View All Parks Director's Message

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

 About Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Pink and white camellia in full bloom.

A NOTE FROM THE MANAGER

Elizabeth Weidner

NOTE:  the formal gardens will be temporarily closed for maintenance requirements on Tuesday February 3, 2015.  All other areas of the park will be open as usual on that day, and we anticipate the gardens will reopen on Wednesday, February 4th. 

January through April marks the high blooming season for the Gardens, a time when the historical ornamental Gardens designed by Alfred Maclay are considered a “special feature.”  The backbone of the plantings is made up of camellias, shrubs that bloom during the dormant season.  The glossy dark green leaves are a spectacular setting for the jewel-toned flowers, and serve as a backdrop for the many other species of flowering trees and shrubs.  Of course weather is changeable during this time of year, so a hard freeze may cause opened blooms to be browned, but within a few days new buds will open, starting the floral display all over again.  It may be wise to time a visit for after a warm spell of several days, which is typical of our North Florida winters.

The Maclay House museum is open during this time of year, at no additional cost other than payment of the Gardens entry fee, $6.00 per adult or $2.00 per child ages 2 through 12.  The Maclay House showcases antique furnishings originally owned and used by the Maclay family, who were in residence at this time of year in the 1920s through 1940s, and for some years later.  Mr. Maclay was a collector of many objects, including early-American furniture, pottery and glass, some of which are on display.  Exhibits interpret Maclay’s design influences in his creation of the Gardens, and other family and Gardens history.  Mrs. Maclay and her children donated the park to the State of Florida in 1953, to remain as a memorial to her husband and his creation of a place of beauty and serenity, and for the people of Florida and our guests to enjoy.

The park’s Lake Hall Recreation Area continues to be popular for picnics on warm days, and many people enjoy renting kayaks or bringing in their own canoes to use on the lake.  Fishermen enjoy angling in the clear waters, fishing from boats with trolling motors.   No gasoline powered boats may be launched from the park’s boat ramp.

The Lake Overstreet area of the park is popular year-round for biking, running, hiking and horse-riding.  Over 5 miles of shared-use trails skirt the entirety of Lake Overstreet, and alongside a spectacular ravine with mature beech, hickory and magnolia trees.  In addition, another several miles of designated bike trails are avidly used by the cycling community.  This wooded and historical setting is a perfect place for exercise, whether vigorous or a more leisurely stroll.  The entire park is a great place for bird-watching; check our events calendar for upcoming programs on birding and other topics of interest.

The park depends upon the help of many volunteers to serve as docents in the Maclay House, help with trail maintenance, and perform a variety of other duties.  If interested in volunteering, please call the park at 850-487-4556.

 

 

DESIGNATIONS

The Great Florida Birding Trail Logo Greenways and Trails Designated Site Logo

GETTING HERE

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens is located .5 miles north on I-10 on U.S. 319/Thomasville Road. Turn west on Maclay Road. The park is a short distance on the right.

GET INVOLVED

  • Volunteer -

    Volunteering at Maclay Gardens enables you to learn new skills while teaching others. From working in the garden or leading garden tours to Maclay House or visitor center docents, volunteers are an essential key to the park's success. To learn more about volunteering at Maclay, contact Ginger Nichols (850) 487-4115.

  • For forms, information and benefits of volunteering visit Get Involved.
  • Friends of Maclay Gardens
  • 3540 Thomasville Road
    Tallahassee, FL 32309

CONCESSIONAIRES

PET POLICY

  • Florida State Parks Pet Policy
  • Pets must be on a six-foot, hand-held leash and are only permitted in the Lake Hall recreation area or on the Lake Overstreet trails.