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 degrees F year-round – for swimming and snorkeling.
Fanning Springs is one of Florida’s largest first-magnitude springs, so most of the activity is focused on the showy, deep spring basin.
Those who take a wander down the boardwalk will discover that the main spring is but one of many, with dozens of small bubbling springs feeding the floodplain basin.
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Location: Fanning Springs
Address: 18020 NW SR 19, Fanning Springs
Fees: $4-6 per vehicle
Restroom: At the concession above the spring basin
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily. Leashed pets welcome but are not permitted in and around the swimming area.
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.
About the Park
A collection of cabins with modern amenities makes Fanning Springs State Park a nice place to set up a base camp.
It’s an ideal destination 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 and for cyclists on the Nature Coast Trail.
Divers have the opportunity to explore the 65 million gallon flow as it pours out into the river.
A concessionaire provides 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.
It leads you through the forest past sinkholes along a footpath that loops roughly a mile, emerging near a view of the head spring.
Cyclists can ride out the main gate to intercept the Nature Coast Trail within a half mile where it crosses US 19 to the east of the park.
Spanning more than 31 miles between Chiefland, Cross City, and Trenton, the Nature Coast Trail is a paved bike path with a long span bridge over the Suwannee River to the north of Fanning Springs.
To the south, the trail has a long stretch down a wooded corridor through Andrews WMA and rural residential areas into Chiefland, with a side path connecting to Manatee Springs State Park.
Paddlers on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail can take out and make use of a riverside primitive camping area on their multi-day paddling trips. Call ahead to grab a spot.
Bring your own kayak or canoe to put-in at Fanning Springs, or contact their outfitter in advance for a daily rental.
Other than the primitive camping area for cyclists and paddlers, Fanning Springs State Park has cabins for guest lodging.
Like many cabins in Florida State Parks, these are large enough to share with friends or family, more the size of a house than a little cabin in the woods.
Pets are not permitted in the cabins. One accessible cabin is available. Rates start at $100. While linens and kitchenware used to be standard with cabin rentals, check ahead to be sure.
See our photos of Fanning Springs
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Showcasing springs, sandy beaches, waterfalls, and haunting swamp forests where manatees gather, the 170-mile Suwannee River Wilderness Trail is a paddling trip of a lifetime
Connecting three rural counties, the Nature Coast Trail offers several different ways to ride between towns along 31.5 miles of paved bike path
A beauty spot along the Suwannee River north of Fanning Springs, Hart Springs offers swimming, hiking, camping, and cave diving in a rural setting near Trenton.