One of Florida’s 33 first magnitude springs, Lafayette Blue Springs State Park features an expansive cave system crossed by a natural limestone bridge. Visitors come from miles around to swim, dive, and relax on the banks of this hidden wonderland.
Two main spring runs, Lafayette Blue and Allen Millpond, discharge to the Suwannee River. With a daily flow ranging from 14 million gallons to an impressive 168 million gallons, the 72-degree water from Lafayette Blue Spring travels several hundred feet to join the Suwannee. The spring forms the heart of this park, and the river the body. A natural limestone land bridge separates the water, a stunning example of the karst limestone features that crop up throughout the area. This karst contributes to an extensive underwater cave network called the Green Sink cave system. Over 12,000 feet of cave passageways has been surveyed by divers and explorers, which extend west and southwest from the main spring. Large underground rooms, sometimes as much as 100 feet wide, open up beneath the surface. Sinkholes provide windows into this cave system where water flows to recharge the aquifer.
The Allen Millpond spring run features a second magnitude spring that was once the site of a working mill. Timbers can still be seen in the water where it meets the river, and it can be interesting to visit and picture such a site here. Both springs provide homes for some pretty unique inhabitants - amphipods, isopods, cave crayfish and catfish all flourish in the cool water of the caves, while turtles, sturgeon and other fish swim closer to the surface and in the river.