I visited Lake Talquin for the first time at the beginning of February 2019 with my boyfriend John and my dog Koda.
The trip was a last minute decision; I had recently started training at Lucky Goat Coffee and by some stroke of luck I didn’t have to be there over the weekend. I had convinced myself that it might be a long time before I had a weekend off again, so I decided to take advantage of that time and plan an adventure. John and I found a place on Hipcamp – a website that is essentially the Airbnb of camping – and two days later we hit the road.
Lake Talquin is only a 30 minute drive from Tallahassee, making it a perfect getaway for when we want to spend the weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We booked our stay at The Goat House; a farm with 38 goats, one very friendly pig, and chickens galore. Our host Melissa met us as we pulled in and gave us a tour of the property and then introduced us to all of her animals.
I grew up in the rural town of Dade City, Florida, so I’m no stranger to farm animals, but Melissa’s goats were among the friendliest creatures I’ve ever met. The tiny horned creatures nuzzled against my leg for attention and followed me around as I explored the pasture. Baby goats ran towards me instead of away and latched onto my shirt thinking they could nurse there. I feel in love with those babies as I scratched between their nub-like horns and watched them wobble around.
From the campsite we could see Lake Talquin twinkling at the bottom of a short trail, so John and I snatched up Melissa’s kayaks and went down to the water. After a bit of coaxing I was able to get Koda in the kayak with me and together we paddled out onto the clear blue lake. The water gently lapped against my vessel and Koda looked around with his eyes wide open, leaning over occasionally to watch the sky reflected on the water.
I’ve gone on many adventures with my fearless pup but this was our first time kayaking together. At first I was uneasy and terrified that he would fall into the water and drag me in with him, but he eventually settled into my lap and relaxed as I paddled along.
It was a cloudy day, but towards the end of our time on the water the sky started to show through the clouds. Koda eventually got restless in the kayak and kept turning around to keep an eye on John as he paddled circles around us. Every time Koda adjusted his position or whipped his head around I felt like we would topple into the water, and since it was a frigid afternoon getting wet was the last thing on my mind. I’m looking forward to kayaking again on a warm summer day so Koda can hop out for a dip in the water whenever he wants to.
Back at The Goat House John and I dragged our camping gear out of the car and started setting up for the night. We pitched the tent and then I cooked dinner while John brought life to the fire pit in the center of the yard. We feasted on a scramble with potatoes, vegan sausage, kale, onion, and eggs, with several s’mores for dessert.
The next morning we woke up to the sound of a dozen roosters crowing their hearts out as the sun began to rise. Somehow I managed to go back to sleep until well after the farm animals started their day. When I crawled out of the tent I was greeted with a homemade farm breakfast from Melissa. John and I quickly devoured the fresh hard-boiled eggs, grapes, and blueberry-lemon bread covered in jam.
Our short adventure to The Goat House and Lake Talquin served as a friendly reminder that Florida has plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. I’m always so eager to load up my car with camping supplies and drive at least 5 or 6 hours North in order to experience the outdoors that I often forget to appreciate the wonderful places just outside my backyard.
If you’re ever passing through North Florida and need a place to stay I highly recommend looking into The Goat House on Hipcamp. If you go, give Melissa a big hug from me and be sure to scratch all of the baby goats on the head between their horns.
Was this helpful? Have feedback for me? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All photos in this post were taken by me unless otherwise specified in the caption. Header photo by John Miller.