The Northeast Region grabs the northeastern tip of Florida's Atlantic coast, near Jacksonville, then stretches westward along the Georgia border and the northern part of the Florida panhandle to the "big bend", where the Gulf coast of Florida curves southward.
*Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.
Welcome to Amelia Island State Park
An easy drive from Jacksonville, the park protects over 200 acres of unspoiled wilderness on Amelia Island. Beautiful beaches, salt marshes, and coastal maritime forests provide a glimpse of the original Florida. This park is one of the few locations on the East Coast that offers horseback riding on the Florida beach, a 45-minute riding tour along the shoreline.
Fishing is one of the top activities and anglers find the secluded Florida beach a perfect place for surf fishing. Visitors can also stroll along the beach, look for seashells, or watch the wildlife. For horseback tour reservations, contact the Kelly Seahorse Ranch, (904) 491-5166. Tours are given four times daily. Located seven miles north of Little Talbot Island State Park on State Road A1A, or eight miles south of Fernandina Beach.
Welcome to Big Shoals State Park
This park features the largest whitewater rapids in Florida. Limestone bluffs, towering 80 feet above the banks of the Suwannee River, afford outstanding vistas not found anywhere else in Florida. When the water level on the Suwannee River is between 59 and 61 feet above mean sea level, the Big Shoals Rapids earn a Class III Whitewater classification, attracting thrill seeking canoe and kayak enthusiasts. A smaller set of rapids downstream is called Little Shoals.
Over 30 miles of wooded trails provide opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. The woodpecker trail, a four mile long multipurpose paved trail connects the Little Shoals and Big Shoals entrances to the park. The river offers excellent opportunities for freshwater fishing. A picnic pavilion that seats up to 40 people is available at the Little Shoals entrance. Located on Country Road 135, one mile northeast of US 41 in White Springs.
Welcome to Cedar Key Museum State Park
Picturesque Cedar Key, on Florida's Gulf Coast, was a thriving port city and railroad connection during the 19th century. The museum contains exhibits that depict its colorful history during that era. Part of the collection has sea shells and Indian artifacts collected by Saint Clair Whitman, the founder of the first museum in Cedar Key. Whitman's house is located at the park and has been restored to reflect life in the 1920s.
A short nature trail gives visitors the opportunity to see wildlife and birds, as well as native vegetation. Small gray squirrels, doves, mockingbirds, blue jays, woodpeckers, and green tree frogs can be seen on the museum grounds and along the walking trail. The museum is open Thursday-Monday from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and is closed on Christmas. Located off State Road 24 on Museum Drive.
Welcome to Crystal River Preserve State Park
A place of exceptional natural beauty, the undisturbed islands, inlets, backwaters, and forests of this preserve are especially cherished by nature lovers and photographers. The park borders 20 miles of the northern Gulf Coast between the two cities of Yankeetown and Homosassa.
Visitors can hike or bicycle along nine miles of Florida trails or study the native wildlife and plants on the two-and-a-half mile interpretive trail. Anglers can walk down a short path to the Mullet Hole for a relaxing afternoon of fishing. Paddlers can launch a kayak or canoe into the waters of the scenic Crystal River to see the park from the water. On the third Saturday of each month, the visitor center features the Redfish Revue Theatre, a video presentation about the Florida state park. Located west of U.S. 19 in Crystal River.
Welcome to Dudley Farm Historic State Park
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this park demonstrates the evolution of Florida farming from the 1850s to the mid-1940s-through three generations of the Dudley family. An authentic working farm, the homestead consists of eighteen buildings, including the family farmhouse with original furnishings, an 1880s kitchen outbuilding, a general store and post office, and a functional cane syrup complex. Park staff in period clothing perform daily chores, raising crops, and tending to livestock.
The farm features seasonal cane grindings, corn shuckings, and heritage varieties of livestock and plants. Deer, wild turkeys, gopher tortoises, and bluebirds are still seen in the fields. The park has a visitor center, picnic area, and nature trail. Self-guided tours are available Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Group tours can be reserved one month in advance. Smoking and pets are not allowed at the farmstead. Located seven miles west of I-75 on State Road 26 between Newberry and Gainesville.
Welcome to Fanning Springs State Park
Located on the Suwannee River, this inviting source of cool, clear water has attracted people for thousands of years. Fanning Springs produces an average of 65 million gallons of water daily, making it one of Florida's 33 first magnitude springs. Swimming or snorkeling in the spring is a refreshing activity on a hot day; fishing is also a popular recreation.
