Lake City, Florida, is the seat of Columbia County and is the northernmost large community in the state. It has been called “The Gateway to Florida” because Interstate 75, which carries so much tourist and commercial traffic, runs through it. February is a good time to book into a budget hotel in Lake City. Every year in February Lake City hosts the Olustee Battle Festival and Re-enactment. Thousands of people come to participate in or watch a re-enactment of the Battle of Olustee, the biggest Civil War battle to take place in Florida. On Lake DeSoto there is also a re-enactment of the “Battle of the Ironclads”, the fight between the USS Monitor and the CSS Merrimac. At any time of year visitors can tour Olustee Battlefield State Park.
Guests staying in discount hotels in Lake City will find that the community has much more to see than the battlefield. There are several beautiful Victorian buildings such as the Columbia County Courthouse and the Chalker-Turner House. The Columbia County Historical Museum is housed in a mansion that dates back to about 1870. Its exhibits include a large number of Civil War artifacts. At Alligator Lake Recreation Area there are six miles of hiking trails. You can rent kayaks to go out on the lake. This park is also known for its colonies of herons, and is very popular with bird watchers.