Manatee Springs State Park
Park Features & Amenities
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Utilities & Amenities
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Come here for the manatees
It's the Disneyland of Florida wildlife. Very well done. Lots of deer, owls, squirrels etc. The manatees gather in the winter where the spring joins the Suwanee River and the park has provided a pier that juts out into the Suwanee. We saw 14 manatees gathered there one morning; 7 the night before.
However, the campground itself isn't as nice as most other Florida state parks. The road is really rough and narrow. The sites are sandy and soft in places. Because of all the trees is can be hard for larger units to back into some sites. We had one on the inside so we didn't see as much wildlife as those on the outside of the loop.
We loved the manatees, but not the campground so much.
We liked this park. The campsites seemed larger and not as close together as other Florida State Parks we've stayed in. The area was warm for January and the mosquito's were wicked(make sure all dogs are up on their heart worm pills) but the abundance of wild life more then made up for it.
As we drove in we saw a lot of deer it was later in the day so we set up camp and went to bed. In the morning we were having coffee and watched the deer. Unfortunately it started to rain so we went up to see if there were any manatee's.
We walked up the long board walk in the poring rain... lo and behold as we stood under the cover seating area a manatee that was headed up the spring turned and swam right past us. Amazing!
Unfortunately the rain was poring down so we packed up and left. If you get a chance you should visit here... but make sure take you bug spray!
Manatee Springs State Park
Another great Florida campground, this one extra-special because of the wild manatees that visit here. It's also a very popular place for cave-diving, with miles and miles of underwater caves to explore. There is an area where you can swim in the crystal-clear spring and a boardwalk to the Swanee River. There were manatees in the spring everyday I was here, as well as lots of jumping mullet and gar. The campground was sandy with spacious sites, plenty of privacy and shade. Great place. My cellphone and modem did not work here at all, but it was a 15-minute drive into Chiefland where there was a coffeeshop with wifi.
We stopped in on a whim while passing through just to see what was available (we were considering just over nighting at the Wal-Mart nearby).
What a treat!
Extremely friendly staff who were delighted to have walk-ins. We were impressed by the huge size of the spots and how well maintained everything was. Beautiful walking trails, and the boardwalk out to the dock was amazing in the sunset light. Saw 4 manatees in the morning.
Only downside was that cellular phone service (AT&T and Sprint) was spotty (we work online as we travel).