As the Suwannee River makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico, it becomes swifter and wider by soaking up the essence of more than 200 named springs. Lafayette Blue Springs was an old swimming hole for folks in Mayo and the rural communities west of Live Oak, a place where kids made friends and school chums fell in love. In 2005, it became a state park.
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
A waypoint along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, the park offers a splashing good time in natural pools that form from the spring outflow, which is farther back in the woods and viewable from a hiking trail that loops the steep slopes.
Flowing through a series of sinkholes, the spring run emerges and -- depending on water levels -- vanishes under two natural bridges before pouring out into the river. Certified cave divers are welcome to explore the 12,000 feet of mapped karst passageways in teams.
The cabins at this park are on stilts, a nod to the unpredictable nature of the river. Camping is otherwise primitive and available on a walk-in basis only.