Tallahassee, nestled among the rolling hills of northwest Florida, is located in the center of the eight-county "Big Bend" area. Geographically, Tallahassee is close to both the Gulf of Mexico, a mere twenty miles to the south, and to Georgia, fourteen miles to the north.
Tallahassee's rolling landscape, typical of regions further north, is unique among the major cities of Florida. Some areas of the county, including the downtown ridge encompassing the Capitol complex, City Hall, and the County Courthouse, exceed elevations of 200 feet. The highest elevation in Leon County is 288 feet, found in the northern part of the county, about a quarter mile to the southwest of Lake McBride. To the south of the city the hills yield to the flat terrain that is typical throughout the peninsula of Florida. The northern portion of the county consists of a thick layer of sand, silt, and clay overlying limestone formations, while most of the southern portion is characterized by flat, sandy lowlands.
The marketable natural resources of Leon County are not numerous, but the few that are present are plentiful. Limestone, a necessary ingredient for the production of concrete, is found throughout the northwestern portion of Florida. Kaolin clay exists in considerable amounts and has proven to be a valuable resource. The abundance of trees and timber is a resource uncommon to many other areas of the state. The beauty of the local trees is exemplified in Maclay Gardens State Park which is the site of several of Florida's champion trees including the flowering Dogwood, the Hawthorn tree, the Horsesugar tree, the Sweetbay Magnolia, and the Silverbell tree. These trees and others, including the great Live Oak, often extend their branches over the roadway to create a canopied effect, a feature which is held in high esteem by local residents and visitors.
Seven roads within Leon County (Old Bainbridge, Meridian, Centerville, Miccosukee, Old St. Augustine, Sunny Hill and Old Centerville) have been officially designated as "canopied roads" and enjoy limits on roadside development, serving to protect the trees.
Leon County possesses excellent wildlife reserves located in the hilly terrain north of Tallahassee and in the Apalachicola National Forest to the south. The hunter can take his pick of quail, turkey, duck, geese, squirrel and whitetail deer. Numerous lakes are available for freshwater fishing including Lake Jackson, Lake Talquin, Lake Iamonia, and Lake Miccosukee.
Tallahassee has the mild, moist climate characteristic of the Gulf States, and experiences a subtropical summer similar to the rest of Florida. In contrast to the Florida peninsula, however, the panhandle, of which Tallahassee is a part, experiences four seasons.
Prevailing winds average 6.5 miles per hour and are from a southerly direction in the spring and summer, then shift toward a more northerly direction later in the year.
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