Description - The lakes, rivers and springs described here are part of public recreation areas found within National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests and Parks, and State Parks.
Copyright: Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Three Rivers State Recreation Area
- Florida is laced with hundreds of miles of lakes, rivers, streams, creeks and springs. In addition, it has hundreds of miles of freshwater canals. Anglers find abundant freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities. At one time, the state was optimum for the angler. Today, with the enormous growth rate, the fishing industry has been adversely impacted but remains one of America's best fishing states. Also, in recent years, far reaching wildfires and drought has impacted the landscape. Many lakes have receded significantly, but with the hopes that history will repeat itself, these lakes will once again be productive fisheries for the casual sportsman and for the exciting world renown fishing tournaments that once dominated the state.
Paddling the rivers in Florida is a grand adventure. Located in the northern areas are Perdido River, Apalachicola, Ochlockonee, Santa Fe, Suwannee, St. Marks and St. Johns. Farther south lays the Withlacoochee and Peace Rivers. It is difficult to mention Florida's rivers without saying something about the hundreds of miles of Intracoastal Waterway, the Everglade wetlands, and the massive acres comprised of marshes, swamps, and estuaries. Each welcomes the recreation enthusiast and nature lover.
Many of the rivers in Florida are a brackish tone supporting freshwater species inland and both salt and freshwater closer to the Atlantic or Gulf coasts. These rivers and tributary streams absolutely teem with alligators, river otters, and wading birds.
The springs found in Florida are known worldwide within the diving community. Several of the springs permit recreational diving, while others have been limited to research due to the fact that the intertwined cave systems have claimed lives. Snorkeling is permitted nearly everywhere. Also, swimming in the springs can be an extremely soothing experience due to the constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit crystal-clear waters emerging from the boiling depths. They have attracted visitors for centuries and before the visitors, they supported Native Americans and groups of continental explorers. Humans aren't the only ones enjoying the springs' waters. These grounds are frequently the winter layovers for the endangered West Indian manatee.
When traveling to Florida be sure to pack four essentials: binoculars, camera, sunscreen, and bug repellant.
Recreation - These lakes, rivers and springs offer the full range of water-based activities. Some of the most popular activities include fishing, boating, water-skiing, sailing, windsurfing, swimming, canoeing, sea kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving. The shores often offer camping and picnicking opportunities. In addition, the wildlife in Florida is spectacular. Many resident and migratory bird species are found in great numbers among the various bodies of water.
Climate - Florida's weather is dominated by the water that surrounds it. The Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Gulf of Mexico in the west provide a stabilizing force that maintains the mild climate. Northern Florida is considered sub tropical, although it does receive some snow. This area is drier than the rest of the state. Southern areas of the state, definitely the Keys, lie within a tropical climate. Humidity is high, a characteristic of the climate, although the temperatures usually don't extend past 90 degrees F.
On the average the state receives 50 to 65 inches of rain. Summer is the rainy season, which extends into October in the south. Hurricane season begins in late August. Some hurricanes can bring up to 25 inches of rain. An average of two hurricanes per season reach the Florida peninsula. Most often these storms reach the Atlantic Coast rather than the Gulf Coast.
Lakes and rivers are located throughout the state of Florida. Lake Okeechobee, the state's largest lake is located in central Florida near the east coast. The peninsula's greatest rivers lie to the north.