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Big Shoals State Park

 About Big Shoals State Park

Narrow trail through dense vegetation at Big Shoals State Park.


Michelle Waterman


Winter is here! Now is a great time to get out and explore the Real Florida at Big Shoals State Park.

Come out and enjoy a day of hiking, biking, bird watching, and horseback riding, we have 28 miles of trails within Big Shoals State Park and over 6 miles of that visitors can hike along the banks of the Suwannee River.

If you feel like taking a slow and very pleasuring trip down the famous Suwannee River then come on out and enjoy a day of canoeing. If you are experienced and more adventurous you can challenge yourself on Florida’s only class III rapid, the Big Shoals. The famous Shoals run over a lime rock base and are part of Florida’s Cody Scarp; it’s a breath taking site to see.

Being so far from the main highways means the park is always quiet. The only sounds you will hear is from nature, the birds singing, the wind rustling through the trees and depending on which trail you take you will be able to hear the roaring waters of the Suwannee River’s Big and Little Shoals.

Pack your camera and picnic lunch and come check out Florida's only class III rapids! When the water level on the Suwannee River is between 59 and 61 feet above mean sea level, the Big Shoals rapids earn a Class III Whitewater classification. Please contact the Ranger Station for accurate river levels.

Big Shoals Public Lands offer over 6 miles of river frontage in the park where visitors can hike the trails along the riverbanks. We invite you to walk the beautiful nature trails or have a nice picnic under the oaks. This is a day you'll long remember, the ideal family outing. Big Shoals State Park also offers you a chance to be able to view numerous birding and wildlife opportunities while hiking, biking or horseback riding some of the 28 miles of trails within the park. For those people that like to hike in the late afternoon, we have a bat house at the Big Shoals entrance, which everyone should see. Anyone that sticks around for the sunset will be able to see hundreds of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats fly out of the bat house.

Please remember to exercise caution while visiting the park and spending time in any outdoor setting. Ticks are prevalent in many outdoor environments; including State Parks. We strongly encourage you to use repellant while visiting our park for your safety. Typical tick borne diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease and the more common Ehrichliosis. Repellant is sold at the Stephen Foster State Park Gift Shop for your convenience. According to the Florida Dept. of Health, most tick bites do not result in illness; therefore treatment is not recommended unless a person becomes ill.

There is a Volunteer Host site at the Big Shoals entrance of the park. This site provides volunteers with a concrete pad and hook-ups for an RV or Motor home. If you are in the mood for a change of pace, then consider volunteering and living in the middle of the Real Florida.

For more information on canoeing and kayaking on the Suwannee please visit the River Wilderness Trail web page.

See our Activities page for a complete listing of all Big Shoals has to offer you and your family. For additional information call Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park Ranger Station at 386-397-4331.

Big Shoals is centrally located to quite a few of Florida’s awe-inspiring state parks. Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, Suwannee River State Park, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, Madison Blue Springs State Park, Lafayette Blue Springs State Park, Ichetucknee Springs State Park, and O’Leno River State Park just to name just a few!  


The Suwannee River Wilderness Trail Logo


  • Big Shoals State Park is located on County Road 135, one mile northeast of U.S. 41 in White Springs.
  • From I-75, take Exit 439 to Hwy 136 East. Go three miles to U.S. 41 and turn right.Go one mile and turn left on Hwy 135. Little Shoals entrance is 1.1 miles on the right.Continue on Hwy 135 for 2.2 miles for Godwin Bridge entrance on the right.
  • From I-10, take Exit 301 and travel eight miles on U.S. 41 North. Turn right onto Hwy 135 and proceed to the Shoals entrances.


  • For forms, information and benefits of volunteering visit Get Involved.