This 2,670-acre paradise has eight major springs that join forces to make the six-mile Ichetucknee River, which brims with crystalline swimming holes and lush tree canopies. Dive in for an invigorating swim. Go tubing or kayaking down on a current that runs at a leisurely one mile per hour.
Ichetucknee Springs also features three nature trails and long boardwalks. Look for turtles lounging on logs, beavers, otters, wild turkeys, gators and other wildlife. And be sure to take in the sounds of all the nature surrounding you. Twenty-five miles south of Lake City, the park includes Ichetucknee Springs Campground, on the northwest border, inviting visitors to enjoy an overnight stay, Old Florida style, in an RV or a tent.
Hours: Open daily from 8:00 AM until sundown.
The South Take-Out gate is closed to vehicle traffic from April 1st to October 1st. South Take Out is accessible from the river for all tubers/paddlers- use the Tram service or hiking trail to get to the South Entrance Parking Lot.
- $6 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
- $4 Motorcycle Fee (one or two people).
- $4 Single Occupant Vehicle.
- $2 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
- Tram/Shuttle Tram and shuttle service is an option. The cost of the tram service is $5.50 per person (plus tax). The cost for shuttle service is $7.50 per person which also includes tram service. Tram and shuttle tickets and wristbands are purchased at the concession facility across from the parking lot at the South Entrance of the park.
History of Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Ichetucknee Springs has been an important site in Florida for centuries. Native Americans lived by the banks of the Ichetucknee River for hundreds of years, hunting in the woods and fishing in the river. Archaeological exploration has discovered the site of a 17th century Spanish mission, San Martin de Timucua, next to a short tributary connecting Fig Springs to the Ichetucknee River. The Park was the site of a grist mill in the 1800s, and industry continued into the 20th century with phosphate mining, turpentine, and lumber.
Natural springs feed the river and boil up along its stretch to create eight spectacularly beautiful swimming holes. Wild, natural pools with pristine water offer wonderful opportunities for swimming surrounded by unspoiled nature and beautiful scenery.
The bosky woods and pristine waters that make up the State Park are a haven for wildlife, with a staggering biodiversity and amazing array of animals, birds and fish. Sharp-eyed visitors will have a chance to spot white-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks, and great blue herons. The clear waters of the river offer an even richer experience, with beavers, otters, turtles, water snakes, alligators and even manatees calling this place home.
The park is extremely well-provisioned, with a Visitor and Education Center providing a fantastic interactive experience exploring the aquifers, springs and underground rivers below. Cave divers can take you on a journey of discovery and explore the passage of water from source to spring.
Picnic facilities are available at both the North Entrance and the South Entrance, with picnic tables, charcoal grills and covered pavilions available on a first-come-first-served basis. A concession stand at the South Entrance carries food, drinks and a variety of necessities and personal items.
The park’s shaded hammocks of oak and cypress trees provide the perfect cover for walking, hiking and getting back to nature. Three hiking trails start from the North Entrance of the park, taking you to the Blue Hole Spring, along the Ichetucknee River, or up the impressive sandhill of Pine Ridge.
These trails allow you to explore the beautiful scenery and fascinating ecosystem of one of Florida’s most beautiful state parks. A hike through Ichetucknee Springs State Park does more than just take you through the area’s history and geography. It allows wonderful views of the rare and increasingly under-threat ecosystem and biodiversity that is a defining feature of North Florida.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is best viewed from the water, and one of the park’s most popular and exciting experiences is the chance to hop on an inner tube and float gently downriver, taking in the wonders of nature in comfort and style. Tubes can be rented in the park, from vendors inside the park, or you’re welcome to bring your own. The shallow and sensitive north section of the river is closed to tubing.
For those renting tubes IN THE PARK:
- Enter the park at the South main entrance located at 12087 SW U.S. Highway 27.
- Tube rentals, tram/shuttle service are available at the general store.
Begin at Midpoint Tube Launch and float to Dampiers Landing. This shorter float takes as little as 45-minutes, or you can continue on to the South Takeout Point. This takes roughly an additional hour.
Canoeing and kayaking offer a slightly more active way to enjoy the unspoiled wonders of the park and are available year-round. Entrance to the river is available at both the North and South Entrances, and rentals are available from vendors inside the park.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
The crystal clear waters of the river and the eight natural freshwater boils mean that scuba diving and snorkeling are hugely popular activities. Swimming and snorkeling in the Blue Hole spring and in Ichetucknee Spring (a National Natural Landmark) are exceptional experiences, thanks to the crystal clear spring-fed waters.
Snorkeling is permitted year-round, from 8 am until dark.
Scuba diving is also possible in the majestic Blue Hole, from October through March. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience the magic of cave diving, although only cave-certified divers are permitted to explore the remarkable world below the park. Dives must be completed by 5 pm.