Middle Aucilla Conservation Area (Madison, Taylor)
Upper Aucilla Conservation Area (Madison)
Wacissa Conservation Area
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (Wakulla, Taylor)
Bays & Inlets
Rivers & Paddling Trails
St. Marks, Aucilla & Wacissa rivers, Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
Jefferson County, named for President Thomas Jefferson, has the state's shortest coastline, no stop lights and is the only county that touches Georgia and the Gulf of Mexico. Its one incorporated city, Monticello, is 23 miles east of Tallahassee. Its five-mile coast is wilderness, sanctuaries and salt marsh - with no beaches or paved roads.
The primary water recreation is canoeing on the Aucilla and Wacissa rivers. The swift Aucilla, a moderate-to-strenuous canoe trail recommended for the experienced, shapes most of the county's eastern boundary. It flows in and out of underground sinkholes several times before joining the Wacissa, a clear, spring-fed river, inviting to beginners. Dense woodlands border its sides where wading birds can be seen searching for food.
Other popular water activities include fishing the many sinkholes and river rises, hiking along the Florida National Scenic Trail and bird-watching.
More than 250,000 people visit St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge annually. Established in 1931, it is one of the oldest national wildlife refuges, covering 69,215 acres of coastal marsh, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries in three counties. It is a wintering habitat for migratory birds and home to a diverse community of plants and animals. The annual October Monarch Butterfly Festival showcases the four-inch orange and black butterflies that migrate from the Midwest to central Mexico.
The state's largest aquatic preserve, the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve protects seagrasses, a wide variety of sea and shore birds, and important commercial shellfish - clams, oysters, pink shrimp, blue crab and the most stable population of bay scallops in Florida. It is a popular destination during scallop season. The vast Aucilla Wildlife Management Area, mostly in Jefferson County, protects 200 coastal miles of conservation lands, wildlife habitats and fisheries.
Other things to do in Jefferson County include bicycling, hunting, the annual Watermelon Festival, guided tours of the Historic District of Monticello, visiting the 1858 Lloyd Railroad Station (the oldest brick railroad station in Florida) and the Jefferson County Historical Museum in Monticello with archaeological replicas from the Aucilla River Prehistory Project.
June 12, 2018 - 11:01am
Interested in subscribing to DEP newsletters or receiving DEP updates through email?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.