(a 14 minute read)

The Florida Heritage Trail guidebooks are a series of 12 free themed publications about hundreds of historical and cultural destinations across the state.


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I came across a copy of the Florida Civil War Heritage Trail guidebook quite by accident while visiting the Polk County History Center in Bartow, Florida, last year. I could not believe that this glossy 80-page full-color publication was free-for-the-taking, but it was. Shortly thereafter, Jerry and I visited the San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park in St. Marks, Florida, and I acquired several more volumes in the Heritage Trail series. Finally, I sat down at my computer and did a bit of research and discovered that the Florida Division of Historical Resources would send me free copies of the guidebooks with an email request.

The Florida Heritage Trail Publications are a series of 12 themed guidebooks containing a wealth of detailed information about hundreds of destinations across the state, including maps, monuments, museums, historical sites, buildings, events, and much more. The guidebooks are arranged by regions across the state, allowing you to design your own road trip itineraries. The Spanish Colonial Heritage guidebook has an added feature of 4 ready-made multi-day driving tours. Like the Cuban Heritage Trail guidebook, it also includes English and Spanish content on facing pages. The French Heritage Trail guidebook has a similar bilingual feature.

In order to provide accurate availability information for our readers, I contacted the Florida Division of Historical Resources. The bad news is that two of the guidebooks are no longer in print. The good news is that all 12 guidebooks are available in PDF format for free download

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Note: Try not to get nauseous with the animated GIF. I thought it was too cool not to include.

Guidebooks on Your Mobile Devices

As much as I love and use my mobile devices, I am still old-fashioned when it comes to the printed page. I like holding books, and turning pages, and having readily-available information that is not stored in cyberspace. However, I have downloaded these guidebooks and stored them in the Cloud so the digital versions will always be at my fingertips.

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Florida Heritage Trail PDF Guidebooks

(Click on the images below to download PDF files to your computer or mobile device.)

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Order Print Guidebooks

The two guidebooks that are no longer in print are the Florida Jewish Heritage Trail and the Florida Women’s Trail. Because I am a compulsive archivist and completionist, I searched online to see if I could find either of these volumes for sale. As it turned out, I just purchased a used copy of one at Amazon and bid on the other at eBay. Fingers crossed . . . . All of the remaining guidebooks are still in print and free upon request, meaning no charge for the publications themselves nor shipping and handling. You may order any or all of the in-print guidebooks by emailing Susanne Hunt (susanne.hunt@dos.myflorida.com) a list of the titles you are requesting along with your mailing address. I have received all of my past orders within a couple of days.


Online Florida Heritage Trails

The following links are additional Florida Heritage Trail web sites:

1733 Spanish Galleon Trail

Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail

Florida Historic Golf Trail

Florida’s Underwater Preserves

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We Would Love to Hear From You!

We enjoy dialogue with our readers, especially when they share useful travel resources and tips. We would love to hear your experiences with the Florida Heritage Trails guidebooks, as well as learn about other free guidebooks you have used. We invite you to leave your comments and questions below, and we always respond!

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Image Credit: The Florida Division of Historical Resources

The Florida Division of Historical Resources is responsible for preserving and promoting Florida’s historical, archaeological and folk culture resources.

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Howard Blount is founder and co-owner of the travel blog BackroadPlanet.com. He has traveled internationally since boyhood and lived abroad in Mexico, Chile, and Paraguay. Now his passion is navigating the roads-less-traveled of this amazing planet in search of anything rare and remote. On the stuffy side, “Mr. Blount” has been a writer, consultant, and published author with the likes of Simon & Schuster and McGraw-Hill. Recently retired from a 35-year career as a middle school teacher, Howard enjoys spending his time on anything that includes mountains, waterfalls, dachshunds, gospel choirs, books, restored classic movies on Blu-ray, HDTV, autumn, sandhill cranes, hot springs, Florida springs, rain and other gloomy weather, log cabins, cracker shacks, abandoned sites, unearthed history, genealogy, museums, documentaries, To Kill a Mockingbird, scenic and historical sites, castles, cathedrals, the Civil War, cold sheets, National and State Park Passports, quotes, the Rambos, Dionne Warwick, Steely Dan, Doobies, Diet Pepsi, Fish City Grill, anything Apple, all things British, Jesus, and lists. And on a random note, Howard is a fourth cousin once removed to Truman Capote.