A first magnitude spring, Manatee Springs pumps 100 million gallons of water into the Suwannee River every day. A boat ramp and swimming area provides access to both the spring and the river. During the winter, manatees swim into the basin to enjoy its 72-degree temperature, which the spring maintains year round.
A 300-yard raised wooden boardwalk transports walkers from the main park area down to the Suwannee River. Fishing is permitted, and visitors should watch the water for giant, jumping sturgeon. Boats can also tie up on the dock, and a concessionaire offers pontoon tours and rentals as well as canoe and kayak rentals.
Concessionaires with delicious food, a playground, covered picnic areas, and over 8 miles of hiking trails make visiting Manatee Springs an all-day experience. For those with scuba diving certificates, both open water and cave diving opportunities abound. Divers enter the cave system through the “Catfish Hotel” sinkhole, and guided trips are available. If swimmers are interested in exploring just the top of the water, snorkel equipment is also available to rent.
Three separate loops with 80 campsites allow RVs up to 40 feet. Additionally, groups can reserve two sites holding 35 youth campers and including potable water, a fire circle, and an outdoor shower.
Note: Pets are allowed at the state park with a leash, but they are not permitted onto the boardwalk.