Visitors can enter the park by boat from the Suwannee River as well as by car. Many visitors enjoy the picnic area, playground, and sandy volleyball field. A nature trail and boardwalk overlook the spring and river. White-tailed deer, gray squirrels, red-shouldered hawks, pileated woodpeckers, and barred owls are some of the animals seen in the park. Manatees sometimes visit the spring during the winter months. Primitive camping is available for a fee. Reserve a canoe or kayak by calling Suwannee River Tours at (352) 490-9797. Located on U.S. 19/98 in the town of Fanning Springs.
Welcome to Fort Clinch State Park
A part of the Florida state park system since 1935, Fort Clinch is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts in the country. Although no battles were fought here, it was garrisoned during both the Civil and Spanish-American wars. During the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps began preserving and rebuilding many of the structures of the abandoned fort.
Daily tours with period re-enactors depicting garrison life bring the fort to life for visitors. Sunbathing, swimming, and beach combing are popular activities at this Florida beach. Anglers can fish from the pier or take advantage of excellent surf fishing. Hikers and bicyclists can enjoy a six-mile trail through the park. Self-guided nature trails provide opportunities to learn about and observe native plants and wildlife. A full-facility campground and a youth camping area provide overnight lodging. Located north of the city of Fernandina Beach, off State Road A1A.
Welcome to Fort Cooper State Park
The sparkling waters of Lake Holathlikaha were a welcome sight to sick and wounded soldiers during the Second Seminole War. In 1836, the First Georgia Battalion of Volunteers built a stockade for the soldiers resting here, enabling the Volunteers to hold their own through several skirmishes with the Seminole Indians. The parks diverse natural areas provide a refuge for many plants and animals, including threatened and endangered species.
Fishing in Lake Holathlikaha is a popular activity; swimming is available only when the lake level is high enough. Private boats are not allowed on the lake, but paddle-boat and canoe rentals are available. Nearly five miles of self-guided trails offer some of the best bird and wildlife viewing in Citrus County. Park visitors also can enjoy the picnic facilities, a recreation hall, and primitive group campground. Located off U.S. 41 on South Old Floral City Road, two miles south of Inverness.
Welcome to Fort George Island Cultural State Park
Native Americans feasted here, colonists built a fort, and the Smart Set of the 1920s came for Florida vacations. A site of human occupation for over 5,000 years, Fort George Island was named for a 1736 fort built to defend the southern flank of Georgia when it was a colony. Today visitors come for boating, fishing, off-road bicycling, and hiking. A key attraction is the recently restored Ribault Club. Once an exclusive resort, it is now a visitor center with meeting space available for special functions. Behind the club, small boats, canoes, and kayaks can be launched on the tidal waters.
To reserve the Ribault club for a special event, contact Amelia Occasions at (904) 251-1050. Located approximately 16 miles east of downtown Jacksonville on State Road A1A, or three miles south of Little Talbot Island State Park.
Welcome to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Visitors can see West Indian manatees every day of the year from the park's underwater observatory in the main spring. The park showcases native Florida wildlife, including manatees, black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters. Manatee programs are offered three times daily.
At the Wildlife Encounter programs, snakes and other native animals are featured. Recreational opportunities include picnicking, nature study, and birdwatching. This Florida state park features a children's education center, providing hands-on experiences about Florida's environment. Transportation from the visitor center on U.S. 19 to the West Entrance is available by tram or boat. The park has two gift shops and a café with a selection of beverages and snacks. The park is open daily 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The ticket counters close at 4:00 p.m. Located in Homosassa Springs on U.S. 19.
Welcome to Ichetucknee Springs State Park
The crystalline Ichetucknee River flows six miles through shaded hammocks and wetlands before it joins the Santa Fe River. In 1972, the head spring of the river was declared a National Natural Landmark by the U. S. Department of the Interior. From the end of May until early September, tubing down the river is the premier activity in the area.
In addition to tubing, visitors can enjoy picnicking, snorkeling, scuba diving, canoeing, swimming, hiking, and wildlife viewing. White-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks and great blue herons can be seen from the river. Picnic areas, equipped with tables and grills, are available throughout the park. A full-service concession offers food, refreshments, and outdoor products from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Tubes plus snorkeling and diving equipment can be rented from private vendors outside the park. Located four miles northwest of Fort White, off State Roads 47 and 238.
Welcome to Lafayette Blue Springs
Located on the Suwannee River, this inviting source of cool, clear water has attracted people for thousands of years. Lafayette Blue Springs produces up to 168 million gallons of water daily, making it one of Florida's 33 first magnitude springs. Swimming or snorkeling in the spring is a refreshing activity on a hot day; river fishing is also a popular recreation. Visitors can enter the park by boat from the Suwannee River as well as by car.
