Experience Old Florida At Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park

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When my parents were visiting in the spring of 2023, we made a couple of trips to Micanopy and on one of those we also went over to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park!

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I had known about it for a while, I knew it was the former home of the author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, but I hadn’t actually been there yet.

I didn’t know you needed to go on a tour to see the farmhouse or that it was only offered Thursday to Sunday.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park
The barn and farmhouse

Thankfully, we happened to be there on the right day at the right time. We got there and a tour was leaving in about 15 minutes!

We wandered through the orange grove and looked at the other old cabin while we waited for the tour to start.

The backyard and garden

There were already a few people waiting for the tour to start and more joined after we did.

They allow 20 people per group and I would say we were pretty close to that by the time we headed into the farmhouse.

Before heading into the farmhouse though, the tour guide told us a bit about Marjorie, how she got here, and just the Cross Creek area in general.

It was interesting to hear it all but there is a popular road literally right next to the park with a lot of very loud vehicles on it so it was hard to hear her at times. Not her fault though.

Before we knew it we were headed into the house which is very cute and perfectly shows what an Old Florida home was like.

I enjoyed the walk through the house and all the different rooms, seeing what they actually looked like while she lived there.

My favorite parts were all the books and the kitchen. There is a collection of books from famous authors who visited, as well as Marjorie’s own books.

And the kitchen was just cool. I liked the whole house though, really. Then we came out into the backyard by the little garden.

It’s not a rushed walk through the house but you are kept moving so if you want to linger a tiny bit more, try to be at the back of the group.

We were probably in the house for 10 minutes? Maybe 15? It wasn’t very long. I would say we were out listening to the guide at the beginning for 15-20.

Marjorie’s typewriter

The amount of time before going into the house will vary, I think. There was some chatting between the guide and group along with some general “what it’s like living around here now” from the guide.

It’s a cool little state park and is a good addition to visiting this area. You could have a whole “Old Florida” day between here, Micanopy, and The Yearling which I would highly recommend doing.

I’m glad we went as I had been curious about it for a while. It’s not a top state park for me but I did enjoy our time there and would like to go back to see what the hiking is like.

Buy The Yearling here!

Who is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings?

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, best known for writing The Yearling, was an author who lived in Cross Creek Florida on a citrus grove.

She was born in Washington DC in 1896 and died in St. Augustine in 1953. After studying at UW-Madison (woo!) she married and live in both New York and Kentucky before moving to Florida.

She and her husband eventually divorced when he realized rural Florida life wasn’t for him. However, she later remarried.

Upon her death she left most of her property to the University of Florida in Gainesville but it was eventually passed to the state to become the state park it is today.

The Yearling won a Pulitzer Prize in 1939 and was later made into a movie. While this is her most famous work, she has ten other novels and short story collections.

You’ll find out even more details about her life on the tour. If you’re not visiting, you can read more here.

Buy The Yearling here!

Where is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park?

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park is in Cross Creek, Florida, between Orange Lake and Lochloosa Lake.

It’s about 20 minutes from both Gainesville and Ocala, and 15 minutes from Micanopy.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park fees

There is a $3 entrance fee that can be paid in the honor box. You’ll need exact change since there’s no one at the entrance. There are no additional fees for farmhouse tours.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park hours

The park is open 9-5 daily and farmhouse tours are available Thursday through Sunday at 10, 11, 1, 2, and 3.

Can you see the farmhouse at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park without a tour?

Unfortunately, no. The only way to go into the farmhouse is on one of the guided farmhouse tours.

Is there hiking at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park?

Yes! I actually didn’t know this while we were there so we didn’t do any, but there are two 15-minute trails that take you into the woods around the farmhouse.

How long do you need at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park?

I would say 1-3 hours, depending on if you do the farmhouse tour. If you do it, 2-3 hours (depending on how early you’re there for the tour and any chatting), if not, one hour is probably enough.

Is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park worth it?

If you like history, are a Marjorie fan, and want to get a feel for Old Florida, yes! If you want to do some hiking, probably not.

I enjoyed it and I’m glad I went because I was curious but it’s not a place I see myself going back to unless someone is visiting and really wants to go.

I would consider going back to do the two short hiking trails since I didn’t know they existed when we were there.

What else is there do to near Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park?

Eat at The Yearling – The Yearling is a delicious restaurant with “regional fare in homey digs.”

It’s open Thursday to Sunday making it the perfect place to enjoy lunch (or dinner) after visiting the park. We love eating here.

Hike the Kathy Cantwell Trail – This is a nice trail in Prairie Creek Preserve about 20 minutes from the park.

It’s quiet and you’re likely to have it to yourself. There area a few other trails here, too.

Hike Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve – Not far from Prairie Creek Preserve is Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve, another great quiet hiking area.

Visit Paynes Prairie State Park – Between Micanopy and Gainesville is Paynes Prairie State Park.

You can hike the Bolen Bluff Trail, to the prairie overlook tower, or relax by Lake Wauberg. If you go a bit further, you can hike the La Chua Trail and/or Sweetwater Wetlands Trail.

Wander through Micanopy – Micanopy is the cutest little town in Florida and perfectly captures everything that is “Old Florida.”

Enjoy a BLT and key lime pie (the best ever) at Old Florida Cafe, wander through the many antique shops, and take a stroll at Tuscawilla Preserve.

Hike the Orange Lake Overlook trail – The Orange Lake Overlook Trail is a great easy hike on the opposite side of Orange Lake from the state park.

It’s just 1.2 miles and not very busy so you may have it to yourself. It’s a very enjoyable trail.

Other posts you may like

Orange Lake Overlook Trail

Florida places to visit

Gainesville area hiking

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park photo gallery

Have you been to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park? What did you think of it? Do you want to go? Have you read any of her books?

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