Fanning Springs State Park was once a first magnitude spring as recently until the early 1990’s geologic shifts, droughts and aquifer overuse have caused the springs to lower its water output to less than 65 million gallons a day. Swimming and snorkeling in the crystal clear 72 degree year round waters can be fun. During winter months you might even catch a manatee or two grazing on river plants and enjoying the warm waters.
Being one of the Florida state parks on the Suwannee River Wilderness Paddling Trail, many visitors come year round to explore the waters with canoe and kayak. Even if you don’t own your own boat, you can rent kayaks and canoes from the local guide. You can call Suwannee Guides and Outfitter at (352)542-8331 for reservations and fee details. The guides provide a shuttle service for trips between Fanning Springs State Park and Manatee Springs State Park for an adventurous three hour canoe trip.
Overnight primitive camping is available by foot or waterway entrance only. This 25 person campsite has a camp circle, water and cold water shower. Overnight vehicle parking is prohibited and entrance can only be obtained on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.
If roughing it is a little too rough after a long days paddling, hiking or biking the trails, you may want to reserve a cabin. These two bedroom cabins contain a kitchenette complete with utensils, heating and cooling, electric fireplace and a screened in porch. For $100 bucks a day, it can’t be beat! Two night minimum stay on weekends is required. There’s even a volleyball court and playground for the kids.
A ¾ mile nature trail winds its way around the cabins and park features. A 60 feet tall canopy of hardwoods thrives thanks in part to successful forest management. Numerous sinkholes and depressions can be found along the trails edge. Once these karst limestone formations erode from fluctuating groundwater levels, they eventually collapse, creating sinkholes.
Wildlife is seen everywhere in the park from the campground squirrels to the deep forests barred owls and red shouldered hawks. The Gulf Hammock rat is a common prey of these large game birds. Many diverse ecosystems exist at Fanning Springs State Park allowing a wide range of life to exist.
For more information on directions to the park, hours of operations, fees and reservations, visit the Fanning Springs State Park website here.