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Visit This 17th-Century Spanish Mission in Northwest Florida

by Aoife O'Riordan

Feb 21, 2024

© PanHandHop | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Northwest Florida is a haven for beachgoers seeking the waters of Panama City Beach, Pensacola and Destin. But this region of Florida also has some extensive history, offering family travelers a great way to introduce young ones to Florida’s Spanish and indigenous past.

 

Right within the heart of Florida’s capital city, Tallahassee, lies Mission San Luis de Apalache, a mid-17th-century Spanish Franciscan mission. Located just a few miles from Florida State University (making it a perfect diversion for a visit to see the kids at college or a tour of the university), this mission is open to the public and showcases what life was like more than 300 years ago.

 

In fact, you will find reconstructed buildings, including a church, council house, convent, blockhouse and fort, within the property.

 

The mission lies in what was originally a settlement of Anhaica, the capital of the Apalachee Province. Spanish missionaries aimed to both colonize Florida and convert the Timucuan and Apalachee Indians. Although destroyed in 1704 to prevent its use by an oncoming militia of South Carolinians and Creek Indians, the property today pays tribute to the lengthy history of the mission.

 

The property offers guided tours; reenactors dressed in period pieces; and a glimpse at the gardens, where Old World crops are grown to show how missionaries lived off the land.

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