Cradling a collection of spectacular springs in a forested glen along the Santa Fe River, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is Florida’s newest state park and one of the finest places to experience a spring up close.
A swimming hole as a work of natural art, the deep gash in the earth that is Ichetucknee Spring glows an unearthly robin’s-egg blue, cradled in a limestone bowl within a leafy glen.
Once a pioneer community along the Old Bellamy Road connecting St. Augustine and Tallahassee in 1826, O’Leno State Park protects one of North Florida’s weirder geologic wonders, a disappearing river.
On a mellow paddling trip down the Santa Fe River, John discovers several swimming springs, thousands of turtles, and miles of quiet waterway.
At Poe Springs Park, the Poe Springs Nature Trail carries you across a landscape shaped by water acting on limestone, where surface rock is obvious and studded with fossils.
A passive preserve, River Rise Preserve State Park adjoins O’Leno State Park, taking up where O’Leno leaves off with the Santa Fe River flowing underground. The river emerges all at once at River Rise, a significant geologic feature that bars paddlers from heading any farther upstream.
Tubing the Ichetucknee River means letting go and going with the flow, letting the waters carry you past beautiful springs and through ever-changing habitats. Here’s how.