Experiences & Amenities
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a part of the Great Florida Birding Trail and offers visitors ample opportunity to bird-watch throughout the park.
Bird enthusiasts might see a variety of water birds, American kestrel, Northern bobwhite, Eastern wild turkey, barred owl, red-headed woodpecker, Bachman’s sparrows and many more.
Bring your binoculars and checklist on your next visit!
Geocaching is an outdoor game using hand-held global positioning systems (GPS) devices. It's effectively an inexpensive, interactive, high-tech treasure hunt that's a great way to learn geography. Participants use location coordinates to find caches. Some caches are easy to find; others are more difficult.
Geocaching should have minimal impact to the environment and conscientious land-use ethics should be followed.
- Ichetucknee Springs State Park has one geocache.
- To learn learn more about geo-caching our park or other Florida State Parks, check out our webpage: Operation Recreation GeoTour
There are three hiking trails located at the north entrance of the park. Trail maps are available at the ranger station or visitor center.
- Blue Hole Trail: A half-mile walk through the Ichetucknee forest and cypress floodplain leads to Blue Hole Spring, the largest spring in the park. Blue Hole Trail closes one hour before sunset.
- Trestle Point Trail: This shaded path winds along the crystal-clear waters of the Ichetucknee River. The self-guided trail will take you back in time to the early 1900s when phosphate ore was mined in the area. This trail is approximately .75 miles.
- Pine Ridge Trail: A frequently overlooked area of the park is the majestic sandhill with its towering longleaf pine and wide open vistas. View the natural diversity of this unique and vanishing ecosystem. The is a self-guided, two-mile loop trail.
Trestle Point and Pine Ridge Trails are pet-friendly. Pets are not allowed on all trails leading to launches and swimming areas. This map shows locations of pet-friendly hikes.
Canoeing and kayaking is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the river. It also provides an opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife, including wading birds, manatees and river otters. See all of this while enjoying the views of moss-draped cypress, limestone banks and some of the nine different springs that make up the Ichetucknee River. Paddling is accessible year-round from the north or south end.
- Canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards can be rented and transportation arrangements can be made through Paddling Adventures at the general store located in the south entrance.
Picnicking is available at the south and north entrances of the park. Picnic areas includes picnic tables and grills. Wheelchair accessible picnic tables placed on concrete pads are located at the south day-use area. An accessible picnic pad is also available in the north day-use area by the headspring.
Scuba diving is allowed at Blue Hole Spring. There is a half-mile trail to Blue Hole Spring; many divers bring a cart or wheelbarrow to transport gear.
- Divers must be cavern or cave certified.
- Scuba diving is not permitted in the river or other springs.
For everyone's safety, the following rules must be observed:
- All persons participating in scuba diving activities do so at their own risk.
- Each diver must dive within the limits of their certification.
- A dive party must consist of at least two divers.
- Fossils and artifacts must not be disturbed or removed. Aquatic plants must not be trampled or disturbed.
- Do not carve or otherwise deface rocks or any other surfaces.
- Keep a minimum distance of 50 feet between you and manatees at all times.
- Dives must be completed one hour before sunset.
Swimming/snorkeling is available every day of the year from 8 a.m. until sundown at the north entrance. Here, you may swim at either Ichetucknee Spring (head spring) or Blue Hole Spring.
Ichetucknee Spring provides for excellent swimming; however, Blue Hole Spring should be used by experienced swimmers only, due to the depth and strong current.
Swim at your own risk; no lifeguard on duty.
For your convenience, tubes are available for rent within the park. Visitors are welcome to bring their own tubes or rent from outside vendors. All tubes cannot exceed 60” in any two directions or contain glitter.
The shallow and sensitive north section of the river is closed to tubing. Tubing is available year-round from mid-point or Dampier's Landing located in the south main entrance off Highway 27.
For more information, please view Tubing Information under the park menu.
Please help us protect the pristine waters of the Ichetucknee.
The following items are prohibited on the water:
- Disposable items, such as ziplock bags, grocery sacks, plastic water bottles, sports drinks.
- Coolers, including cooler backpacks.
- Tobacco and nicotine items.
- Radios and speakers.
- Tubes containing glitter.
- Fishing gear.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited on the river and within the park’s boundaries. All items may be inspected for compliance. All visitors are to be off the river by 5 p.m.
Wildlife is most often spotted along the river as visitors paddle or float down the river. Wildlife may include wading birds, manatees and river otters.
Alligators and snakes are present along trails and waterways of this park. They usually eat fish, turtles and other small animals. However, alligators may attack larger animals such as deer and have been known to attack humans.
- For your safety, do not approach, frighten or feed wildlife.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is committed to providing accessible amenities to all our visitors. The amenities offered are:
- Chair lift for spring access.
- Kayak cradle launch pad at the north boat launch for stable entry into your boat.
- Wheelchair accessible picnic tables and grills.
- Please call 386-438-9063 or 386-324-5000 prior to your visit for additional information.
For questions about service animals, please refer to our guidelines about Pets.
Canoe, kayak and paddleboards may launch from the north canoe launch or from Dampier’s Landing year-round. The north launch closes at 2 p.m. each day. All visitors must be off the river by 5 p.m.
The south takeout area is closed to vehicle traffic April 1 through Sept. 30 annually.
Access to the south takeout is available year-round by trail from the south main parking area or by scheduling transportation with Paddling Adventures. Please call 386-497-1500 or visit IchetuckneeSprings.com.
Ichetucknee Springs has a full service concession stand at the south entrance, 12087 SW U.S. Hwy 27, Fort White, FL 32038. A food truck is available at the north entrance, but hours and days of operation vary seasonally.
Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times. Dogs are not allowed to enter the water, including the headsprings and swim areas. Please plan ahead for pet waste in order to keep the park beautiful and safe for everyone.
Dogs are permitted only on the Trestle Point and Pine Ridge trails located at the north end and the Discovery Trail, located behind the visitor center at the south end. They are permitted in picnic areas on the condition a person is attending to them at all times.
Service animals are welcome in all areas of Florida State Parks. However, in the swim areas, the incline is steep. Water depth is approximately 6 feet in the river and up to 40 feet deep in the springs. As a natural area, the swim areas are sometimes visited by alligators that are naturally drawn to certain animals, such as dogs. Therefore, visitors are prohibited from taking service animals into or near the swim areas. For more information or clarification, you may call the park at 386-497-4690.
- View our Pet Policy.
Visit our visitor center to be treated to a one-of-a-kind experience.
The visitor center is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, or as available.
In this encounter, dedicated to the interpretation of urban growth, water usages, and their effects on our springs and river, you will follow cave divers as they explore activities taking place deep within our recharge basin.
Through interactive and interpretive displays, you can "go with the flow" as you trace this precious resource from source to boiling spring. At the end of your journey, help yourself to our selection of coloring sheets or borrow some of our games for quiet time with your family.
Visitor center tours and home school programs are available upon request. Please contact Caitlin Gonsiorek (Caitlin.Gonsiorek@floridadep.gov) to schedule.