A trip to the springs is a no-brainer in hot weather, when the 72-degree water provides a welcome retreat from the heat. But camping at the springs is a lot more pleasant in winter and spring, even if swimming isn’t part of the attraction.
So what do you do at Manatee Springs State Park in cool weather? Hike 8.5 miles of trails, canoe and kayak, watch manatees, gather around a campfire, fish from the boardwalk on the Suwannee River, have picnic, turn the kids loose on the playground, or join a guided tour to explore the park–how’s that for a start?
Paddling is available yearround, but between December 1 and March 30, the spring run launch site closes to protect overwintering manatees. You can launch canoes and kayaks–your own or rentals–from a floating dock or one of two boat ramps on the river.
For an in-depth look at the park, join a ranger-led paddling trip or hiking excursion on the Sink Trail or the boardwalk winding through the wetlands, or call to find out when the next night walk will be, and listen for the haunting call of barred owls. Come spring, conestoga wagon rides traverse the park’s northern trails. Call 352-493-6072 for more information.