Ichetucknee Springs State Park
12087 S.W. U.S. 27
Fort White, Florida 32038
Springs State Park is a 2,241-acre Florida State Park and
National Natural Landmark located four miles northwest of Fort White
off State Road 47 and State Road 238. It centers around the six mile
long Ichetucknee River, which flows through shaded hammocks and
wetlands into the Santa Fe River. The Park contains hardwood hammock
and limestone outcrops. Like many rivers in this part of North
Florida, the Ichetucknee is fed by natural springs which boil up (in
various holes) from the aquifer. The state of Florida purchased the
property in 1970 from the Loncala Phosphate Corporation for
Park wildlife includes White-tailed deer, Raccoons, Wild
Turkeys, Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons. There are also aquatic
mammals, fishes and reptiles: i.e. turtles, water snakes, American
Alligators, North American River Otters, West Indian Manatees in the
winter months, crayfish, bream, Bluegill, Largemouth bass, Alligator
gar, mullet, catfish, and several types of minnows.
During the summer, one of the most popular
park activities is floating down the Ichetucknee River in an innertube.
From the end of May until early September, "tubing" down the river is
the premier activity in the park. As the water in this spring-fed
river is remarkably clear, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving are
extremely popular. The river's year-round temperature is 72 °F and
therefore makes for a refreshingly cool escape from the hot afternoon
temperatures in the region. Tubes and rafts, as well as snorkeling and
diving equipment can be rented from private vendors outside the park.
The tubing season from the North entrance normally begins on May 27th.
At the South entrance, the tram service operates from Memorial Day
weekend through Labor Day. Rented innertubes and rafts are dropped off
(at the end of the trip) in designated areas at the "take-out" point.
This is a popular weekend getaway for the students (and faculty) of
the nearby University of Florida.
Amenities within this state park include restrooms, dressing rooms, a
concession stand, nature trails, picnic tables and grills.
A 17th century Spanish mission site has been identified
in the park, next to a short tributary connecting Fig Springs to the
Ichetucknee River, about one mile downstream from the head of the
river. The mission has been provisionally identified as San Martín de
Timucua, which was occupied in the first half of the 17th century.
Plans to reconstruct the mission and open it to the public as an
interpretational site were dropped.