Experiences & Amenities
Excellent birding opportunities exist within the park, so bring your binoculars, camera, and field guide. Most commonly seen birds include: Mississippi Kite, Red-shouldered hawk, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Red-bellied and Pileated Woodpeckers, Yellow-throated Warblers, Northern Cardinals, and many others.
Enjoy the beautiful Withlacoochee River, one of the park’s natural resources, by canoe or kayak. The hand-launch is suitable for carry-in boats only. Visitors may launch privately owned canoes or kayaks from the river side of the spring; but should be prepared to portage their vessel approximately 175 yards from the parking lot to the launch area due to no vehicle access to the river from within the park. We do not currently offer canoe or kayak rentals at the park.
Fishing is allowed anywhere in the river along the river bank starting 400 feet past the spring. Commonly seen fish include white and brown catfish, yellow bullhead, warmouth, bluegill, spotted sunfish, Suwannee bass, striped mullet, golden and coastal shiner, and gulf sturgeon. Visitors need to bring all equipment needed to fish, no equipment or supplies are available at the park. Fishing in the swimming areas is prohibited.
All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. A fishing license may be required. More information is available at Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
Picnic tables and grills are scattered throughout the park under the majestic oaks and towering pines near the spring. All the picnic tables and grills are on a first-come first-served basis. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in the park.
The park contains one of the largest cave systems in the area making it a favorite destination for divers from all around the globe. It is open to certified cave and cavern diving only, no open water diving allowed. For everyone’s safety the following rules must be observed:
- Proof of cave and/or cavern certification must be presented at the ranger station or placed on the vehicle dashboard.
- All divers must sign in using the Diver Sign-In form located at the ranger station.
- All dives must be conducted with at least two divers, solo diving is not permitted.
- Only dive within the limits of your certification.
- Use of DPV’s/scooters is prohibited.
- Artifacts, plants, and animals are not to be disturbed or moved.
- All dives must be completed one hour before sunset.
- All persons diving does so at their own risk.
Enjoy swimming, floating, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of this first magnitude spring all year long. Swimming hours are from 8 am to sunset. The water temperature averages a consistent 72 degrees. Swimming areas include sections that can reach 25 feet in depth for the more advanced swimmers and less than 5 feet deep areas for the smaller children to wade in. You may see a variety of fish, turtle, and other small aquatic creatures as you swim. Please be prepared to carefully monitor your own children and non-swimmers as there is no lifeguard on duty. The limestone and rock formations surrounding the spring are protected therefore climbing, diving, or jumping from the rocks into the spring is prohibited. Help us protect the spring by remembering pets, fishing, and tobacco in any form is not allowed in or around the spring area or adjacent river and consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited anywhere in the park.
Inflatable floats and tubes are allowed in the spring and adjacent river. Visitors may bring their own or purchase a float from a private vendor located within the park May through September weekends only. To help protect the spring and river no food, drink, pets, tobacco, alcohol, or disposable items in the spring or river.
Pets are welcome at the park in the picnic areas only. All pets must be well behaved, kept on a 6-foot handheld leash at all times, and cannot be left unattended. Pets are not permitted in any swimming area which includes the spring area and the adjacent river, or in any building. Please pick up after your pet, doggie bags are available. Please refer to Florida State Parks Pet Policy for more information, available online or at the ranger station.
Picnic pavilions are available for family reunions, birthday parties, baptisms, and much more. The park offers three covered picnic pavilions which are available for rent at $45 plus tax per day. The pavilions are all centrally located offering quick access to the spring, river, and volleyball court. Each pavilion also offers extra-large double sided grills to accommodate larger parties. Contact the park office for more information or to make a reservation at 850-971-5003.