By  Mike Miller  Updated December 26, 2023

Live Oak, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

Live Oak is the county seat of Suwannee County.  It has a population of about 7,000 and is about halfway between Jacksonville and Tallahassee on US-90 and I-10.

Like many small North Central Florida towns, Live Oak was founded before the American Civil War. 

Suwannee County Courthouse, Live Oak, FloridaSuwannee County Courthouse, Live Oak, Florida


In the years after the Civil War and towards the end of the 1800's, Live Oak was one of the largest towns in Florida. 

It is near Lake City and shares a lot of the same business and recreational opportunities.

The 1905 census listed Live Oak as the fifth largest city in Florida behind only Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tampa and Key West.

Live Oak Vintage PostcardLive Oak Vintage Postcard

One of the most interesting buildings in town is the Suwannee County courthouse, built in 1904.

The town prospered in the early twentieth century as the center of a resort area. 

Thousands of visitors came to soak in the sulfur springs at Suwannee Springs and Dowling Park.

Vintage Postcard Suwannee HotelVintage Postcard Suwannee Hotel

The town's prosperity and growth began to falter with the invasion of boll weevils near the end of World War One. 

The insect devastated the area's cotton crops.

The town achieved unwanted infamy in the Jim Crow era of segregation in North Florida in the 1940s and 1950s. 

National attention was focused on Live Oak because of two violent incidents directed toward African-Americans.


Today's Live Oak is a pleasant piece of Old Florida. 

Many of the large live oak trees that gave the town its name still stand proudly throughout the town. 

Live Oak, Wikimedia Commons, photo by EbyabeLive Oak Downtown
Wikimedia Commons, photo by Ebyabe

Live Oak is the largest community in tiny Suwannee County and the only actual incorporated city. 

The town is close to the Suwannee River and is a good place for canoeing, fishing and swimming. 

Kirby House, Wikimedia Commons, photo by EbyabeKirby House
Wikimedia Commons, photo by Ebyabe

The town has many historic buildings, along with a lot of shops and restaurants.

An example of a well preserved historic building is the Kirby House.

Live Oak is the center of a lot of agricultural activity, including timber, straw and watermelons.  

It is also a good place to stage trips to the Suwannee River and numerous freshwater springs.  The city is also near the 14,882 acre Twin Rivers State Forest.

There are several good fishing spots in the many small lakes around the Live Oak area.  The most well stocked is Suwannee Lake, but there is also Workman Lake, Dexter Lake and others.

Every year the Suwannee River Music Festival draws thousands of visitors to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.


Suwannee River State Park 
3631 201st Path, Live Oak, FL 32060 | (386) 362-2746  
This beautiful state park is where history meets natural beauty. With the majestic Suwannee River flowing through it, the park offers a plethora of outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, and bird watching.

Explore the remnants of a 19th-century steamship and Civil War era earthworks, making it our favorite spot for those interested in both nature and history.

For hiking enthusiasts, the Big Oak Trail offers a peaceful hike through picturesque landscapes along the Suwannee River. The trail leads to a magnificent 350-year-old oak tree, providing a perfect backdrop for nature photography and a moment of awe.   

Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park 
3076 95th Drive, Live Oak, FL 32060 | (386) 364-1683 
As I discussed earlier on this page, this venue is a must-visit for music lovers. Even when there's no festival happening, the park offers a serene setting for camping, horseback riding, and exploring the scenic beauty of the Suwannee River. It’s a perfect blend of entertainment and outdoor adventure. 

Heritage Park and Gardens 
1004 Helvenston St SE, Live Oak, FL 32064 | (386) 330-0133 
This tranquil park is a lovely spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic under the shade of majestic oaks. With its beautifully landscaped gardens and historic homes, Heritage Park offers a glimpse into the city's past.

It’s a favorite place for a peaceful afternoon soaking in the local culture and history. 

Live Oak Farmers Market 
206 Haines St N E, Live Oak, FL 32060 |  (386) 688-3913 
Immerse yourself in the local community at the Live Oak Farmers Market. Here, you can sample fresh, locally-grown produce and homemade goods while mingling with the friendly locals.

It’s a great way to support local farmers and artisans while enjoying the flavors of the region. 

The Suwannee County Museum 
208 N Ohio Ave, Live Oak, FL 32064 | (386) 362-1776 
Housed in the historic Atlantic Coastline Freight Station, this museum offers fascinating insights into the county's history, from its early Native American inhabitants to the development of the railroad.

With a variety of exhibits and artifacts, it’s a must-see for history enthusiasts. 

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park 
18532 180th St, Live Oak, FL 32060 | (386) 776-2194 
This state park is a paradise for underwater adventurers. Known for its extensive underwater cave systems, it’s one of the premier cave diving destinations in the world.

Even if you’re not a diver, the park’s crystal-clear springs are perfect for swimming and snorkeling, making it a favorite spot for water enthusiasts. 


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