Showcasing the topography of the lower Suwannee River, Manatee Springs State Park a spring run so clear you can see schools of fish racing down it to the river.
Its trail system leads around deep sinkholes, through ancient forests, and down a boardwalk that ends at an observation point along the Suwannee River.
Address: 11650 NW 115 St, Chiefland
Fees: $4-6 per vehicle
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily. Leashed pets welcome except in vicinity of spring basin. The swimming area and boardwalk may close when the river floods.
Use insect repellent: forests along the Suwannee tend to have more than their fair share of ticks, and there are a lot of mosquitoes in the shade.
From US 19 / Alt US 27 in Chiefland, take CR 320 west into the park.
About the Park
Look into the brilliant boil of Manatee Springs, and step back into the past.
Although the popular state park that surrounds it has campgrounds, concessions, and trails, the spring and the spring run are timeless.
William Bartram first paddled across its surface in 1774. “The ebullition is astonishing, and continual,” Bartram wrote, “…a lucid sea green color…throwing up small particles or pieces of white shells, which subside with the waters…”
The aquamarine hue of the spring is from microscopic limestone particles suspended in the water, much like the tint of a glacial lake from “rock flour.”
A deeply shaded campground, trail system, and picnic areas make this a welcome retreat, especially in spring and fall.
Explore the park
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
See our photos of Manatee Springs State Park
Reserve Campsite Official Website