About 14,000 years ago Paleo-Indian people first began to filter into the Fanning Springs area as confirmed by the several aboriginal sites found at the park. Over the next 2,000 years with the warming climate the natives learned to rely on the area's animals, fish, shellfish and wild plants to survive. In 1838 during the Second Seminole War, Fort Fanning, named in honor of Colonel Alexander Campbell Wilder Fanning (1788-1846), was built nearby. The remnants of the actual fort have long since disappeared due to the warm and humid climate. Fanning Springs also served as the local steamboat landing carrying products to and from local plantations until railroads crossed the Suwannee River in the early 1900s. The land has been used primarily for recreation since the mid-1900s. In 1993, the state purchased the land and in 1997 the Florida Park Service became the caretaker.
This photo looks down from the observation deck onto the dive area platform. After a prolonged wet spell, the water table was running high and strong. So much pressure was coming out of the spring vents that the dark water of the Suwannee River was kept at bay at much higher levels than usual.
In the 1950s, structures found at this park included a roller rink, changing rooms and concession building, as seen in this photo. The buildings were removed in the 1970s.
Thanks to the work of volunteers, the park has been able to make continuous improvements to the site. One of the goals is to highlight native landscaping in an effort to encourage visitors to use more native plants in their own backyards.
Before Fanning Springs became a state park, a high dive platform extended out as far as the current low dive platform. As a safety precaution and in an effort to highlight more of the springs' natural surroundings, the high dive platform was shortened. What remains is now used as an observation platform.