After taking a swim at Fanning Springs State Park, a short walk or drive will take you to our “wayside” park. Heading north on Highway 19, just before the bridge on the left, you will enter what was once a Florida Department of Transportation rest stop before Interstate 75 was built. One of the more interesting sights you will find at the wayside is the towering bridge span.
Built in the mid-1930s, the bridge connected Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties. The bridge was built with much anticipation, as travelers would no longer have to ferry across the Suwannee River. The townspeople even threw a party on the bridge before it was opened to traffic. The span is the last section of the original bridge to remain in place today.
As Highway 19 became busier, the need for a more modern and wider bridge became apparent and was eventually constructed.
The wayside also offers a lot of shaded areas with several picnic tables and pavilions. There is a metal ramp leading down to the historic Suwannee River where fish are plentiful, and you can relax under the shade of oak and cypress trees. Many visitors enjoy following the steps down to the river to explore its banks and learn about the historic water levels that define the constantly changing Suwannee River.
While often overlooked, the wayside is not to be missed. Its history and natural features make it an essential part of Fanning Springs State Park.