Many visitors enjoy the shaded picnic area. White-tailed deer, gray squirrels, red-shouldered hawks, pileated woodpeckers, and barred owls are some of the animals seen in the park. Walk-in tent camping is available for a fee. During rainy seasons sometimes the dark river water backs up into the springs making the springs appear to be black in color. When this occurs, swimming and diving is prohibited for your safety. Be sure to call the park ahead of time to see if swimming is open.
Welcome to Little Talbot Island State Park
With more than five miles of beautiful, white sandy Florida beaches, Little Talbot Island is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in Northeast Florida. Maritime forests, desert-like dunes, and undisturbed salt marshes on the western side of the island allow hours of nature study and relaxation. The diverse habitats in the park host a wealth of wildlife. River otters, marsh rabbits, bobcats, and a variety of native and migrating birds can be seen here.
Anglers find excellent fishing in the surf and tidal streams. Bluefish, striped bass, redfish, flounder, mullet, and sheepshead are common catches. Other popular activities are hiking, swimming, canoeing, and surfing. The park has a full-facility campground, as well as a youth/group tent campground. Beachside picnic pavilions are available for visitors to the park.
For a guided paddle tour contact Kayak Amelia at (888) 30-KAYAK (305-2925). Kayak Amelia is located 17 miles northeast of Jacksonville on State Road A1A. Advance reservations are required.
Welcome to Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
One of Florida's first state parks, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park was developed on a 2,000-acre site by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s. The extraordinary craftsmanship of the CCC is still evident today. Located on rolling sandhills in an area known as the central ridge of Florida, a deep ravine with springs issuing from its side bisects the area and forms Gold Head Branch. Marshes, lakes and scrub provide a habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.
Visitors to the park can enjoy hiking and wildlife viewing along the parks nature trails and a three-mile stretch of the Florida Trail. For aquatic recreation, visitors can swim or fish in the lake, or spend a lazy afternoon canoeing. A large picnic area, with tables and grills, overlooks Little Lake Johnson. Nestled under the trees is a full-facility campground. Group and primitive campsites are available as are fully equipped lakefront cabins, some of which were built by the CCC.
Welcome to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Paynes Prairie is biologically, geologically, and historically unique. This park became Florida's first state preserve in 1971 and is now designated as a National Natural Landmark. Noted artist and naturalist William Bartram called it the great Alachua Savannah when he wrote about his visit to the prairie in 1774.
Over 20 distinct biological communities provide a rich array of habitats for wildlife, including alligators, bison, wild horses, and over 270 species of birds. Exhibits and an audio-visual program at the visitor center explain the areas natural and cultural history. A 50-foot-high observation tower near the visitor center provides a panoramic view of the preserve.
Eight trails provide opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling. Ranger-led activities are offered on weekends, November through April. Fishing on Lake Wauberg is allowed and a boat ramp provides access for canoes and boats with electric motors. Gasoline powered boats are not allowed. Full-facility campsites are available for overnight visitors. Located on U.S. 441, 10 miles south of Gainesville.
Welcome to Rainbow Springs State Park
Archaeological evidence indicates that people have been using this spring for nearly 10,000 years. Rainbow Springs is Florida's fourth largest spring and, from the 1930s through the 1970s, was the site of a popular, privately owned Florida attraction. The Rainbow River is popular for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at both the headsprings and the campground. A picnic area at the spring includes tables, grills, and pavilions.
For large gatherings, private pavilions can be reserved. Tubing is not allowed in the headsprings area of the park, but tubers can launch at nearby K.P. Hole County Park or at the campground. The full-facility campground is about six miles from the day use area. The day use area is located three miles north of Dunnellon on the east side of U.S. 41. The campground is located on S.W. 180th Avenue Road about two miles north of County Road 484 and two miles south of State Road 40.
Welcome to Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
Situated on the banks of the legendary Suwannee River, this center honors the memory of American composer Stephen Foster, who wrote "Old Folks at Home," the song that made the river famous. The museum features exhibits about Foster's most famous songs and his music can be heard emanating from the park's 97-bell carillon throughout the day.
In Craft Square, visitors can watch demonstrations of quilting, blacksmithing, stain glass making, and other crafts, or visit the gift shop. Hiking, bicycling, canoeing, and wildlife viewing are popular activities. Miles of trails wind through some of the most scenic areas of North Florida. For overnight stays, visitors can camp in the full-facility campground or stay in a cabin. Every Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May), the park hosts the Florida Folk Festival. Other special events include concerts, weekend retreats, a monthly coffeehouse, a regional quilt show, and an antique tractor show. Located in White Springs off U.S. 41 North.
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