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.
Old High Dock
Before Fanning Springs became a state park, a high dive platform extended out over the main boil of the Spring. As a safety precaution and in an effort to highlight more of the springs' natural surroundings, the high dive platform was shortened and jump dock was removed and what remains is now used as an observation platform.
Located between the swamp that is adjacent to the springs and an upland slope, the wheelchair-accessible boardwalk ends at a gazebo on the Suwannee River. It is a comfortable place to watch the river drift by or to see sturgeon jumping out of the water in the summer time.