Description - Humans have claimed residency near Manatee Springs for thousands of years. Successful hunting and fishing have been the natural attraction. At one time, the springs, which pump 81,000 gallons per minute, was the site of a major Timucuan Indian village. As late as 1949, the Florida started acquiring the surrounding tracts for the purpose of preservation. Manatee Springs State Park opened in 1955 and remains one of the top three state parks were manatees are easily observed winter through spring. The other two state parks are Homasassa and Blue Springs.
Copyright: Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Manatee Springs State Park
- Manatee Springs State Park encompasses 2,378 acres of land along the beautiful banks of the Suwannee River located in the North Central Travel Region. The park has one main road that takes visitors directly to the Manatee Springs where 100 cubic feet of water emerge every second and pour a quarter mile down stream into the Suwannee River. Swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers enjoy exploring the 33-foot-deep crystal clear waters. Anglers find the Suwannee River successful for a variety of fish including speckled perch, bass and bream. Motorboats are permitted along the Suwannee River but not in Spring Run. Two county-operated boat launches are located nearby. The park does provide a canoe launch and a concessionaire who provides canoe rental along with a variety of light foods and supplies. Canoeists are welcome to venture out into the Suwannee River but should be aware of motorboat traffic. Picnicking is offered at 28 tables and 2 shelters. A children's playground, volleyball court and horseshoe pits are added day use features. Two observation platforms extend from the boardwalk that travels between the spring and the river ending at a covered dock and boat slips.
Manatees are the main wildlife attraction during the winter and springs months when they search for water temperatures remaining constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Recreation - Folks visiting Manatee Springs State Park enjoy lengthy trails suitable for foot traffic and mountain biking. A lovely picnic grove with nearby fishing and swimming opportunities stays busy during the summer months. A boardwalk parallels the southern side of the run enabling visitors to get an up close look at manatee during their winter retreats as well as other seasons of the year. Two campgrounds offer extended stays. Park-led programs enhance the user's visit. A canoe launch provides access to the run and to Suwannee River. Scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming are enjoyed seasonally.
Climate - Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. The area offers a great warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. Summer temperatures average in the low 80's Fahrenheit and mid 20's Celsius. Winters are mild with temperatures averaging between the high 40's to the high 50's Fahrenheit. The average precipitation for the north central area is diverse. The central western area receives more than 60 inches per year while the central eastern tract receives about 50 inches. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.
Manatee Springs State Park is located six miles west of Chiefland off U.S. Highway 98 at the end of State Route 320.