Explore and Discover Starke, FL

June 24th, 2019 by Corey A Edwards

Bradford County Courthouse in Starke FLStarke, FL may be known as the city midway between Jacksonville and Gainesville – but it has a whole lot more to offer than just a wide spot in the road.

U.S. Highway 301, the most direct route between Jacksonville and Gainesville, passes right through the heart of Starke. Consequently, the town is often referred to as a bedroom community for the two larger cities, which doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all the town has to offer.

Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast is located just outside Starke. While many of our Starke, FL bed and breakfast guests are here for happenings in Gainesville or Jacksonville, they soon discover that Starke has its own set of attractions.

History of Starke, FL

Starke, FL is the Bradford County seat, with a population of around 5,400. The town was officially established in 1857 when a railroad line connecting Fernandina to Cedar Key was built. Since Starke was the midpoint, trains regularly stopped here for refueling and other reasons.

Starke is said to be one of two towns in North Florida named after Madison Starke Perry, Governor of Florida from 1857 to 1861. Then again, it may have been named after a developer’s fiancée or even a prominent slaveholder from the area. The governor origin sounds best, however.

If you’re a fan of history, you’ll want to check out central Starke’s Call Street Historic District, just two blocks east of U.S. Highway 301. Call Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features historic architecture like the old Bradford County Courthouse (pictured above). Be sure to visit the the Eugene L. Matthews Historical Museum while visiting Call Street. It showcases some fascinating historical artifacts of Bradford County history.

Things To Do In Starke

The Call Street area also features several restaurants and antique stores. Speaking of shopping, if you enjoy perusing unique items for sale you’ll want to visit The Shoppes at Thompson Street. Antique fans will also want to visit Scarlet’s Southern Accents (139 E Call St), and nearby Waldo Flea Market and Antique Village.

If you’re here during the first weekend in April, don’t miss out on the annual Starke Strawberry Festival. This classic, small-town festival features vendors, rides, live entertainment, and – of course! – lots of delicious strawberries!

Other big draws for the area are The Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park, Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park, and Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum.

Outdoor Recreation in Starke, FL

The Starke area features a number of lakes that are excellent for fishing or recreating.

Three that come right to mind are just a few miles west of town: Lake Sampson, Lake Rowell, and Lake Crosby. Fish these waters for bluegill, sunfish, crappie, and both sunshine and largemouth bass. Lake Sampson, in particular, is a fishermen’s paradise. Lake Sampson and Rowell are connected by a canal, which is passable by small boat.  Canoeing, swimming, picnicking, and hiking trails are also available.

If you enjoy biking, you’ll enjoy riding the Starke – Lake Butler Loop. This 61-mile bicycle route passes through Starke, as well as Hampton and Brooker, on its way around to Lake Butler. In fact, the route passes quite close by our Florida bed and breakfast located on Hampton Lake.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do in the Starke area. Book your stay at Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast, then come explore the area. We’ll be happy to help you get set in the right direction for wherever your interests may take you. See you soon!

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