Adventure on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail

a cypress tree and root stick out of the river

Spanning over 200 miles from the Georgia border to the Gulf of Mexico, the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail offers paddlers the opportunity to see the “River of Springs” as it makes its way through some of the most beautiful scenery the state has to offer.

With multiple stops along the way, the trail offers paddlers the opportunity to have anything from a leisurely one-day paddle to an epic multi-day journey through the state.

Just 34 miles from the Gulf of Mexico is Fanning Springs State Park. Through-paddlers can stop and spend the night under the enormous, centuries-old live oak trees found here. Fresh water and restrooms are available. While reservations are not required, paddlers must register and pay a fee of $5 per person, plus tax. 

The spring itself offers opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and diving in crystal-clear, 72-degree water. A hiking trail and picnic area make it a great destination to spend a day on terra firma before embarking on the final push to the Gulf.

Summertime trips down the river will expose paddlers to views of alligators, numerous species of turtles and a multitude of birds including swallow-tailed kites and American bald eagles. Gigantic Gulf sturgeon can be seen jumping out of the river throughout the spring and summer months, while mullet are present year-round. During periods of cold weather, as many as 15 manatees have been seen in the clear, warm waters of the spring.

Visit the Concession Building at Manatee Springs State Park for renting kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, a pontoon or book a guided tour on the Suwannee River. Please call 352-663-9960 or 352-493-1699 or visit Manatee-Fanning Aggregation Station for details and availability.

A word of caution though: Once you try it you will be hooked! Find out for yourself at Fanning Springs State Park.