No Florida State Park is as celebrated as Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. For more than a half-century, it’s been home to the Florida Folk Festival, a Memorial Day Weekend treat with over a dozen bands playing on stages simultaneously throughout the expansive green space.
Location: White Springs
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily. Museum and tower open 9-5 daily. Gift shop hours vary by season but are generally 10-5.
Leashed pets welcome
Bounded by the Suwannee River, traced by the Florida Trail atop the bluffs, much of the park is a wild place where Florida azaleas burst into fragrant bloom each spring and paddlers following the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail go with the flow.
The core of the park includes a campground, riverside cabins, and a permanent folk culture village with a blacksmith, basketweaver, and other craftspeople whose wares are sold at Aunt Thelma’s. Folk art classes are frequently offered.
Oddly, Stephen Foster never set foot here, but his “Old Folks at Home” set the tone of this very southern of parks, and a museum on the grounds commemorates his work. With grandly landscaped azalea-lined lawns overshadowed by one of Florida’s two carillon towers, it’s a place where you’ll always be aware of music.
Explore the park
- Florida Trail, CR25A to Stephen Foster - This roly-poly section of the Florida Trail is pretty rugged despite its short distance, since it involves a lot of scrambling in and out of ravines and eroded bluffs created when the Suwannee River seasonally overflows its banks.
- White Springs - Florida's original spa town is now an outdoor mecca on the Suwannee River for hikers, cyclists, and paddlers, a Florida Trail Gateway Community and launch point for adventure.