Ichetucknee Springs State Park

It’s no secret that Florida is full of some stunning springs, and Ichetucknee Springs State Park is no exception. This gorgeous freshwater spring flows into one of the most pristine spring-fed rivers in the state, the Ichetucknee River. This park is a haven for paddling and swimming. It’s also home to some gorgeous trails and picnic areas. Located in north Florida in the town of Fort White, this park is near a few other springs, as well as the Santa Fe River.

The Ichetucknee headspring is the main swimming area in the park.

Getting to Ichetucknee Springs State Park

There are two entrances to Ichetucknee Springs State Park.

The North entrance is the main entrance to the park where you can find most of the activities, including the headspring, swimming areas, nature trails, and concessions. It is located at 8294 SW Elim Church Rd.

The South entrance is located at 12087 Southwest U.S. 27 in Fort White. This entrance is where you get tube and paddlecraft rentals, and is home to the General Store. From here, you can take a shuttle to your launch point.

Things to do in Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Swimming at Ichetucknee Springs

There are two main swimming areas in the park: the headspring and Blue Hole. The headspring is a wide area with shallow spots, rocks to climb and sit on, and deeper parts. This is one of the prettiest spring swimming areas I’ve seen! It is surrounded by a small beach and concrete walkways. There’s not a ton of space to set up right by the spring, but there are plenty of picnic tables just up the stairs.

Blue Hole is the secondary swimming area, and I’d mainly recommend this one for strong swimmers, snorkelers, and divers. Most of the area is quite deep. This is the only area in the park where diving in permitted.

Paddling & Tubing

Tubers launch from Midpoint Launch and will get out at Dampier’s Landing or the South Takeout. Tubing down a spring-fed river is a quintessentially Florida experience that can be a lot of fun. It’s nice to float down the refreshing river on a warm day. Keep in mind, it can be challenging to steer a tube and you’ll pretty much just “go with the flow.”

Tubing is open year-round at Ichetucknee, but is by far the most popular during the summer and on holiday weekends. Tube rentals will close once capacity is reached for the day. It can definitely get crowded on the river where the tubes launch from. Paddlers should also be aware.

For the paddlers, I’d recommend launching from the North End Launch near the headspring. This section is one of the most beautiful and peaceful parts of the journey. Once you hit the Midpoint Launch, you might start running into some crowds of tubers. You’ll most likely want to take out at the South Takeout, where you’ll be shuttled back to the General Store at the south entrance. This paddle would take roughly 1.5 to 2 hours at a leisurely pace, and is not hard since it is all downstream with the flow of the river. There are longer paddling trips available.

You can bring and launch your own vessel from the North End Launch. Keep in mind, you’ll need to arrange transportation at the takeout site (at Dampier’s Landing at the South Entrance), purchase a shuttle ticket, or paddle back upriver.

Paddling rentals are only open to 100 boats per day. It is extremely important to make an advance reservation online during the summer months, especially on weekends, or you might not be able to get on the water.

More information about tube rentals, paddling, and tram reservations can be found here.


There are a couple of short trails at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. I’d recommend doing the Blue Hole Trail out to Blue Hole and admiring the nice boardwalk (0.8 miles out and back). If you have a litte bit more time, I’d also recommend the Trestle Point Trail for a nice view of the river (0.75 miles). And you can also add the Pine Ridge Trail loop for an extra 1.25 miles. There are a couple of other trails at the park’s south entrance.

Tips for Ichetucknee Springs State Park

  • Bring bug spray if you plan to hike the trails. We encountered some ticks!
  • There are many different types of tubes available for rent. I recommend a mesh bottom tube for kids.
  • To easily switch between swimming, tubing, kayaking, and hiking, my favorite shoes are Tevas!
  • There is a concession stand near the headspring where you can buy snacks and drinks.
  • While you’re in the area, I’d also recommend a visit to:

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It’s always a scenic paddle on the Ichetucknee River.

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