Visiting Florida's state parks and beyond in our Roadtrek. This is how we saw it all. Hopefully, the posts will give you some useful information. Questions and comments are welcome.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Weekend at Florida's Manatee Springs State Park

A great park for hiking with 8.5 miles of trails and seeing wild life. Some of the trails are hiking only, some are hike and bike.

The campsites are fully shaded in the summer, level and reasonably apart affording some privacy although in most sites there isn't much foliage on the sides.

Our site, #61, was rather unique as it is at the end of a small cul-de-sac off from the main loop.  There are three loops in this park.

The side view from our site. In the distance begins the swamp that continues to the boardwalk and the spring run. 

A closer view of the swamp in between our site and the Suwanee River at the end of the spring run. 

The spring head at Manatee Springs doesn't create as much an eddy as other springs we've been to, but it pumps out more than 100 million gallons of water into the run, eventually flowing into the Suwanee River


The magnificent boardwalk parallels the spring run on one side and the swamp on the other providing excellent views of either and interesting things along the way.

Swampside along  the  boardwalk walking toward the Suwannee River.

Fishing from one of the boardwalk outlooks along the spring run. 

Looking into the spring run toward the spring head from one of the outlooks along the boardwalk. 

An air plant among the Cypress knees along the run. 

Strange.  Roots growing up from a decayed Cypress stump.

How many turtles to a log?  

A mini garden sprouting from a Cypress trunk at the edge of the run. 

 Sycamore tree seeds along the run make a great contrast with the green of other trees.  Take one seed, toss in the air, and it spins to the ground like descending helicopter.  Takes me back to the younger days.

 Manatee in camo. The springs namesake cruises toward the spring head after spending the day in the Suwanee River.

 White Heron spots its meal. 

A Blue Heron waits for its next meal to pass by. Note the high water marks on the Cypress trees. 

At the end of the boardwalk is a boat house and pier for visitors traveling the Suwanee River.  This is early Sunday morning.  A great place and time to relax and watch the world go by.  

A Double-Crested Cormorant makes use of a buoy in the Suwanee River.

 Looking back into the swamp area from the boat house and pier

Meanwhile, back at the spring head a scuba class is happening.  The air is 58 degrees; the water 72 and clear. 


While over at Catfish Hotel Sink learned scuba guys check out the sinkhole. 

The park has a large recreation area for campers and day visitors which includes canoe and kayak rentals, picnic tables, grills, pavilions and a concession/rest room/shower building.

Back at the campsite we have deer.  We saw two just as we entered the park and each day at the site were visited by as much as 5 at a time in the morning and evening.  They are not skittish at all. 

And all day we got to enjoy the sounds of the reddest of cardinals and their mates.

There are 8.5 miles of trails to hike.  They are well marked.  Most are easy to follow. 

 And some aren't so obvious in areas.  But there are posts or marked trees. 

 Small clearings appear along the way.  And some have benches at points to sit and enjoy a special sort of scenery.  And rest.

And of course in this area there are many sinkholes.  Some are dry and some are filled with brackish water as there is no movement like the spring run that stays pristine. 

1 comment:

  1. I loved this park when we stayed there!! Deer, armadilloes, and the best - the tons of fireflies!!!! Was it the right season, did you see any? There were so many of them, and they had such rapid fire lighting, it was amazing to see. Wish I could've captured it in a photo... If we go again, I may be tempted to try! Don't know if they produce enough light - I think so though, because I think I've seen firefly photos before... The one thing we did NOT like about that park was the ticks!!! Did you guys get any of those? That's so cool that you saw the manatees - we were there in the wrong season for that...