One of a vanishing breed of old-time swimming holes, Wacissa Springs is the birthplace of the Wacissa River, a wild and remote waterway winding its way to the Gulf of Mexico east of Tallahassee, and home to more than a dozen springs.
The water is so clear you can watch fish slip through the waving coontail on the bottom of the spring from the grassy shoreline.
Trailhead: 30.340387, -83.991266
The small park, which has no facilities except a boat ramp and unpaved parking, is managed by Jefferson County. Depending on the time of year, there may be a portalet over near the recycling bins.
From US 27 (or Interstate 10) in Tallahassee, drive east about a half hour to SR 59. Follow SR 59 south another 30 to 45 minutes to the tiny village of Wacissa. Where the highway makes a turn in Wacissa, don’t follow the turn. Instead, go straight ahead on Wacissa Springs Road. The road ends at the springs.
About the Park
Cradled by forest, the massive basin of Wacissa Springs shimmers under clear skies, its open waters and enormous size reminiscent of Wakulla Springs. But it’s there the comparison ends.
This is a wild place, where kids still grab a rope swing dangling from an ancient cypress tree and launch off an old platform into the crystalline waters.
Swimming, however, is only one reason to come to this park. The boat ramp is always busy, since this is the most accessible place to get on the river with a boat to go fishing or exploring the many springs that spill into the Wacissa River.
You can also launch a kayak or canoe from the soggy water-level shoreline and make your way through thickets of aquatic plants to the river and the spring runs that feed it.
Facing the spring basin and looking right, you see what looks like a river coming into the spring basin. That’s the spring run of Horsehead Spring, an outflow nearly a half mile long.
The boat ramp on the opposite side of Wacissa Spring is along another short spring run pouring off Aucilla Spring, which rises in the swamp forest.
In all, there are more than a dozen springs that feed this wilderness waterway, the largest of which is Big Blue Spring.
We haven’t had a chance to visit it yet, but locals say it’s a must to visit. According to Florida Springs, it is a mile downstream on the east side of the Wacissa River.
It has two spring runs feeding the river. Before you get to the outflow of Big Blue, you’ll pass Cassidy Spring and Little Blue on the opposite side of the river.
If you don’t have a canoe or kayak with you, no worries! Wacissa Springs Canoe and Kayak Rental , located just outside the park on Wacissa Springs Rd, can help you out with a day rental.
See our photos of Wacissa Springs
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Explore river bottom forest around the St. Marks River on a network of old forest roads that traverse St. Marks River State Park, between Tallahassee and Wacissa.
Stretching across 70,000 acres in Florida’s Big Bend, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge protects one of Florida’s longest wild shorelines, more than 43 miles in three counties.
9 miles. Endearingly scenic, surprisingly rugged in places, and unlike any other piece of the Florida Trail statewide, this trek along the Aucilla River showcases some of Florida’s top natural features in one hike.
Download a Wacissa River Paddling Trail guide