Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park is a great park to make a quick stop at if you are traveling through Homosassa, Florida. This is also a must-see state park for history buffs or anyone looking for a great spot to have a picnic. I stopped by to see the historic sugar mill after visiting Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park since it was less than 5 minutes away!
Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park – The Basics
The Yulee Sugar Mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in August 1970.
- Address: State Road 490 Homosassa, Florida 34446
- Driving distance from select Florida cities:
- Tampa/St. Petersburg: ~1.5 hours
- Orlando: ~1.5 hours
- Gainesville: ~1.5 hours
- Jacksonville: ~3 hours
- Hours: 8 AM until sunset, daily
- Entrance fee: Free
- Activities: Historic site, picnic pavilion
- Pet Friendly: Pets must remain on a 6-foot leash at all times
History of Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park
The sugar mill is named after the first Florida U.S. Senator, David Levy Yulee. Yulee was known as an important businessman, and he constructed the sugar mill which processed sugarcane into molasses and rum.
The entire mill was over 5,000 acres and over 1,000 enslaved people worked there. The work was dangerous and grueling, especially in the heat of the summer months. The mill was forced to shut down during the beginning of the Civil War, putting an end to the production process.
The plantation was burned in May of 1864 as well at Yulee’s home by Union forces. However, the mill was unable to be located and therefore was left untouched. The enslaved workers were freed at the end of the Civil War and Yulee served a short sentence in prison.
The mill never reopened and over the years the structure began to deteriorate over time. However, the ruins that remain today provide a glimpse into the past and serve as a reminder of the structure’s history dating back to the early 19th Century.
How much time should I spend at Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park?
Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Parks is one of the smaller Florida State Parks and is a reminder of the previous 5,100-acre sugar mill. Unless you plan to have a picnic, this park can be a short stop. I recommend adding visiting Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Park to the rest of your day exploring Homosassa or as a quick detour on a road trip if you are just passing through. I spent about 15 minutes reading the signs and taking some pictures of the sugar mill and then I was on my way.
Plan a picnic at Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park
There is a large open grassy area with multiple picnic tables directly across the street from the sugar mill structure. You will find one larger pavilion and two or three single picnic tables that are under the trees. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the sun or in the shade from the trees. If you don’t want to use the picnic tables there is also a lot of open area you could bring a blanket to enjoy your picnic lunch.
There is parking right beside the picnic pavilion, but the tables are close to the road so you may have sounds of cars passing, but the road was not very busy when I visited. I explored the park on a weekday and there was only one other couple that visited while I was there. The picnic pavilion is available on a first come first serve basis. No restroom facilities are available.
What else can I do in Homosassa, Florida?
I highly recommend checking out Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. This was the main reason I was in the area, and I will be recapping this park next week on the blog!
If you do not want to pack a picnic lunch you can eat at Florida Cracker Kitchen which is just down the road from the state park. Note that they are only open from 7 AM to 2:30 PM Tuesday through Sunday. See the menu here.
If you prefer a longer trail you can hike or bike along the Withlacoochee State Trail. There is no fee to access this 46-mile trail.
Final Thoughts on Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park
While this park is much smaller than a lot of the other Florida State Parks it helps preserve an important part of Florida history. I would not recommend planning a trip just to visit the sugar mill, but if you are in the surrounding area, it is worthy of a quick stop.
Looking for more Florida State Parks to visit in Central Florida?
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