Florida is an interesting place, with a very interesting history. It makes sense that some of the best places in our state are the charming and historic towns, especially the oldest ones. It’s difficult to pin down the oldest places in the state, because so many of our towns predate Florida as a state, or even as a U.S. territory. We settled on using the official date of incorporation to help us find the 10 oldest towns in Florida, but it’s all open to interpretation. These towns also happen to be great places to visit. Here are 1o of the oldest towns in Florida (not listed in any particular order):
This small town just south of Gainesville is known for its historic buildings and great antique stores. It was incorporated in 1837, but its roots go all the way back before Florida became a U.S. territory.
Florida's largest city is also one of its oldest. Soon after Spain gave up Florida to the United States, folks near the area the British had called Cowford started founding this town named after Andrew Jackson. It was officially incorporated in 1832.
This town of around 2.200 in the Panhandle was originally incorporated as the town of West Point in 1827, and then became Apalachicola in 1831. It's famous for it small town charm and excellent oysters.
This town in Gadsden County was established in 1828, named for our sixth president, John Quincy Adams. In its early years Quincy became very prosperous due to a booming tobacco industry.
5. Key West
Lt. Commander Matthew C. Perry planted an American flag on Key West in 1822, claiming the islands for the United States, and it was incorporated as a city in Florida in 1828. Head to the Key West Historic District, or Old Town, to see some of the oldest structures on the island.
Tallahassee was incorporated in 1825. It was chosen as the capital of Florida long before Florida became a state, due to its central location between Pensacola and St. Augustine.
Marianna was founded in 1828, and named for the Scottish founder's wife Mary and her friend Anna. Marianna's downtown has a nicely restored historic district, and it has been recognized as a Florida Main Street Town.
8. Fernandina Beach
The "Isle of 8 Flags" may have been controlled by eight different nations, but it's been an incorporated town here since 1825. The history of this city in Northeast Florida goes much, much farther back. Many of the 19th-century buildings remain in the charming downtown district.
Pensacola is one of the oldest and most historic cities in America, with a settlement that predated even St. Augustine's (but only lasted a short time). Pensacola became part of the U.S. in 1821, and it was officially incorporated in 1825. Its history far predates this time, and it was ruled by five different flags in its history.
10. St. Augustine
The oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States, St. Augustine retains a lot of its historic charm, while continuing to evolve and grow. It also served as the capital of Spanish Florida, and of U.S. Territory of Florida before it was changed to Tallahassee.
Have you been to any of these historic towns? Does your town have a lot of fascinating history? Please share it with us!