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.
The Festival is a Memorial Day Weekend treat with over a dozen bands playing on stages simultaneously throughout the expansive green space.
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Location: White Springs
Address: 11016 Lillian Saunders Dr, White Springs FL 32096
Fees: $5 per vehicle
Restroom: At the Carillion, Gift Shop, and Museum
Land manager: Florida State Parks
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. Expect huge crowds during the Florida Folk Festival and other major weekend events throughout the year.
From Interstate 75, follow SR 136 for 3 miles east into downtown White Springs. Turn left at the blinker onto US 41. Make the left along the curve to enter Stephen Foster Folk Culture State Park.
Make the first left to drive down to the small parking area at the Spring House, or follow the park road as it makes its one-way loop, passing the museum, campground entrance, the carillion, gift shop / craft area, and Gazebo trailhead / cabin entrance in succession.
Bounded by the Suwannee River, traced by the Florida Trail atop the bluffs, much of the park is a wild place.
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. There is also White Sulphur Spring, namesake of the town, near the entrance.
Inside the folk village there is 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.
Dedicated off-road trails loop along and behind the floodplain bluffs of the Suwannee River, meeting the Florida Trail at several intersections.
The Foster’s Hammock Trail is a loop using forest roads and singletrack to make a large loop out of the campground into the wilder corners of the park.
The park offers three options for camping: a nicely appointed full-service campground suitable for RVs, trailers, and tent campers is farthest away from the river.
On the bluffs above the river along the Florida Trail, tent campers can set up camp with a nice view overlooking the river in the designated primitive area.
Cabins – large enough to be like moving into a house – have screened porches and easy access to the canoe launch and boat ramp.
This state park is one of the first places where the Florida Trail was established, staying close to the edge of the bluffs along the Suwannee River.
Look for the orange blazes at the Gazebo Trailhead to start your hike out to the park boundary.
It’s a linear hike of about 3.5 miles each way but can interconnect with the Foster’s Hammock Trail to make a loop.
See our photos of Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
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
3.6 miles. Spanning from one end of White Springs to the other along a bend in the Suwannee River, this Florida Trail segment is an easy day hike through a historic community.
You hear them well before you can see them: a burble of water that rises to a roar as you approach the Big Shoals of the Suwannee River, Florida’s largest series of rapids complete with hydraulics and holes and Class III whitewater at certain times of year.