Parks are now
toll free, at
SPRINGS STATE PARK
Opened to the public
in 1955, Manatee Springs State Park offers an array of opportunities for
enjoying the "Real Florida" outdoors.
Cypress "knees" are above-water roots
which take in oxygen.
The most prominent natural feature in the 2,075-acre park is Manatee Spring
itself. A first-magnitude spring, it produces 81,280 gallons of crystal-clear
water every minute or approximately 117 million gallons daily. Water from
the spring run flows into the Suwannee River and then meets the Gulf of
Mexico 23 miles downstream. A boardwalk next to the spring run offers a
view of the river swamp which is alive with cyrpress, gum, ash and maple
trees. The boardwalk ends at a pavilion and a floating boat dock out on
the scenic Suwannee River.
Animals frequently spotted in the hammock and sandhill communities of the
park include white-tailed deer and various small mammals and birds. The
manatee, an endangered species for which the park is named, can also be
viewed from the boardwalk. The constant 72-degree
temperature in the spring
provides a warm refuge for the large, gentle mammal during the fall and
winter months. Manatee sightings occur year round with the best viewing
months being January through April.
Manatees can be viewed from the boardwalk.
Activities at the park include picnicking, fishing, swimming, canoeing,
boating access nearby, hiking and biking on the 8.5-mile north end trail
system, scuba diving, nature study and camping. Picnic pavilions are available
to reserve for family and business get-togethers.
Scuba divers must present their certification upon registration. Open water,
cavern and cave diving is available in Manatee Spring or Catfish Hotel Sink.
Dive instructors are required to purchase a Commericial Dive Permit.
The camp areas
have full-facility restrooms, water, picnic table and ground grill. Campfires
are permitted in the ground grill. The campsites are located in a hammock
of towering oaks, magnolias and hickory trees. Thirty amp electrical service
is also available. A youth camp for organized youth groups is also available.
Reservations are accepted and recommended for campsites. The park concession
offers food, drinks, gifts, camper supplies and canoe rentals.
TOURS AND EVENTS
Interpretive programs such as nature walks, slide and video programs, discovery
wagon tours and ranger talks, are offered to answer questions and educate
the public about the resources found in this park and others. Park special
events include Treasure Hunts on Memorial and Labor Days, "Ol Fashioned
River Party" in April, and the "Manatee Springs Christmas Festival"
State Park is located at the end of S.R. 320, off U.S. 98, six miles
west of Chiefland.
Springs State Park
N.W. 115th St.