
- Floating & Flying/Airplanes: Suwannee County Airport (LO) and Sky & Sea Show (J)
- Simple Machines: Museum of Florida History (T) & Engineering Open House (T)
- Structural Engineering/Bridges: Bridges of Jacksonville (J)
- Weather/Meteorology: Mag Lab Open House (T) & FSU Meteorology tour (T)
- CSI/Detectives: Local police department showing their K-9 unit (LO)
- Human Development: Pregnancy Care Center (LO)
- Ancient History: Cummer Museum (J)
- Medieval History: Hoggetowne Medieval Faire in January/February (G - pre-register early for the Educator's/Family Day to get a great rate)
- Native Americans: Suwannee County Historical Museum (LO), Museum of Florida History (T), Museum of Natural History (G), MOSH (J), & Fort Caroline (J)
- American History: Colonial Period/American Revolution: Museum of Florida History (T) & MOSH (J)
- American History: Civil War: Battle of Olustee park, parade, & festival (Lake City), Museum of Florida History (T), & MOSH (J)
- American History: Westward Expansion/Frontier: Old Timey Days at Shady Grove Baptist Church (in November) (LO), Stephen Foster State Park - Rural Life Folk Days in October (White Springs), Suwannee County Historical Museum (LO), Museum of Florida History (T), & MOSH (J)
- American History: 1900s: Museum of Florida History (T) & MOSH (J)
- Asia: HARN Museum of Art (G), Asian Festival in October (T), & Indian Restaurant (T)
- Africa: HARN Museum of Art (G) & Jacksonville Zoo (J)
To find our favorite fun, free (or inexpensive) activities and events in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, & Gainesville, go to my post Family Fun & Activities for Kids in North Florida. I included my favorite links to find out about local events and our favorite spots to visit and to take visitors from out of town.
Would you like to get FREE admission to hundreds of museums, gardens, zoos, and parks including some in Jacksonville, Gainesville, & Tallahassee? At Free Museum, Zoo, Garden, & Park Tickets I posted how to have the most fun while traveling without busting your budget! Whenever we travel, we visit sooo many art, science, history, and children's museums. We also stop by lots of botanical gardens, zoos, and parks. People think we spend a fortune on our vacations, but we don't! My entire family gets into all of those places free! Yes, really! The way we do this is through the reciprocity agreements between museums, gardens, zoos, and parks.
© 2020 Shannon
Where is your favorite place to visit in Live Oak? Please let me know you stopped by. I love hearing from you!
Shannon (author) from Florida on January 18, 2020:
April Hoskey on January 18, 2020: