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Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland

(4.4/5 based on 300+ reviews on the web)
Manatee Springs State Park is a Florida State Park located six miles west of Chiefland on SR 320, off US 19. Manatee Spring is a first magnitude spring that flows directly into the Suwannee River by way of a short run (though it is the longest spring run feeding the Suwannee River). Present also are swamps and hardwood wetlands along the Suwannee, along with many sinkhole ponds, including one with a cave 90 feet below the ground that connects to a popular divers' destination known as the catfish hotel.HistoryManatee Springs was visited in 1774 by William Bartram (1739–1823) and described in his book Travels through North & South Carolina, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws, Containing an Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians (1791); it was named by Bartram himself ("Manate Springs") after seeing a manatee carcass on the shoreline of the spring run.BiologyTree types in the park consist of cypress, sweetgum, maple and ash.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Nice quiet park where you can observe a lot of Manatees from the boardwalk or in the water. Great campsites. Went there for originally for a dive day in the spring, it's not big but enough for a fun h...  more »
  • The first time my husband and I visited Manatee Springs State Park, we planned on swimming and having a picnic. We were happy to know that our pet was allowed to be there with us. We were delighted to...  more »
  • What a great State Park. The Suwannee river and Manatee Spring Run are beautiful for paddling. Camp in the park so you can walk out on the wooden boardwalk at night and enjoy the peace and serenity of...  more »
Google
  • Very nice place to go on a hot day, the water is frozen but you'll get used to it in no time. The spring is pretty deep if you want to dive and look around at it's beauty, and snakes tend to chill on the trees on the higher side for kids, but the snakes barely even move. You can walk around on the paths they have and walk your pets too. The spring has a current that pushes it towards the river but they put a little floating blocking point so you don't drift off. Some huge trees have some friendly squirrels that tend to watch you eat and spin around the tree, and some times deer's come over. If you have a kayak you can enter the river and look at the fallen trees and just continue. The small restaurant has a huge spider on it's menu but it's also chill. And that's basically the spring. 2016
  • Great campground and beautiful part of Florida. Restrooms smelled a bit, but it's a campground not the Ritz Carlton. Everybody was very nice and super helpful! Got ready to leave on Sunday, dead battery, 2 rangers helped us charge it and sent us on our way. We will definitely return.
  • The campground and facilities were clean and well kept. The water is beautiful,and clean. The run of the spring is very short, and it leads to the Suwanee river, which in this section isn't real exciting for people on canoes or kayaks. There were nice trails to hike. I would recommend walking the boardwalk out to the Suwanee at night. When it is clear there are so my stars out. We saw so many falling stars!!! Great park! Make sure you have all of your supplies before you get to the campground. They didn't have a general store and it is a little drive to get into town.
  • The water was clean and beautiful, the park area was well upkept and it even has a playground to keep the kids busy. At only six dollars per car load it is not only a great deal, but a wonderful way to experience the natural beauty of Florida.
  • Manatee Springs is a beautiful place to visit. I honestly wish we could have stayed longer. The spring itself is so vibrant and clear, it's cold at first but relaxing once you're used to it. There is a 2ft gator that does live in the spring, but he doesn't mess with anyone. The BBQ is great and everyone is friendly. The only issue we had was when we first set up our tent we had several ticks make themselves at home, so we had to take our tent apart re-setup out camp and spray down everything. Turns out the tick problem is because of the "hand fed deer." I watched a couple kids sneak food to the deer and found bread left out for them. If people were to stop feeding the herd, they would leave and the ticks would be under control. No, one wants Lyme disease.