Experiences & Amenities
Bicycles are welcome on all the park's roads. Mountain bikers can enjoy over eight miles of wooded off road trails within the park. Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under. Bicycles are not allowed on the boardwalk or any sidewalks.
- Bicycle Rentals Available on-site through Anderson's Outdoor Adventures.
Motor boats can tie off at our floating dock located on the river. The park can be accessed by the 300-yard boardwalk into the springs area.
- Pontoon Boat Tours and Rentals offered by Anderson's Outdoor Adventures.
The park features 80 campsites in three loops, each with its own hot shower restroom, and all within easy walking distance of the spring. There is electricity and water at each site. There is no sewer hook up in Magnolia 2 or Hickory, but a dump station is provided. Sites 2, 15, 18, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 35 and 40 located in the Magnolia 1 camping area, are for tent camping only. Sites 7, 20, 32 and 37 are paved. Sites 5, 6, 9, 21, 22, 24, 25, 29, 35 and 39 are all gravel. Pets are allowed and must remain on a six-foot leash at all times and under control of their owners. During the cooler months, park rangers offer various interpretive programs. ADA accessible restrooms and showers are located in the Magnolia 1 and Hickory Loop campground and an ADA accessible restroom is also at the waterfront.
- Maximum RV length = 40 ft. on Sites, 5, 7 and 37
- Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.
- Camping Equipment Rentals and Full Service Camping Offered by Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures located in the park at the concessions stand down by the waterfront or call (352) 493-1699.
Camping, Primitive Group
The park provides two group camping areas, for youth outdoor recreation-oriented groups. The group camp accommodates up to 35 people. Chaperones, 18 years of age or older, are required for each 12 youths. Pets are not allowed in the youth area. Drinking water, an outdoor shower, a portable toilet and fire circle are available at the site.
For Youth Camping reservations, call the park at 352-493-6072.
Canoeing and kayaking is available year-round down the famous Suwannee River. Manatee Springs State Park’s concessionaire, Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures provides canoe, kayak, paddle boat and paddle board rentals and shuttle services located in the park at the concession stand down by the waterfront. Click for pricing and contact information to inquire about details or call (352) 493-1699 or visit Anderson's Outdoor Adventures.
Freshwater fishing from the park's boardwalk along the spring run and in the Suwannee River is always popular. Largemouth bass, catfish, mullet and a variety of panfish will delight the lucky angler. 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 the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
- On Site Small Fishing Boat Rentals by Anderson's Outdoor Adventures.
Manatee Springs State Park offers 8.5 miles of nature trails on the North End Trail system that wind through cypress swamps, sinkhole ponds and uplands.
Picnic tables are available for use on a first-come, first-served basis. Concession stand is located by the spring and offers food and beverages.
SCUBA Diving at Manatee Springs
- Open water Diving is allowed in Manatee Springs Main Spring and the Catfish Hotel.
- Cavern Diving is allowed in Catfish Hotel.
- Cave Divers are allowed to enter at the Main Spring, and Catfish Hotel. Friedman Sink entrance requires Full Cave Certification.
- All persons participating in SCUBA Diving activity do so at their own risk, and must dive within the limits of their certification.
- The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks realizes the inherent personal danger involved is this activity and therefore strictly regulates it. Upon granting permission to dive in any spring within the State Park System, the following minimum rules and regulations will be strictly adhered to:
- In parks with a Ranger Station each diver must register and present his/her diver’s certification card, which will be shown on the vehicle dashboard until completion of the dive.
- All student divers must register under instructor’s certification.
- Each diver must dive within the limits of their certification.
- Dives must be conducted only in those areas designated.
- Open water Divers are prohibited from carrying lights.
- In certain areas, only Cave Diving will be authorized.
- A dive party must consist of at least two divers.
- Each State Park, where Spring Diving is allowed, has the authority to set maximum number of persons that can dive in the spring at any given time.
- Fossils and Artifacts shall not be disturbed or removed. Aquatic plants shall not be trampled or disturbed.
- Minimum distance of 50 feet between divers and manatees must be maintained at all times.
- Dives must be completed 1 hour before sundown.
- Divers must be registered 3 hours before sundown.
Diving Capacity at Manatee Springs
- Open water and Cavern Divers- 18 divers at one time, 36 per day total for Main Spring and Catfish Hotel.
- Cave Divers-8 at Catfish and 4 at Friedman at one time, 24 per day.
Snorkel and mask sales/rentals by Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures located in the park at the concession stand by the waterfront.
Swimming activities can be enjoyed in the natural feature of this beautiful first magnitude spring. Use caution, the current is swift. Swimming is prohibited in catfish hotel, spring run and at the end of the boardwalk.
Rangers led programs are offered throughout the year. Conestoga Wagon rides are offered seasonally (fall and spring) along the north trail system. Most ranger led programs are free with paid park admission. Call the park at (352) 493-6072 for more information.
- Pontoon Boat Tours and Guided Paddling Trips offered by Anderson's Outdoor Adventures.
Excellent wildlife viewing is available along the boardwalk that winds through the cypress swamp from the spring to the river as well as along some hiking trails.
Concession and Restaurant
Anderson's Outdoor Adventures is a veteran owned and operated company specializing in outdoor adventures whose primary services include canoe and kayak rentals and pontoon boat tours. Additionally, we provide camping equipment, rentals and event catering- specifically BBQ.
Our primary locations are two Florida State Parks with our flagship operation at Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland, FL where we provide Manatee Springs canoe rentals. We operate the concessions building where we serve slow smoked, mouth-watering BBQ Ribs, Chicken, and Pulled pork. We keep it simple but delicious, offering coleslaw and baked beans as sides. We offer canoe and kayak rentals from the park by the hour with very low rates. Additionally, we offer up river trips where we drop our customers off so they can go down stream right back to Manatee Springs State Park. We also have pontoon boat tours you can take with friends and family. We have a variety of distances we can offer our customers with price varying on where we drop them in. For those who have their own canoes or kayaks we offer a paddle taxi service for a fee and we can accommodate stand up paddle boards too.
Manatee Springs, located on the Historic Suwannee River near Chiefland FL, is 23 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Our other Suwannee River tours operation is located at Fanning Springs State Park, 9.5 miles upriver from Manatee Springs State Park located in the quaint little city of Fanning Springs off Highway 19.
We recently expanded our service offerings to Otter Springs Park and Campground located north of Fanning Springs off Highway 26 about 1.5 miles. Services include canoe and kayak rentals and pontoon boat tours.
Hours of operation- we are open 7 days a week:
- Rentals available from 9 a.m. to 2 hours prior to sunset, 365 days a year.
- Serving food from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. From November 1st to Feb 28th.
- Serving food from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. From March 1 to September 30th.
Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Manatee Springs State Park. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times and cannot be left unattended for more than a half-hour. Dogs are not permitted in buildings or swimming area. Because the close proximity can lead to problems between dogs meeting on the boardwalk, pets are restricted from all boardwalks. Pets on a leash and controlled by owners can wade into the spring run at the canoe launch.
Pavilions are available for rent in the picnic area near the spring for $35 per day plus tax. There are six picnic tables at each pavilion. Water and electricity are available at each pavilion and is included in the rental fee. Reservations can be made by calling the Ranger Station at 352-493-6072.
Some Ranger programs include campfire circles that take place at the outdoor amphitheater located at the waterfront.