Springs Fever: Season Starts Early in the Suwannee Valley

As part of our life living at the beaches, we have a constant access to our beautiful shorelines 24/7. But sometimes, we must journey ‘off the island’ to enjoy some of Florida’s natural springs.

As heavy smoke rolled into our area Monday due to wildfires well to the west of the beaches, it was time to hit the road. We went straight through the smoke, and emerged on the other side, to find a warm, sunny, Florida sunshiny day.

Springs season started early this year, with a mild Winter giving way to an even warmer Spring. This is the perfect time to enjoy some of our ‘off the island’ destinations; the weather is warm, and the crowds are not yet present!

We arrived midday at Blue Springs Park in Gilchrist County. Often considered one of the bluest and most well-kept springs in Florida, it’s not hard to see why. The owners have maintained a simple but fulfilling concession at the spring; you’re able to enjoy the natural setting of the spring, while also having access to amenities not found at the “side-of-the-road” swimming holes.


A 1/4 mile boardwalk flanks a clear spring run all the way to the Santa Fe River. The normally tannin-stained waters were clear and shockingly shallow on our day of visit; the product of low rainfall, and a river made almost exclusively of spring-water. Neighboring Ginnie Springs group, Rum Island Spring, and Poe Spring (the park is currently closed due to eroding steps into the spring) all contribute to this segment of the winding back-county river. They’re all a short paddle away via one of Blue Springs’ canoes or kayaks. A small fee will give you access to the watercraft (or a tube for the more lazy of us!).

After spending three hours primarily alone at the springs (again, now is a great time to go), we decided to head northwest to the Suwannee River. The Santa Fe makes it way there, eventually, but the car ride was about 20 minutes. We passed Ichetucknee Springs State Park along the way. The entire tubing run opens on Memorial Day.

We stopped at the Suwannee River in Branford. It’s a great place to launch your watercraft; one of the many jumping off points to explore our Florida springs.

Nearby is Little River Springs; about a 5 minute drive from downtown Branford, it shares this segment of the river with Royal Springs, Troy Springs, Lafayette Blue Springs, and others.

We only spent a short amount of time here, as the sun was setting; but it was also a beautiful spring, one not to miss. The run is drastically shorter than Blue’s; you can see the Suwannee River from the vent of the spring. The Suwannee here was tannin-stained and deeper than the Santa Fe. Other parts north of here are completely dried up and no longer navigable by boats.

If you plan to enjoy any of our springs anytime soon, call ahead! Check the water conditions of each individual park you plan to attend. Little River Springs is owned by the county.

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About the Author

Nick Lulli is a decorated television journalist who has literally been broadcasting since age 4. Nick has worked at Action News Jax; the FOX affiliate in Augusta, Georgia; and the CBS affiliate in Flint, Michigan. He’s the recipient of the 2016 Associated Press Award for reporting two major stories in the great lakes state. From 2011-2012, he co-operated The Beaches Online’s one year trial run. Nick is well known on the First Coast, having appeared on the market’s network affiliates since age 11. As a child, he was frequently seen on the beach reporting on the various tropical storms and hurricanes impacting the state. At age 15, he operated a Youtube news channel aimed at the beaches. He has traveled the country for his work, interviewing governors from multiple states; senators; celebrities; and everyone in between. He gained national attention for challenging Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on multiple occasions for his role in the lead contamination of the water supply in Flint, Michigan. Nick’s strong suits are law & crime; city government; environment; and, weather.

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