By Water 29.488534, -82.980644
A first magnitude spring, Manatee Springs discharges an average 100 million gallons of water every day. This water comes from rain that falls on lands within a 40 mile radius from the spring. Geologically the surrounding lands resemble a sponge, with sand and the underlying limestone quickly transferring rainfall into deep caverns that deliver the water to the spring from every direction, but mostly from the south and east. The spring is a source of life for many species of fish, reptiles, mammals, birds and invertebrates. From November through April, manatees use the spring's life-giving waters for warmth. During those months the Suwannee River and Gulf of Mexico waters are colder than the constant 72 degrees of the spring. Popular for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, the headwaters of the spring are an outstanding year-round experience for people as well. The spring run forms a sparkling stream that meanders through towering cypress, tupelo and other wetland trees to join the Suwannee River. During the summer months, huge prehistoric-looking Gulf sturgeon can be seen leaping out of the river as they have done for eons. Enjoy the spring run view by canoe/kayak or on foot along our boardwalk. Children can enjoy a playground in the picnic area, where tables, grills and pavilions are available for family fun. Hiking and biking adventures await on the north end trail system. The full-facility campground is surrounded by hardwood hammocks and upland pine habitats.
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 spring’s area.