Golf Trails TLH: Three Day Itinerary
Florida has more golf courses than any other state in America and its Capital City has lots to offer for those seeking affordable and interesting playing experiences. Despite a strong collection of exciting courses, Tallahassee still flies under the radar as a destination for those traveling to tee it up in the Sunshine State. However, word about Tallahassee’s golf offerings is starting to get out. With rolling hills, moss draped live oaks, and 365 days a year of favorable weather, Tallahassee is a wonderful setting for a golf trip. Whether planning a golf vacation with friends, visiting family members in the area, or coming to Tallahassee for a big game or graduation, there has never been a better time to bring your clubs to the Capital City.
Beyond the holes you will play, what makes Tallahassee a great city for golf travel is the abundance of enjoyable accommodations, delightful dining options, and entertaining nightlife across the whole community. There are also endless trails and incredible outdoor discoveries that make for a great way to start a golf day or wind down after playing. With so much to do and so many interesting courses to play, it won’t be long before more golfers are seeking out Tallahassee for their next outing.
Should you choose the Capital City for your next golf trip, here are some suggestions that could make the experience extra special.
Day 1 – A Sense of History
Tallahassee’s storied past lives on and off the course.
Olean’s Cafe – Start your trip off right with a hearty soul food lunch from famed Olean’s Cafe. Located just off the campus of Florida A&M University, this local establishment has been serving delightful dishes for over twenty years. With fried chicken good enough to attract Presidential candidates and other notable passers by, you’ll want to make the pilgrimage too.
Capital City Country Club – Enjoy an afternoon stroll over Tallahassee’s most historic golf course. Designed by World Golf Hall of Fame member A.W. Tillinghast and set over hilly terrain, Capital City offers some of the region’s most memorable golf holes. Views of the Capitol are just as prevalent as the ancient live oak trees that adorn the property. The course plays through the Myers Park Historic district and has attracted prominent visitors for over a century. Edward the Duke of Windsor, former King of England, even made numerous trips around the course when visiting the area on hunting trips.
Capital City Country Club is a great place to enjoy the charms of Tallahassee’s Myers Park Historic District. Be sure to pick up a walking tour guide of the stately homes and quaint cottages that make the area such a charming place to visit. You can even start your walking tour right from the parking lot of the club!
Proof Brewing Company – After golf, it’s time for an adult beverage. Just off South Monroe Street is the epicenter of Tallahassee’s local brewery scene. The award winning brewery offers tours and tastings at their facility which once was Tallahassee’s Coca-Cola bottling plant. With an expansive tap room, outdoor entertainment area, and delightful food offerings, Proof Brewing has become one of Tallahassee’s favorite stops for Happy Hour.
The Edison – Take in a charming dinner with a view of Cascades Park from the deck at The Edison Restaurant. Located in a former electric plant, the ambiance of faded brick and unique culinary delights pairs well with the downtown skyline which rises from the park. Be sure to check the performance schedule for the Capital City Amphitheater as you might be able to take in a live concert during dinner.
Day 2 – A Family Affair
Tallahassee’s brand of fun extends beyond the fairway.
Uptown Cafe – Kick off a full day with a big breakfast at one of Tallahassee’s best and longest serving diners. The hash brown bowls and smoked salmon have been bringing locals in for decades. Located across from Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and only a few blocks from Goodwood Museum and Gardens, it’s a great place to start a full day of exploring Tallahassee both on and off the golf course.
Killearn Country Club – From Uptown, drive up Centerville Road, one of Tallahassee’s famed Canopy Roads, to Killearn Country Club. There you can take in the tranquil setting of one of Tallahassee’s largest neighborhoods while playing a former PGA Tour host site. With challenging holes that showcase the beauty of the area, Killearn has long been a local favorite for golfers. New ownership continues to invest in the course and plans for refreshed clubhouse amenities are being made as well. At Killearn, you’ll feel like a lifelong Tallahassee resident, even if only for 18 holes.
Legendary College Football Coach Bobby Bowden and his wife Ann have long called the Killearn Neighborhood home. Coach Bowden has always loved golf and has spent many days since retirement chasing birdies at Killearn Country Club. Even though the coach doesn’t play so much these days, he still keeps an eye on the action from their home on the seventh hole. Be sure to make a good swing, because he just might be watching!
Gordos – Grab a Cuban sandwich or any of the fantastic lunch menu options at Gordos. With cold drafts and all your favorite Cuban cuisine, Gordos is a tasty option for post Golf storytelling.
Shopping at Market Square – Browse the boutiques in Tallahassee’s premier shopping district. From legendary Menswear at Nic’s Toggery to the sensational home goods of Hearth & Soul or the sweet treats for all ages at Lofty Pursuits there are too many stops to count. Easily walkable and filled with surprising finds, Market Square is a can’t miss stop during your Tallahassee stay!
Maclay Gardens State Park – Visit one of Florida’s most unique arboretums at the former home of Alfred B. Maclay. Maclay spent a lifetime shaping the vast gardens overlooking Lake Hall and today those treasures are shared with the public. Located only a short drive from the Market Square District and Killearn Country Club, Maclay Gardens is one of Tallahassee’s most beautiful attractions.
