Guys, I honestly hated this park when we first arrived. And I hated myself for hating anything especially something I look to for relaxation and peace of mind. That something being the springs… which I could not find for the life of me.
We went to Ichetucknee Springs State Park after driving by Poe Springs and Ginnie Springs to find them both closed due to flooding from the hurricane. We’d been driving for hours with stops at Etoniah Creek State Forest and Loblolly Nature Park and I reeeeally wanted to find a spring – none of those we’d been to yet so that peaked my interest even more, I had our swimming stuff with us in case one of the county springs were open (updates on the county springs weren’t very recent however, I knew the state parks were open just had a farther drive out).
Back to me stating that I hated it; there was only one other car in the parking lot and it was one that came in behind us and they quickly went off into the woods before we even park so I assume they’d been there before. We parked and started walking down a trail that went to the right even though a sign said that the river was closed (I didn’t understand that the park had two entrances – the other being where my GPS wanted to take me originally) and after what seemed like 15 minutes of mosquitos attacking and no spring in sight we turned back around. My poor kid was aggravated and confused….and itchy we then went down the other trail that went straight back. It wasn’t too long before we got to the Ichetucknee river and wow it was beautiful despite being a semi wreck.
I saw the two women that quickly made their way back there earlier as well… they had a camcorder set up and were recording a scene that looked like one was drowning. The little man was hesitant to get in and wanted to keep looking at their equipment so I finally just gave in to frustration and left to the other entrance. He wasn’t happy about it but I was hopeful it would be worth it.
I am super glad we did ! Seeing the headspring made the frustrations I experienced previously beyond worth it. Oh my goodness it is incredibly beautiful ! I mean…wow. You have to visit. I say that about every place but really- it was gorgeous, I can only imagine how much fun it is during tubing season ! Less than 10 people were there during our hour visit (seems to be the norm with us right ?)
The headspring swimming area isn’t big at all so I am curious what the park is like during the summer months when it’s busy…other than the size, and we all know you can’t control nature I have no complaints. I didn’t get to wander around on the trails or around the park but walking down to the spring we passed a playground- it was a very quick and overall enjoyable spring dip in crystal clear water. I had my goggles with me and some fishies. No, no gators….
An older couple – mid to late 60’s- came to take a refreshing swim as well 🙂 the woman said the waters were healing then she and her husband did three laps around. She said “I feel young again!” meanwhile her husband stopped after his three and asked “…you’re going back out?” I said to him, “she feels young again….” and he laughed.
If ever I was in the area I would go back. I don’t hate it there. Don’t make the mistake I did, follow your GPS- to get to the headspring you’ll be taken through a neighborhood area. If you are going tubing you’ll keep down the main road.
Things offered here:
- canoeing and kayaking
- scuba diving
- nature trails
I wish I had seen more but all I can speak on is from the little bits I saw, luckily they’re the focal points 😛 I would say this is an accessible park, there are steps going down into the spring and a boardwalk with steps going down into the river.