People have enjoyed the cool waters of Manatee Springs for more than 10,000 years, from early Paleo Indians to modern park visitors. The first-magnitude spring releases an astounding 100 million gallons of water daily. This makes it a popular cooling-off spot and a great place to stroll on the park boardwalk and gaze into watery depths.
True to its namesake, manatees can be seen in the cooler months, and birds, mammals and fish are spotted year-round.
This is a great spot to rent a kayak or canoe and head out to the rover or just float near the crystal spring. There is a concession stand with snacks for lunch and several great trails.
Fanning Springs produces 65 million gallons of water daily, making it a second-magnitude spring. Historically, Fanning Spring was a first-magnitude springs as recently as the 1990s. The springs not only offer the perfect 72 degree water to cool down on hot Florida days, it also offers an abundance of underwater wildlife to view such as musk turtles, bass, mullet, freshwater flounder, bowfin, and manatees during the colder days, just to name a few.
Visitors can enjoy grilling and picnicking under the majestic live oaks, kids can swing and run around at the playground, and friends and family can have a friendly game of volleyball on the white sand volleyball court. We have a boardwalk that allows you to step back in time to old Florida as you stroll through a breathtaking cypress swamp with cypress knees standing six feet tall. This boardwalk ends with an overlook allowing you to see the Suwannee River and all it has to offer, including massive sturgeons jumping during the summer months.
White-tailed deer, gray squirrels, red-shouldered hawks, pileated woodpeckers and barred owls are some of the animals that may be seen around the park. An overlook at the park allows you to see the spring in its entirety and has a spectacular view of the boil.
We have kayaked with Get up and Go Kayaking in Crystal River to see the manatees at Three Sisters Spring. It is a bit over an hour trip from the Peach House and so worth it! If you aren’t up for a kayak trip, there are trails that walk you out to the overlook. Feeling even more adventurous, there are snorkel tours that get you in the water with the manatees, but be warned it’s chilly!
Fed by nine springs, the Ichetucknee River lets visitors experience the natural beauty of its blue-green waterways year-round. Let the gentle current of the bright turquoise river guide you on a relaxing retreat through shaded hammocks and forests of cypress, maple, oak and pine. Discover the splendor of nature from the clear waters below to the wildlife and flora along the shore. See turtles, otters, deer, birds of prey, wading birds, fish and maybe even manatees and beavers.
Rent tubes, rafts, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and canoes within the park or at several options just outside the park. We have used Ichetucknee Tubing Center
Tubing and Paddling Adventures Offered Year-round:
Tube or raft from South Entrance launch points throughout the year. Tram service is available daily 9 am to 4:45 pm. From Memorial Day (May 26) through Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3), tube from the North Entrance.
Two trip experiences are available for those kayaking or canoeing, from two to six hour excursions beginning at the North Entrance.
Swim, snorkel and scuba dive to experience the springs that feed the bright turquoise waters of the Ichetucknee River, including the 40-foot-deep Blue Hole Spring.