The roosters are crowing as you walk down the old dirt road into a scene from the late 1800s in Florida.
Cattle browse behind a rough-hewn split-rail fence and tobacco hangs from the rafters of a drying barn.
A cat slinks around the herb garden outside a farmhouse with the windows flung open for the breeze.
This is Dudley Farm, a working demonstration farm on the site where the Dudley family once lived, worked, and sold goods in their store along the road between Newberry and Hogtown.
Resources for exploring the area around Dudley Farm
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Address: 18730 W Newberry Rd, Newberry
Fees: $5 per vehicle
Restroom: At the visitor center
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 9-5 Wed to Sun, closed Mon-Tue. Pets are not permitted in the historic farm area, but may be walked along the nature trail.
From Interstate 75 exit 387 in Gainesville, follow SR 26 west towards Newberry for 7.6 miles. The entrance is on the right soon after the traffic light at SW 170th St.
About the Park
Dudley Farm is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a working farm, home to three generations of the Dudley family.
It is now treated with the same gentle care by volunteers and rangers who work the farm. You’ll find them grinding cane, cracking corn, and mucking out stalls.
All the while, they’re wearing period clothing and talking about a bygone era they’re living as if it was today.
The museum at the visitors center interprets the several generations of family who lived here, and how farming changed over the years.
The formal tour will open your eyes to how difficult life was for Florida’s early settlers, or you can wander the farmstead on your own on a self-guided tour.
An old general store offers up old-time hand-made wares from the farm, with more displayed at the visitor center, including exhibits of farm implements.
More than 18 buildings make up the complex, which – especially with all the farm animals – is a great place to take the kids.
The Pause and Ponder Trail is a short loop that starts just inside the fence from the parking area and leads past picnic tables in the woods.
Walking both this interpretive nature trail and the paved and unpaved loop through the farmstead will net you a hike of a little over a mile.
See our photos of Dudley Farm
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
One of the most beautiful and complex gardens in Florida, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens sits beneath grand live oaks with more than a dozen themed gardens on 62 acres. Bamboo is their specialty, with Florida’s best collection of these tall grasses.
Watermelon Pond WEA
With more than 4,200 acres in this FWC Wildlife Environmental Area, Watermelon Pond WEA offers both solitude and scenery along a vast system of prairie habitats.
Sweetwater Wetlands Park
A gem for Gainesville, Sweetwater Wetlands Park offers a unique perspective on Paynes Prairie
Barr Hammock Preserve
Circling Levy Prairie at Barr Hammock Preserve provides a glimmer of understanding of the chain of prairies that William Bartram saw during his 1774 traverse of the region