January 15, 2019
The Florida Cracker Trail is a historic route that early pioneers used for driving cattle from range lands in the interior of the state to salt water ports for shipment to other destinations. These days you can follow the route by car or horse.
The trail starts just east of Bradenton and runs 120 miles easterly across the state to Fort Pierce.
The route includes sections of State Roads 64 and 66, U.S. Highway 17, U.S. Highway 98, U.S. Highway 441, and State Road 68 on into Fort Pierce.
The trail first came into use in the 1850s and provided access to ports so cattle could be shipped to Cuba and Key West. During the Civil War, much of this cattle found its way the the Confederate Army.
BRADENTON is the salt water port at the western end of the Florida Cracker Trail. Click on the photo to learn more about the history of Bradenton and its current attractions.
ZOLFO SPRINGS is home to the Cracker Trail Museum and Pioneer Village with a collection of old buildings and items related to pioneer history. Click on the photo to learn more about the museum and village.
WAUCHULA has been a cattle town and agricultural center for many years. It has some nice shops and restaurants. Click on the photo to learn more about Wauchula.
LAKE PLACID is known for its striking collection of murals on the walls of many downtown buildings, and is the Caladium Capital of the World. Click on the photo to learn more about Lake Placid.
HENSCRATCH FARMS is an interesting vineyard and winery just north of Lake Placid. It is noted for its free ranging flock of chickens that lay green eggs. You can enjoy sipping wine and soaking in the peacefulness of the farm. Click on the photo to learn more about Henscratch Farms.
SEBRING is an attractive town that was professional planned and has many artistic and historic amenities. It is near one of the state's natural treasures, Highlands Hammock State Park. Click on the photo to learn more about Sebring
FORT PIERCE is the salt water port at the eastern end of the Florida Cracker Trail. It has an attractive downtown area and some beautiful beaches on the barrier island. Click on the photo to learn more about Fort Pierce.
You will see people and places along the Florida Cracker Trail that will remind you of scenes from Patrick Smith's classic novel, "A Land Remembered".
The Florida Cracker Trail organization sponsors an annual cross-state ride that re-enacts the old trail drives from Bradenton to Fort Pierce. The ride takes place on the third Saturday of February.
The ride is open to advanced riders and trained horses, and ends each year with a parade through Fort Pierce.
Read more about the Cracker Trail Annual Cross-State Ride.
The organization also has a Facebook page "Florida Cracker Trail Ride".