The Second Seminole War began amid the longleaf pines at what is now Dade Battlefield Historic State Park.
On December 25, 1835, Major Francis Dade left Fort Brooke – located in what would become Tampa – and led his troops north on the military road to Fort King, Ocala.
This state park interprets what happened when Federal troops and Seminole warriors met in these piney woods.
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Address: 7200 Battlefield Parkway, Bushnell
Fees: $3 per vehicle
Restroom: At the trailhead
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM to sunset. Leashed dogs welcome.
From US 301 in Bushnell, take CR 476 west for 0.5 mile. Turn left on Battlefield Drive, which leads into the park. After paying your entrance fee, turn right into the first parking area. .
About the Park
Several days out, the troops fell into an unexpected trap at this very site: 180 Seminole warriors waited, angered by the federal Indian removal policy.
After six hours and two waves of attacks, more than 100 soldiers lay dying. Only three escaped, Ransom Clark being the one to recount the story when the men were found.
During the annual reenactment, chills will run down your spine as the ghost of Ransom Clark stands before the assembled crowd.
“This is where they killed us all,” he said, striding out of the piney woods to meet us. “And I got to keep coming back.”
Every December, the reenactment of the battle is a colorful testament to Florida history, unfolding in a drama narrated by an actor playing the ghost of Ransom Clark.
If you enjoy living history, this is one spectacle you shouldn’t miss. The rest of the year, the battlefield and its graves are a quiet place to roam beneath the oaks and pines and reflect on the past.
Hike the Pine Flatwoods Trail at Dade Battlefield
Dade Battlefield Pine Flatwoods Trail
Walk a gentle loop through the longleaf pine forest that saw one of the bloodiest moments in Florida history, the Dade Massacre that sparked the Second Seminole War on December 28, 1835.
See our photos of Dade Battlefield State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Withlacoochee State Forest
With more than 155,000 acres spread over several counties, Withlacoochee State Forest is Florida’s second largest state forest, and arguably the most popular for outdoor recreation
Hog Island Nature Trail
For a dip into primordial wilderness along the Withlacoochee River, walk the Hog Island Nature Trail at Hog Island Recreation Area in Withlacoochee State Forest
Withlacoochee State Trail
Tracing 44 miles of railroad history down forested corridors, past big lakes and city parks, and through quaint communities, the Withlacoochee State Trail is one sweet ride
Lake Townsen Preserve
Offering access to the Withlacoochee River and the Withlacoochee State Trail while protecting a swath of environmentally sensitive lands west of Nobleton, Lake Townsen Preserve is the gateway to miles of trails.