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USA Parks
Florida
North Central Region
Manatee Springs State Park
MANATEE SPRINGS STATE PARK
MANATEE SPRINGS STATE PARK
11650 N.W. 115th Street
Chiefland, Florida   32626

Phone: 352-493-6072
Reservations: 352-493-6072
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.

Nature of the Area
Excellent wildlife viewing is available along the boardwalk that winds through the cypress swamp from the spring to the river as well as along the hiking trails.
History of the Area
Humans have been coming to Manatee Springs for thousands of years. Once a major Timucuan Indian village stood at the springs. The Seminoles hunted the forests and fished the rivers.

Europeans and Americans are the newest visitors to Manatee Springs. All cultures came for the same reason: the natural resources.

In 1949 the State of Florida began buying the springs and the adjacent land to forever preserve it. Manatee Springs opened as a state park in 1955 for the enjoyment of Florida residents and visitors.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Day-UseFishingyes
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
CampingWater/Electric Sitesyes
WinterActivitiesyes
Camping
Manatee Springs State Park has an 82-site campground with electricity and water in each site. 71 of these sites are available for tent or RV use. There are comfort stations centrally located in each of the loops. Comfort stations provide hot showers, toilets and sink facilities. Even numbered sites 14-34 are for tent camping only. Located in the Magnolia 1 camping area, these sites allow park visitors to camp in a more rustic setting. Pets are allowed in all camping areas. Any pet that is noisy, dangerous, intimidating or destructive will not be allowed to remain in the park.

RV Camping

Manatee Springs State Park has a 82-site campground with electricity and water in each site. 71 of these sites are available for tent or RV use. There are comfort stations centrally located in each of the loops. Comfort stations provide hot showers, toilets and sink facilities. Even numbered sites 14-34 are for tent camping only. Located in the Magnolia 1 camping area, these sites allow park visitors to camp in a more rustic setting. Pets are allowed in all camping areas. Any pet that is noisy, dangerous, intimidating or destructive will not be allowed to remain in the park.

Youth Camping

Organized groups of six or more can camp in the Primitive Youth Camp Area. These facilities offer drinking water and an outdoor shower. These areas are reserved for non-profit, organized groups.
Accommodation Availability Calendars
Swimming
Swimimg activities can be enjoyed in the natural feature of this beautiful first magnitude spring. Use caution, the current is swift.
Canoeing
Canoeing and kayaking is available year round down the famous Suwannee River. The Park offers rentals and livery service via contracted Concessionaires. There is a canoe launch into the spring run, portage of canoe or kayak over a distance of about 200 feet from vehicle drop off area to the launch is required. Between December 1 and March 30 each year, the spring run launch site is closed for the protection of manatees. During this four month period canoes/kayaks can be launched from a floating dock on the river by portage of canoe along a 1200 foot boardwalk. Canoes/kayaks can also launch from two boat ramps on the river, one located on the north end of the park and one on the south end, each is about 1 mile from the park's main entrance. Both of these are accessible by driving outside the park. Ask for directions at Ranger Station.
Boating
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.


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Trails
Manatee Springs State Park offers 8.5 miles of nature trails that wind through cypress swamps, sinkhole ponds and uplands.
Nature Programs
Guided Tours

Rangers present guided tours along Sink Trail, the waterfront boardwalk, and an occasional night walk. Conestoga Wagon rides are offered seasonally (fall and spring) along the north trail system. Ranger led paddling programs are scheduled throughout the year. Most ranger led programs are free with paid park admission. Call the park at 352-493-6072 for more information.
Things To Do in the Area
Riverscape Boat Tours LLC - Ocala, FLBoating
Ride silently on nature tours on the silver river. The most beautiful river in the world. We transport guests back in time to wild Florida as it was thousands of years ago - untouched and untamed. Sparkling clear water that has over a hundred feet visibility. Book the Silver River trip now as the boats fill fast.
Web Site: riverscapesboattours.com
54.4 miles from park*
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
January 7 Good for wildlife and cooling off. by SMP
I have been to this park in the summer when it is crowded and full of people looking to cool off in the springs and in the winter when mostly it is left to the vultures, manatees, and the braver swimmers. Nice playground for kids. Cypress stands add to beauty. Boardwalk to river is great. I will always stop here when around this part of the state.


Area Campgrounds

Suwannee River Hideaway Campground
1218 SE 346 Hwy
Old Town, FL
352-542-7800


The Original Suwannee River Campground
28872 South East 19 Highway
Old Town, FL
352-542-7680


Yellow Jacket Campground / RV-Resort
55 South East 503 Avenue
Old Town, FL
352-542-8365


Otter Springs RV Resort
6470 SW 80th Avenue
Trenton, FL
352-463-0800


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
The Gulf Side Motel - Cedar Key, FLHotels/Motels
The only motel in Cedar Key that is located directly on the Gulf of Mexico and is a short 5-minute walk to downtown shopping and entertainment. You can fish from our private, covered pier and boat dock, relax by the water and enjoy our covered picnic area and swings or rent a bicycle, golf cart or kayak and explore all that Cedar Key has to offer
Web Site: gulfsidemotelcedarkey.com
22.2 miles from park*
Wynnhaven Riverside RV Park - Bushnell, FLCampgrounds
Wynnhaven Riverside is located on County Road 48 in the small town of Bushnell, Florida. Whether you are visiting Florida and want sun or prefer to camp in the shade of Florida's grand oak trees, we have units available for both.
Web Site: wynnhavenriverside.com
76.3 miles from park*
Pets
Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Manatee Springs State Park. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times and can not be left unattended for more than a half-hour. Dogs are not permitted in buildings or swimming area.

Because the close proximity can lead to problems between dogs meeting on the boardwalk, pets are restricted from boardwalks. Pets on a leash and controlled by owners can wade into the spring run at the canoe launch facility.

Pet Camping

Pet camping is available in our campground. Florida law requires that pets be vaccinated against rabies. Pets must be confined, leashed, or otherwise under the physical control of a person at all times. Leashes must be hand-held and may not exceed six feet in length. Pets must be well-behaved at all times and must be confined in the owner's camping unit during designated quiet hours (11:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.). Unconfined pets must be leashed and cannot be left unattended for more than thirty minutes. Pet owners are required to pick up after their pets and properly dispose of all pet droppings in trash receptacles. Pets considered a nuisance are not allowed to remain in the park.
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Directions
Manatee Springs State Park is located at the end of S.R. 320, off U.S. 98, six miles west of Chiefland.

USA Parks
Florida
North Central Region
Manatee Springs State Park
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