When driving the length of the Florida Panhandle one can get lost in the long roadways that seem to go on in straight lines across the lengthy state. Still just a few short feet from the interstate one can find towns with a laid back way of life, set amidst forests, natural formations, creeks and rivers, Marianna Florida is a great little town to enjoy the throwbacks of NW Florida.
The city of Marianna holds a historic place in the clashes of the American civil war. September 2014 will see the commemoration of a battle held here 150 years ago. The area still shows well the long lived heritage of this time with several antebellum homes, some kept as historic museums and others still used today as private residences. The town is poised between deep forests and rolling hills with open fields so the attractions of nature are quite close by as well.
The downtown part of Marianna is several blocks wide and long. It is not a big town, but it is the county seat and it offers a historic perspective of main street shops, historic Baptist churches, old time brick house restaurants and public spaces and parks. For someone wishing to jog or run it is a beautiful place with nice sidewalks. Once off the main street the greater town opens up with quaint looking houses, a local university and the nearby restored wetlands park makes this a town with a charming panorama and unique beauty.
Because the town is at the crossroads of the Interstate and near the state borders it is a popular stopover or a destination all to itself. It has a good range of clean hotels, gas stations, restaurants and supplies.
One of the biggest natural attractions in the area lies just three miles north of Marianna on State Road 167. This is the Florida Caverns State Park. It is the only limestone cavern open to the public and it is full of fascinating stalactites and stalagmites. The venue is not open Tuesdays or Wednesdays but there are tours all other days. It is best to check the park’s website to be sure the caves are open and what time tours take place. There are fascinating shapes and formations which are easily accessible. The blue hole spring is a fascinating wonder as well.