Suwannee River State Park is much bigger than it appears from a drive into the park entrance.
It extends across the river both north and south of the confluence with the Withlacoochee River, and westward along the north shore of the Suwannee.
Along its trails are a bounty of interesting stops: the remains of ghost towns, Civil War battlements, deep sinkholes, and bubbling springs along the river’s edge.
Resources for exploring the area
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Address: 3631 201st Path, Live Oak
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Restroom: At the day use area
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM to sunset. Leashed dogs welcome.
From the east, take Interstate 10 exit 275 towards Lee. Drive 4.9 miles west on US 90. Turn right on Stagecoach Rd and continue straight ahead when the road turns to enter the park. From the west, use Interstate 10 exit 262 for Lee. Drive north 3 miles on CR 255 to US 90. Turn right and continue 8.9 miles to Stagecoach Rd, on the left soon after passing the check station on the east side of the Suwannee River. Drive straight ahead into the park.
About the Park
Defined by ancient cypress trees and rugged limestone bluffs, Suwannee River State Park makes a perfect base camp for hiking, paddling, and spring-hopping adventures in the surrounding area.
A large day use area under the pines fronts the river, with picnic shelters along it. Farther along the park road is the turnoff for the campground.
The campground has 30 nicely shaded sites providing full hookups. Eight of the sites are optimal for tent camping.
Past the campground, there’s a turnoff for the park cabins. The road ends at a boat ramp where visitors disembark or put in for the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.
Suwannee River Wilderness Trail
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
An easy walk from the boat ramp, the cabins are on tall piers. One accessible cabin is at ground level. Pets are not permitted in the cabins.
Starting at the day use area and crossing the road to the boat ramp, the Lime Sink Trail showcases rugged karst formations and ancient cypress trees.
Branching off it, the Balanced Rock Trail follows the riverfront to a burbling spring near a distinctive rock formation.
South of the picnic area, the Sandhills Trail circles the ghost town of Columbus, marked by a cemetery along the path.
Follow markers for the Earthworks Trail to the west to explore fortifications used by Confederate soldiers to protect the critical confluence of rivers and the nearby railroad crossing.
Continue downriver along the a marked path to cross the river on the former US 90 highway bridge to the picnic area at the DeSoto Annex.
The Florida Trail passes right through this scenic spot and leads to Suwannacoochee Spring, a showy walled spring edging the river’s flow.
This section of the Florida Trail is also the Big Oak Trail, the park’s premiere route through the ghost town of Ellaville, home to a former post-Civil War governor’s mansion.
The Big Oak Trail loops the peninsula at the confluence, with a campsite for backpackers above where rivers meet.
Big Oak Trail
The Big Oak Trail is one of the most scenic hikes in North Florida. Much of the hiking parallels the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers, which meet here at a confluence.
See our photos from Suwannee River State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Florida Trail, Suwannee
74.8 miles. Along the Suwannee River, the Florida Trail clings to bluffs and scrambles through ravines for physical challenges and great scenery
Florida Trail, Alapaha
7.7 miles. Along the limestone-bordered waters of the Alapaha and Suwannee Rivers, the Alapaha section of the Florida Trail explores unique geography within a densely forested landscape.
Madison Blue Spring State Park
A long-time Old Florida swimming hole along SR 6 between the towns of Lee and Jasper, Madison Blue Spring is a sinkhole pouring out a first-magnitude spring into the Withlacoochee River.
Ladell Brothers Outdoor Environmental Center
The nature trail at Ladell Brothers Outdoor Environmental Center, North Florida Community College in Madison is a place for students and visitors to get away from it all in the midst of the college campus.