Florida’s original spa town is an outdoor mecca on the Suwannee River for hikers, cyclists, and paddlers. Before 1900, White Springs had fourteen hotels catering to tourists who came by rail and steamboat to “take the waters” at the springs.
Opened in 1950, Stephen Foster Folk Culture State Park was envisioned as a memorial to composer Stephen Foster, who never visited the Suwannee River but nonetheless made it famous. Designated the first Florida Trail Gateway Community, White Springs is one of the rare places on the Florida Trail where the trail leads you right through town.
Trails and Parks in White Springs
- Big Shoals Trail- At Big Shoals State Park, the Big Shoals Trail leads you to scenic perches high atop the river bluffs when you can watch Florida's only Class III whitewater rapids
- Disappearing Creek at Camp Branch- On the Disappearing Creek Loop off the Florida Trail along the Suwannee River, watch Camp Branch burble through rapids and cascade into a giant sinkhole
- Falling Creek Falls- A boardwalk trail at Falling Creek Falls north of Lake City leads you to overlooks on a waterfall with a 10-12' drop in a picturesque setting
- Florida Trail, Bell Springs to Big Shoals- With Florida's only Class III whitewater and the beauty of a Florida waterfall along a stretch of trail that is rugged but extremely scenic, this 2.8 mile section of the Florida Trail is a real winner
- Florida Trail, Camp Branch to Suwannee Springs- 7.4 miles. Rugged climbs through abandoned river channels and along the highest elevations along the Suwannee River make this hike a serious roller-coaster through river bluff forests and sandy beaches.
- Florida Trail, CR25A to Stephen Foster- This roly-poly section of the Florida Trail is pretty rugged despite its short distance, since it involves a lot of scrambling in and out of ravines and eroded bluffs created when the Suwannee River seasonally overflows its banks.
- Long Branch Trail- At Big Shoals State Park, the 2.4 mile Long Branch Trail heads upriver to follow a mellow Suwannee River—broad and shaded by overhanging tupelo trees
- Nature & Heritage Tourism Center (CLOSED)- The Florida Nature and Heritage Tourism Center in White Springs has been closed permanently. You will still find historic White Sulphur Springs down the stairs from it.
- Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park- 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, a Memorial Day Weekend treat with over a dozen bands playing on stages simultaneously throughout the expansive green space.
- Suwannee River Wilderness Trail- Along its 266-mile meandering route from the Okeefenokee Swamp to the Gulf of Mexico, the Suwannee River is home to countless springs, sandy beaches, and tributaries that drop into the river down steep slopes as waterfalls. The Suwannee River Wilderness Trail lets you explore it all.
- Woodpecker Trail- The Woodpecker Trail at Big Shoals State Park provides a 7-mile wildlife-rich round trip ride, but watch out for those puddles! John plunges in anyway to get the story.