On its trek from Georgia through Florida into the Gulf of Mexico, the Suwannee River gives divers and paddlers more than 70 crystal clear springs coming through fissures in the limestone aquifer. The Suwannee River Paddling Trail allows paddlers looking to enjoy the length of the river a 170-mile glide with camping spots dotting the course. The quaint town of Mayo, Florida is near a bend in the river as it angles sharply eastward before resuming its southerly route. Along this section of the river, several camping options are available to aquatic travelers as well as those arriving from land.
Lafayette Blue Spring State Park
The Suwannee River provides the opening line in the Stephen Foster song "Old Folks at Home," but visitors to the springs and creeks feeding into the river will find that the river needs no song to reference its beauty. Lafayette Blue Spring State Park allows visitors to swim, snorkel, or dive a first magnitude spring feeding into the river. More than 12,000 feet of the underwater cave system has been charted and features wide passageways leading to cavernous rooms. Primitive campsites with bath houses and portable toilets are available to visitors arriving by foot or by kayak and rental cabins are also available.
Lafayette Blue Spring State Park
799 NW Blue Spring Rd.
Mayo, FL 32066
Peacock Slough Tract
Paddlers on the Suwannee River Paddling Trail looking for an overnight rest spot will find five elevated sleeping platforms and accompanying tent campsites on the banks of the river at Peacock Slough. More than 1000 acres of land surrounding the water discharged from Peacock Spring as it flows into the Suwannee River are protected by the Suwannee River Water Management District. The campsites are not completely primitive as restrooms, hot showers, and a picnic pavilion are provided. The springs themselves are located in the adjoining Peacock Springs State Park where more than 50,000 feet of underwater caverns attract cave divers from throughout the state and beyond.
Upriver from Troy Spring State Park and the town of Bradfored, the Suwannee River Water Management District protects the Adams, Little River, Owens Spring, and Little River Tracts. Of these four adjoining tracts, the Adams tract has campsites and elevated sleeping platforms with hot showers and restrooms available for paddlers on the Suwannee River. As with other river camps on the river, these campsites are available on a first-come first-serve basis but reservations are recommended and are inaccessible by vehicle. Nearly 4,000 acres on both sides of the river are conserved with hiking, biking, and horseback riding permitted along the unimproved roads within these lands. Nearby Troy Spring State Park contains another first magnitude spring of the Suwannee River open for swimming and diving in the clear 72-degree water.
NE CR 410
Branford, FL 32008
Article Written By David Chandler
David Chandler has been a freelance writer since 2006 whose work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former reconnaissance Marine, he is an active hiker, diver, kayaker, sailor and angler. He has traveled extensively and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida where he was educated in international studies and microbiology.