There are various plantations to visit in Florida that will provide visitors with a glimpse or two of the life and culture of years past.
Plantations in Florida were important economic centers and became a great part of history. These plantations were the sources of cash crops which slaves grew before. Taking Florida plantation tours will give you insight about the lives of the workers and the culture that they had during the time that these plantations were operational. With rich stories of the past, Florida Plantation Tours will give you an extraordinary vacation.
U.S. Parks Service Plantation
Operated by the National Parks Service, the Kingsley Plantation offers several tours. The estate is part of the 46,000 acre Timucuan Preserve on Fort George Island. It was originally owned by Zephaniah Kingsley back in 1814. It was under his ownership for 20 years and it still retains much of its historic structures. Self-guided tours include going to slaves’ quarters where you can see restored tabby-material, or shell, cabins, barn, garden and kitchen structures. The oldest plantation home in the state, constructed in 1798, can be seen in the main house tour. Admission to this plantation is free of charge.
Florida State Park Plantation Tour
This former sugar plantation on the Manatee River is a Doric Revivalist Vernacular architectural-style home. The Gamble Plantation Historic State Park was the home of Major Robert Gamble, with the mansion as the centerpiece of the whole plantation tour. Tickets to the tour are available online or at the venue.
Amelia Island takes pride in its modern resort at the Villas for overnight stays. It was constructed beginning 1971 and is known to native inhabitants as “Napyca” and to the French as “Isla de Mer” and “Isla de Santa Maria” for the Spanish when they took control of it in 1573. The island was renamed in 1763 after the daughter of the original governor of Georgia, James Oglethorpe. Both the Fernandina Beach and the Fort Clinch State Park can be found on the island. Modern tours being offered include the state park, historic business district, homes of the Victorian era, railroad depot constructed back in 1899, and the state’s oldest and continually operating saloon.
Seasonal and Special-Interest Tours
Florida plantations are host to many special event tours all year round. The Haile-Chestnut family reunion, for example, is held every year in the Kanapaha Plantation in Gainesville. A centerpiece for the plantation tours, the homestead named for the Haile family is a historical landmark. The Fernandina Beach found on the Amelia Island Plantation is the venue for the monthly “Artrageous Artwalk” free tour that features more than a dozen art galleries and numerous art enthusiasts.
Fort George Island can also be toured by Kayak. The tour takes you through waterways where you can encounter various species of beautiful birds and sea creatures including manatees, eagle rays as well as dolphins. You will visit St. Marys, Georgia, the ruins of Dungeness, and the ruins of Stafford Plantation known as “The Chimneys” on this tour.