The World Famous Suwannee River grabs the spotlight at Suwannee River State Park, as one might expect. There is a great feeling of remoteness, the nearest town being Live Oak, about 17 miles southeast – so, if you’re planning to stay a while, you’ll want to stock up on supplies in order to avoid a lot of 34 mile round trips. You won’t want to waste your time on the road. In fact, you may never want to leave.
In contrast to the Suwannee River at Big Shoals State Park, where the river is young and restless, this section of the river is more mature…broader, deeper, slower. Limestone bluffs on both sides form a picturesque channel for this blackwater river. Springs erupt horizontally from the limestone walls under great hydraulic pressure – it’s really quite a sight.
Just around the bend the Withlacoochee River joins the Suwannee, nearly doubling its flow. The park’s 5 trails provide a wide variety of beautiful vistas, whether you want a casual 1/4 mile stroll or an 18 mile marathon. The Florida National Scenic Trail even runs through Suwannee River State Park, so you could actually backpack for hundreds of miles, either west or south.
This gem of a park is also a HUB for the Great Florida Birding Trail, as well a major canoeing/kayaking center. The upper Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, the Withlacoochee River North Paddling Trail and the lower Suwannee River Wilderness Trail all meet right here. A boat ramp is provided, whether you’re paddling or motor-boating. And if you like to fish, you’ve got a very good chance of having catfish, bass and/or panfish for dinner.
This is an ideal spot to relax, unwind and shift into s l o w gear. It’s certainly worth checking out even if you only have a few hours to spare. But once you’re here, you’re going to want to stay at least 2 or 3 days. A week to 10 days would be ideal. 30 full service campsites are located right along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Personally, I spoiled myself in one of their 5 oak-shaded cabins. By the way, it was a well-kept 2-bedroom cabin with all the conveniences – they conveniently left out televisions and phones. Ah, the peace & quiet… (Reservations here)
Check out our photos, videos and the WonderMap (below) from my explorations here. Then put the river made famous by the father of American music, Stephen Foster (“Old Folks at Home”), on your Florida Bucket List.
Suwannee River Wilderness Trail Maps: http://www.floridastateparks.org/wilderness/Maps.cfm