World of Beer and Top Golf Swing Suite – Should weather interrupt your golf plans or even if you simply want a good place to cool off and enjoy some indoor fun, check out Tallahassee’ World of Beer location featuring the innovative Top Golf Swing Suite. World of Beer is home to hundreds of beers from around the globe and a full dining menu. Golfers and other guests can enjoy the fairways of Pebble Beach Golf Links, the St. Andrews Old Course, or many other famed courses when you reserve the Top Golf Swing Suite for a simulated playing experience. Family friendly and fun for everyone, World of Beer offers one of Tallahassee’s most enjoyable days inside.
Tallahassee Museum and Tree to Tree Adventures – If you’re looking for some adventure to add to your golf trip then the Tallahassee Museum may be right up your alley. Located on the banks of Lake Bradford, the museum features displays of history, local culture, and dozens of live animal exhibits. In addition to these great attractions, there is the stunning Tree to Tree Adventures which includes zip lining activities for all ages. Children can climb through the beginners course while adults can test their skills among the live oak tree tops or even soar through cypress swamps! Open year round the Tallahassee Museum is a local institution. There’s no better way to sample the wonders of North Florida.
Kanvas – If your golf game has you aiking, try a visit to Kanvas Day Spa. With a range of spa treatment options offered in a relaxing setting you’ll find your best swing thoughts in no time. Kanvas offers a variety of services including retail therapy for those who may want to take their relaxation home with them. Located in the heart of Midtown, Kanvas is easy to get to from anywhere in town. An expert massage can make the memories of bad shots fade away quickly.
Jake Gaither Golf Course – If you’ve got the itch for a few more holes, then go check out Jake Gaither Golf Course. As Tallahassee’s only nine hole course, Jake Gaither makes for a great way to add on a quick loop at the end of the day. The facility is named for legendary Florida A&M football coach Jake Gaither who amassed one of the sport’s all time winning records. With adventurous holes tucked into a quiet setting, its the perfect place to walk a few holes with friends and family.
Kool Beanz Cafe – At Kool Beanz, the menu changes daily and the atmosphere is always lively. With fresh entrees inspired by local flavors, every trip to Kool Beanz is a bit different. The one thing that never changes is the high quality food and outstanding service. Be sure to go hungry as portions are large and hard to put down. Whatever you do, don’t miss dessert. The sweet creations of pastry chef Sylvia Gould recently earned her a James Beard Award nomination. Her baked Alaska is worth the trip to Tallahassee all by itself.
Over/Under – Stick around Midtown for a nightcap at Over/Under. A bar and tapas hang that makes for a wonderful place to wind down after a full day. With an expansive cocktail menu and no shortage of spirited selections, Over/Under is always a great spot to end the night.
Day 3 – A First Class Finale
A simple game pairs well with refined tastes
Capital Cascades Trail – A good walk is always a great warm up for the golf course. Weaving through the heart of Downtown Tallahassee, the Capital Cascades Trail provides plenty of room for walkers, joggers, runners, and bikes to explore the center of the city. The trail follows Franklin Boulevard to Cascades Park and then stretches over South Monroe street via a pedestrian bridge. From there you can continue on down FAMU Way on to Railroad Square and beyond. The trail even connects to the St. Marks Trail which bikers can take all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t burn all your energy before golf, but Capital Cascades Trail is a great way to see the city.
Canopy Road Cafe (Southwood) – No round of golf should start without first enjoying a hearty breakfast. At Canopy Road, there’s no way to go hungry. With an expansive menu of classic breakfast options and the best pancakes in town, Canopy Roads will leave you wanting to stay an extra day just so you can eat it again. No matter your favorite breakfast flavor, you’ll find something to love at Canopy Road.
Southwood Golf Club – Located in the Southeast corner of the city, the Southwood Golf Club is routed through one of Tallahassee’s most desirable planned communities. The course and surrounding neighborhood were once all part of an expansive farm owned by 20th century industrialist Ed Ball. Developed by the St. Joe Company, the Southwood Golf Club is the centerpiece of an active community that features scenic trails, stately homes, and a lively town center. The course was designed by Masters champion Fred Couples and showcases the hills, live oaks,and scenic vistas that Tallahassee is known for. Come for golf, stay and enjoy the warm hospitality.
Tallahassee has always enjoyed a good party. Especially when it’s a wedding. If you know someone looking for a southern backdrop for their big day, make sure they take a peek at the Ball House. Located in the Southwood neighborhood and only a few swings from the golf course the Ball House and Cottages are the perfect place to plan a memorable event. With overnight accommodations and a setting draped by moss and history, The Ball House is one of Tallahassee’s great gathering venues.
Fuma Cigar Social – After golf, stop by one of Tallahassee’s top cigar bars. At Fuma Cigar Social, guests will find a wide range of cigar brands and flavors available in one of the city’s largest humidors. A full selection of beer and wine are available and there are even semi-private areas available for reservation. Golfers stopping by for a smoke can enjoy the Rocky Patel sponsored lounge area with comfortable seating and spacious areas for a relaxing experience. Located in Midtwon, Fuma is also convenient to nearby dining and nightlife.
