In the 1940s, Fanning Springs was a popular private spa and swimming resort, with a water slide and Ferris wheel. Today, crowds gather on hot summer days -- the spring is 72 F year-round -- for swimming and snorkeling.
Location: Fanning Springs
Fees: $4-6 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
Fanning Springs State Park is right along US 19 just south of the Suwannee River bridge in Fanning Springs, north of Chiefland and west of Trenton and Gainesville.
A collection of cabins with modern amenities makes Fanning Springs State Park a nice place to set up a base camp for spring hopping up and down the Suwannee River, particularly during the summer months.
The park is also a stop for paddlers on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, for bicyclists on the Nature Coast Trail, and for divers looking to relax in the 65 million gallon flow as it pours out into the river.
A concessionaire has a snack bar and offers rental tubes and floats for use in the spring basin.
Two short trails provide a way to explore the park on foot. The Suwannee River Boardwalk slips through a floodplain forest along the edge of the spring, where more tiny springs create streams flowing out to the river. There is an observation deck along the river near the end of the spring run.
The Palmetto Path (formerly the Fanning Springs Nature Trail described in 50 Hikes in North Florida) is a loop that starts not far from the state park cabins and leads you through the forest past sinkholes to emerge near a view of the head spring.
In addition to the cabins, trails, and swimming hole, there is a picnic area near the river. A group campsite is set up nearby, catering to Scouts and other organized groups as well as paddlers plying the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.
Connecting three rural counties, the Nature Coast Trail offers several different ways to ride between towns along 31.5 miles of paved bike path
Not so busy thanks to their locations on the lower Suwannee River, this series of four major springs provide another 3-day weekend getaway option for active outdoor recreation in Florida