Sandy Creek at Ponce de Leon

Water, Fish, Swamp, Ducks, Reptiles

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park is bisected by Sandy Creek, a blackwater creek that is a defining factor for most of the 400 acres. 

As rains fall on the surrounding watershed, the runoff from miles around fills the wandering waterways and cause fluctuating levels of creek water. These waters then spread out to fill the lowland areas and create the natural communities of wet flatwood, basin swamps, bottomland forests and floodplain swamps. 

As the rainwater filters through the leaf litter, it absorbs the acidic tannins that tint the liquid on its way to the creek, just like the way the crushed leaves in a tea bag change tap water from clear to brown.

Ponce de Leon Creek

Sandy Creek and its surrounding natural communities provide habitat to a wide variety of plants and animals. Bright purple alligator weed may line the banks, while wispy white spider lilies will grow in the muddy flats in the bends of the creek. Cypress trees tower overhead and provide shelter to pileated woodpeckers, and Spanish moss dangles from tree branches over the meandering path of the creek. 

Fish such as largemouth bass, chain pickerel and the shorthead redhorse suckerfish entice anglers as well as the otters that swim the curving channels. 

Ponce de Leon Sandy Creek

A variety of birds hunt and nest along the creek. Great blue herons, green herons, and ibises stalk the shallows along the banks while wood ducks and anhingas travel the deeper portions. 

Alligator at Ponce de Leon

There’s always a chance to spot some of the resident reptiles as well. An assortment of water snakes make Sandy Creek their home, as well as the occasional alligator.

Even if sweet tea doesn’t quite strike your fancy, we think that the tea-colored waters of Sandy Creek will quench your thirst for a day’s adventure.