Water flows into the Suwannee River

Suwannee Springs

Suwannee Springs has a long, rich history. It was  one of the first significant tourist destinations in the state of Florida. It was touted for its healing mineral spring water capabilities, as well as a resort like atmosphere. While that may be hard to imagine now a days, there was once a 25 room hotel, cottages, and a trolley to a nearby train-station in this immediate area. It was also the site of 2 different previous river crossings. One is yet another iron truss bridge out of service but still standing.  For more information on the history of Suwannee Springs, you can follow some of the links at the bottom of our page. The history is an important component of the story of this location. So, we encourage you to take the time to check that out.

Suwannee Springs – Present Day

Suwannee Springs side walk and entry area

Today, the area is state owned/managed through the Florida DEP and the Suwannee River Water Management District. Some modernization to the area has taken place in the form of solid surface walk ways, steps and board walks, picnic areas, and a portable restroom. You’ll make the turn down into the entrance road and drive under a beautiful oak tree canopy, coming to the parking lot. It’s an equally impressive scene with the oak tree canopy. The spring house now has little resemblance to its former self,  but there are a lot of cool features and views to be found at Suwannee Springs! We’ll break those down for you and let you know what to expect, and what to check out when you go to visit.

Suwannee Springs – Bath House

Suwannee Springs, former spring house. Now a swimming/diving area. Suwannee Springs, former spring house. Now a swimming/diving area.

This is definitely your main attraction! A favorite for locals to climb the walls and platforms to dive into the main spring vent. There’s a very cool flow through the arched window that’s in the photo, to the river itself. There are also several “mini-springs” that when the river heights are just right you will notice gently bubbling up out of the ground. These are near the main spring inside the spring house, the outside corners, and also out of the bank of the Suwannee River right nearby. It was also perhaps one of the first places in the state to bottle water and sell it direct to consumers. It’s hard to fully explain and give the setting justice, so make sure you see the additional photos below.

Suwannee Springs – River Beach Area

While it is not a beach in the gulf coast ocean water sense, for our little slice of North FL this is a nice spot. From the parking lot area, you can take a pathway veered to the right and go through the wooded area very short distance to a nice sand bar and beach area on the bend in the river. Because of how the water flows, inside corners of the river typically result in a nice sandy white beach area. This is yet another favorite area for locals and those that know of it. The beach area may be a good fit for you to hang out and take a dip in the water if you prefer something a bit warmer than Suwannee Springs 70 degree year around water temperature!

 

Suwannee Springs – Picnic Area

The picnic area is under a really nice canopy of large, towering oak trees. It’ll help shield you from the direct sun light of even the harshest summer days. Its a great place for a weekend trip, a lunch break out of work, or really any time you need to get out into nature.

See the rest of the pictures of Suwannee Springs in the photo gallery:

Directions and other information about Suwannee Springs:

  • Travel Time: 15 minutes from Live Oak, FL. 10 Minutes from Interstate-10.
  • Park Type: State, DEP and Suwannee River Water Management District
  • Accessed via: Paved Road
  • Site Address: 3243 91st Dr, Live Oak, FL 32060
  • Directions: From Live Oak, FL to US Hwy 129 North. Cross under I-10 interchange. Continue North near the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. Before the Agriculture check station, veer right onto paved road. Make first right onto next paved road which is the entry to Suwannee Springs.
  • Amenities: Portable restrooms, picnic areas, tables, board walks, swimming and sand bar area (Depending on river height).

Historical references and information:

http://www.flpublicarchaeology.org/blog/ncrc/2011/08/10/suwannee-springs-a-surviving-example-of-early-florida-tourism/

http://www.floridasprings.org/visit/map/suwannee-springs/

https://www.facebook.com/suwanneesprings

 

Billy Golightly
hondaatc@gmail.com