Ill Lusso – If you believe in saving the best experiences for last, then Ill Lusso will be an ideal way to wind down your golf trip.Overlooking the beauty of Tallahassee’s downtown Chain of Parks, Ill Lusso serves a unique combination of Italian inspired pastas, fresh seafood, and prime steaks. The menu is overflowing with inventive delights and classic cuts. This is a steakhouse for those who love steakhouses. Modern in its delivery, the experience at Ill Lusso stands out in Tallahassee. There simply isn’t anything else to compare it to. You’ll be so very glad you went.
Eve on Adams – No golf trip is complete without a proper toast to the shots hit along the way. Located on top of the Doubletree Hotel in the heart of Downtown Tallahassee, Eve on Adams lures in visitors with the most incredible views in the city. However, it’s the strong and tasteful libations that keep folks there all night. From the rooftop bar, you can take in panoramic views of the Capital City Skyline. Come before the sun sets and you’ll be treated to a parade of colorful evening light. Even after dark, the twinkle of lights across the sky are intoxicating. Clink those glasses and start dreaming about a return trip to Tallahassee.
Final Morning – Homeward Bound
Experience incredible wonders before heading home.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park – Located just over the county line, Wakulla Springs is the largest freshwater spring on earth. The beauty of this place has attracted visitors to the area for centuries. Used to film scenes for movies like The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Tarzan, and Airport ‘77, the springs form some of the most scenic waters in Florida. Boat tours are available year round in the Summer visitors can plunge to cooler temperatures from the high dive. The Wakulla Lodge makes for a great lunch stop too. It’s an ideal stop on the road out of town.
St. Mark National Wildlife Refuge – For those who love postcards, it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful image of North Florida than the lighthouse at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. This is Tallahassee’s coast line. With over 68,000 acres in conservation, the refuge is a winter retreat for migratory birds across North America. Once behind the gates, you’ll find one of the great Sunday drives on the continent. Stop by the lighthouse and take in the seashore before heading for home. It’s an unforgettable place to see.
Pebble Hill Plantation/Thomasville, Ga – If your way home means heading North, then be sure to point your wheels towards Pebble Hill Plantation. Originally a full working plantation during the antebellum era, Pebble Hill later became a sporting retreat for the wealthy industrialist Herman Mellville Hanna. Today, Pebble Hill is a popular place for weddings, corporate outings, and other events. Tour the scenic and sprawling grounds of this 3,000 acre estate and you’ll capture the essence of the Red Hills region. After Pebble Hill, keep driving to nearby Thomasville to take in the shops and southern charm that has made that small city such a popular South Georgia destination.
Hotel Recommendations: A New Take on Tallahassee Lodging
Golf is only part of the trip.
AC by Marriott (Opening Spring 2021)– Overlooking the urban oasis that is Cascades Park, the AC by Marriott offers guests the chance to stay right in the middle of the action. This brand new flagship hotel is located only steps from the Capital City Amphitheater making it the perfect place to take in Tallahassee festivals and concerts that populate the calendar. The rooftop bar, Charlie Park, provides expansive views to the South and the adjacent greenspace offers over 2 miles of trails just outside the lobby.
Hyatt House – Situated at the corner of FAMU Way and Railroad Avenue, the Hyatt House hotel is located exactly halfway between Florida A&M University and Florida State University. The Hyatt House is tucked into the Railroad Square Arts district as well making it the ideal place to stay for those who like to explore the eclectic side of a city. Quick access to Tallahassee International Airport is a bonus as well.
Hotel Indigo – For the boutique hotel enthusiast, the Hotel Indigo offers a vibe tailored specifically to Tallahassee’s college town heritage. The Hotel is adjacent to the Florida State University Campus and close enough to Doak Campbell Stadium that the Marching Chiefs can play you a Seminole lullaby. Located on Gaines Street, there are dozens of restaurants and shops within easy walking distance. Although the rooms are much better than the nearby dorms, you’ll be hard pressed not to feel like a student again.
Springhill Suites Tallahassee North – Just off Interstate 10 and Thomasville Road, the newly built Springhill Suites Tallahassee North is located smack dab in the middle of the Market Square District. With a plethora of restaurants, shops, and other experiences surrounding your room, there’s no shortage of popular places to discover. This all suites accommodation will give you plenty of room to stretch out while visiting the Capital City and the convenience to all parts of town is unmatched.
Jay Revell is a golf writer based in Tallahassee, Florida. He is the author of The Nine Virtues of Golf: Essays, Musings, and Other Contemplations on the Game. His stories, essays, travelogues and histories have been featured in a wide variety of popular publications including The Golfer’s Journal, McKellar Magazine, Golf.com, and Golf Advisor. Jay has also worked to tell golf stories for brands such as MacKenzie Golf Bags and Visit Florida. He publishes regular musings on the game via his personal website JayRevell.com.