Picturesque gardens, masterpieces of floral arraignment and architecture, the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park is a special state park in north Florida, near the capital, Tallahassee. These gorgeous gardens were first planted in 1923 as part of Alfred B. Maclay’s winter home. A New York financier with a green thumb, Alfred B. Maclay created this spectacular winter retreat for his family, mimicking his ancestral Scottish homeland and naming the grounds Killearn Plantation and Gardens in its honor.
After his death in 1944, his wife Louise Maclay continued the tradition and expanded the garden even further. Many prominent people of the era were entertained on the grounds, even the famous Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In 1953 Mrs. Maclay donated the 23 acre garden and property to the state of Florida. In 1974 Louise Maclay passed away.
Since then, acreage was purchased adjacent to the park in several purchases throughout the years to add to the parks now 1000 plus acres of upland lakes and pine forests, unique habitats to this area, now threatened due to the encroachment of the nearby city Tallahassee.
Lake Hall was acquired in 1973 with the purchase of the Lake Overstreet addition of the park. It now offers non-motorized boating as well as swimming and fishing. Kayaking and canoeing is popular here during fall and spring. Several covered pavilions along the lakeshore offer shade from the sun. Grills are nearby for hamburgers and hotdogs and the perfect lakeside picnic.
Two nature trails are onsite as well as the secret garden, reflection pool and the many miles of flowers, shrubs and garden topiaries will make certain you’ve got plenty to see and do by foot at the park. Bicycle and equestrian enthusiasts can enjoy the over five miles of multi-use trails that roam the gardens and traverse the lakes shoreline.
While there is so much to do here throughout the year, the best time to visit Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park is during the peak flower blooming months. From January 1 through April 30, flowers are ablaze at this spectacular floral display.
Getting to the park is easy. Simply take I-10 to US 319/Thomasville Road and turn west on Maclay Road. The park is just a few hundred yards or so to the right. Find out more about Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park Here.