By James | Last updated August 18, 2023
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Tallahassee is the state capital of Florida despite being a relatively small city (compared to say Orlando or Miami) and is the regional centre of the Florida Panhandle in Leon County. The Greater Tallahassee metropolitan region has a population of around 360,000.
Tallahassee is situated in Northern Florida on Interstate I10, some 220 miles from the Atlantic Coast to the east and around 175 miles from Pensacola to the west. The nearest coastline is about 25 miles to the south on the Gulf of Mexico and the Georgia state border is just 14 miles to the north.
Tallahassee was chosen as the capital of Florida in the 1820s because of its location, being roughly equidistant between St. Augustine in the east and Pensacola in the west, the respective capitals of the old Spanish and British colonies at that time.
The name Tallahassee is believed to derive from the Muskogean Indian name for “old fields” and a familiar sight around Tallahassee are the Spanish Moss lined streets..
Tallahassee is home to two of Florida’s main universities, Florida A & M University and Florida State University.
Back in the 1960s there was an attempt to move the state capital to Orlando but this was defeated and in the 1970s a new 23-story Florida State Capitol building was built, the tallest building in Tallahassee. Rather than demolish the old Florida State Capitol, it was converted into a museum.
Getting To Tallahassee
Tallahassee is not served by an international airport but does have the Tallahassee Regional Airport to the south-west of the city.
Interstate access is by the east-west running Interstate I10. The north-south Interstate I75 is some 90 miles to the east.
The Amtrak Sunset Limited train service used to operate until the line east of New Orleans was closed down after Hurricane Katrina but there are still Greyhound bus services.
Tallahassee is about a three and a quarter hour drive (195 miles) from Pensacola, two and half hours (150 miles) from Gainesville and a two and three quarter hour drive (165 miles) from Jacksonville.
Getting Around Tallahassee
There are no local rail services in Tallahassee but local bus services are provided by StarMetro and Nova2010 and serve the whole city.
A free trolley service TalTran operates on weekdays in the historic district.
Like many American cities, the easiest way to get around is by car or taxi.
Places To Stay In Tallahassee
Being the state capital, Tallahassee is well served by over 40 hotels ranging from 3 to 4 star hotels like the Hotel Duval and the Doubletree Hotel Tallahassee to budget motels.
Best Florida Resorts has details of all the main Tallahassee hotels.
Things to do in Tallahassee
There are no theme parks or water parks in or around Tallahassee but if you enjoy outdoor activities and recreation then there is a large choice of State Parks in the area including the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park, Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna, Natural Bridge Battlefield State Historic Site near Woodville and Wakulla Springs State Park in Wakulla.
Tallahassee has a good selection of museums and other places of interest including the Florida Governor’s Mansion, Florida State Capitol, Florida Supreme Court, Foster Tanner Fine Arts Gallery at Florida A&M University, Goodwood Museum and Gardens, John G. Riley Center/Museum of African American History & Culture, Knott House Museum, Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science (MOAS), Museum of Fine Arts at Florida State University, Museum of Florida History, Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum, Tallahassee Automobile Museum and Tallahassee Museum.
For sports fans there is the Florida State Seminoles, the Florida State University football team and basketball team. Click here to see a list of upcoming Seminoles games.
Shopping in Tallahassee
Tallahassee has two large indoor shopping malls, The Tallahassee Mall and The Governor’s Square Mall.
Tallahassee Climate and Seasons
Tallahassee has a hot and humid sub-tropical climate with short mild winters and long hot summers. Temperatures of 38 °C, 100 degrees Fahrenheit are not unheard of along with brief but intense showers and thunderstorms during the summer months.
July and August usually the hottest months of the year with January being the coldest. On average there are around 30 days a year when the temperature drops below freezing.
The lowest recorded temperature in Florida was in 1899 in Tallahassee when the mercury hit -19 °C, -2 degrees Fahrenheit.
June through August are the wettest months with October to December being the driest. Snow flurries are observed on average every 3 or 4 years.
Being relatively close to the Gulf of Mexico, Tallahassee is susceptible to hurricanes and tornadoes but has escaped relatively unscathed in recent years.
The off peak season in northern Florida is typically December to April with the summer months being the high season. You can therefore expect higher hotel room rates during the summer months.