Last updated: 4/26/2018
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Dixie County is located in the Big Bend region of northwestern Florida. As such, this county shares a domain made up of farms, forests, springs, rivers, estuaries and an extensive shoreline along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
Dixie County’s establishment traces back to 1921 moving forward a decade which saw the creation of several counties in Florida as a result of a real estate boom in the state during that era. The county’s name was adapted from the popular moniker of the Southern U.S.—Dixie that originally was the title of a song that became a popular marching tune for the South’s Confederate Army.
This county has a land area of 705 square miles, a territory carved out of the southern part of Lafayette County and now adjoins Dixie to the north. The Big Bend counties adjacent to Dixie are Taylor to its northwest and Levy County to its southeast.
Mini Package but Rich Bundle
The boundaries of Dixie’s area is defined by the Steinhatchee River to the north, the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and the historical Suwannee River to the south. The county seat and largest town is Cross City. Dixie is a relatively small county with just 13 unincorporated communities in addition to two other cities besides Cross City—Horseshoe Beach and Old Town.
Though it may be among Florida’s mini-sized counties, Dixie flaunts many points of interest that could match its bigger cousins in the state. Near Old Town at Hawkinsville, the bosom of the Suwannee River provides a delightful curiosity in a sunken steamboat, one of the Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserves. Also near this area is the Dixie County Cultural Center fashioned out of the historic building of Old Town Elementary School.
The county likewise takes pride in its 32-mile Nature Coast State Trail developed from an old railroad line. This unspoiled countryside pathway is accessible via trailheads in Cross City and Trenton as well as in Fanning Springs and Chiefland.
The extensive coastline of Dixie County is as enticing especially the stretch in Horseshoe Beach that is lined by several coastal communities including Suwannee and Shired Island. Here, charter boats are available for sports fishing, among other water-based recreational activities.
Horseshoe Beach is also near the 53,000-acre Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, the northern region of which is within Dixie County and the flyway of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Visitors’ facilities are available in this area which is not only a refuge for bald eagles, kingfishers, red-shouldered hawks and coastal birds but also a haven for otters and manatees.
Overall, Dixie County appeals most to residents who prefer a countryside environment as it could be gleaned from its dominantly rural population (77 percent) and low population density (24 residents per square mile). Be that as it may, this county likewise provides plenty of urban amenities given that the retail trade is one of its primary sources of employment with a 20 percent share of the total local industries.
The fields of entertainment, recreation and the arts contribute significantly as well with an 18 percent slice. For education, Dixie’s largest institutions include the Florida Gateway College and the Bradford-Union Technical Center.