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Ultimate Guide to Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Florida (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

Ultimate Guide to Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Florida (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

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Ichetucknee Springs State Park is an absolute steal as the place offers everything from cave exploration to river tubing, kayaking, diving, swimming, and snorkeling. Fed by the nine springs, the Ichetucknee River is the natural attraction here as it lets the visitors experience the natural beauty of the waterways throughout the year. 

Ichetucknee Springs State Park Cover Image

The Park is a hub for many activities, wildlife viewing, geocaching, birding, etc. There is also a full-service concession stand to grab beverages, lunch, and snacks. It is a real gem in the state, and you should come here at least once the next time you come to Florida

History of Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Ichetucknee, located in Fort White, is rich in history. Thousands of years ago, the Native Americans used the springs and the rivers in their daily life. The researchers found the bones and teeth of mastodon here alongside the river.

A 17th-century Spanish mission site has been identified in the Park, situated right next to a short tributary that connects Ichetucknee River to the Fig Springs. Built in 1608, San Martin de Timucua was a major mission that served the Spanish settlement of St Augustine and flourished for most of that century. 

Northern Florida received a significant number of settlers after the Civil War. A small community was incorporated in 1870, but the area around Fort White was still considered a wild frontier. Gradually the town of Ichetucknee sprang up along the banks of Mill Pond Spring.

By 1884, the town of Ichetucknee had a grist mill and its own post office. The Ichetucknee River was considered the town’s lifeblood, and settlers like the Dampier family came to the riverbanks regularly to bathe, fish, hunt, and swim. The area soon flourished, and several industries sprang up, including citrus, cotton, and phosphate mining. At one point in time, Fort White had more than 2000 residents. 

In the 1950s and 60s, the Loncala Phosphate Company owned the land surrounding the Ichetucknee Springs. During this time, people discovered tubing, and it became a summer ritual among college students. In 1970 the Ichetucknee Springs State was purchased from Loncala by the State of Florida to preserve this amazing natural wonder. 

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Geological Cave Formations in Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Springs such as Ichetucknee have formed in what is popularly known as karst topography. It is a type of landscape characterized by caves, fissures, sinkholes, and other openings formed when the limestone is dissolved by limestone. Ichetucknee Springs area is a perfect example of the karst landscape. 

Wildlife in Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Ichetucknee Springs is a wildlife haven. One would see the otters or an American alligator basking in the sun on the banks. One would come across many fishes here as the waters are full of mullet, bluegill, catfish, largemouth bass, and crayfish. When you walk through any nature trails, you are likely to come across raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks, egrets, white-tailed deer, and blue herons. 

Is Ichetucknee Springs State Park Haunted?

Ichetucknee Springs is one of the most beautiful watering holes in Florida and is surrounded by lush greenery and bushy areas all around. However, many people have reportedly heard invisible entities stalking through the woods. There is always a creepy feeling of being watched, and visitors have reported hearing the snapping of twigs and hearing footsteps when no one is around.

One of the visitors heard whispering in the swimming when he was swimming, so he climbed to have a close look. However, the whisperers told him to kill himself, and, on hearing that, he raced back to the water followed by stomping footsteps behind him. When he jumped back into the waters, the whispering stopped, but he remained depressed for many weeks after that. 

How Big is Ichetucknee Springs State Park?

Ichetucknee Springs State Park covers an area of 2,242 acres. 

Ichetucknee Springs
Photo Credit: Florida State Parks

Ichetucknee Springs State Park Tours

The Blue Hole is the largest spring at Ichetucknee, and there is a 0.5-mile trail that will take you to Blue Hole. It pumps more than 65 million gallons of water every day. There is a unique cave system forty feet under the water from which the water flows. It creates a strong upward current, and swimming here is a real challenge.

You must be an expert swimmer and a cave certified diver to explore the cave system deep within. It is a complex cave system with nearly 600 feet of twisting passages. Some of these passages are large and cavernous, while others have barely enough room to turn. 

You must register at the North Ranger station before scuba diving at Blue Hole. A cart is available at the Ranger Station that will transport your diving gear. The only condition here is that all dives must be finished an hour before sundown. 

Ichetucknee Springs State Park Tour Prices and Discounts

There is a charge of USD 6 per vehicle for entry into the Park. Tubing is a popular activity, and an all-day shuttle and tram service will take you to different launch points on the route in exchange for a fee of USD 5. You can bring your tube, but if you want to rent one, you need to pay something between USD 6 to 25. 

Is Ichetucknee Springs State Park Cold?

The average temperature of the waters at Ichetucknee Springs is 72 degrees F throughout the year. 

What to Wear?

You should bring your swimwear if you plan to go tubing or swimming here and don’t forget to get yourself a good pair of hiking shoes as these will be needed on the trails. 

Ichetucknee Springs State Park Hours

The State Park opens at 8 am.  


What to Do at Ichetucknee Springs State Park (Beside Tours)

If you are coming here in summer, you will find that one of the most popular activities is floating down Ichetucknee River in an innertube. Tubing is the most sought-after activity in the Park until the first half of September. The tubing season from the North entrance begins on the Friday before Memorial Day.

You will be allowed to float up to two hours on each run, but you will never be alone! In the peak time in summer, a maximum of 750 people is allowed to launch. But, if the limit is reached, the launch will close just before the regular time. There are many other activities on offer here. 


Swimming and snorkeling are available on each day of the year from 8:00 in the morning. 

The place is excellent for swimming, but Blue Hole Spring should be used only by experienced swimmers. Scuba diving is allowed only from May to November, and diving is not permitted in any section of the spring. 


Canoeing is available throughout the year at both North and South Entrances. It is a beautiful way to experience the natural beauty of the river. Canoeing is recommended on the weekdays during summer as the volume of tube traffic remains very high. 


Picnic facilities are available at both entrances, and the area is equipped with grills and picnic tables. Facilities are extended to the visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. 


There are three hiking trails near the North entrance, and trail maps are available with the Ranger station. The Blue Hole Trail is a ½ mile walk, and the Trestle Point will take you back to when phosphate ore was mined in the area. It will take around 30 min to walk along this trail. 

The Pine Ridge Trail is often overlooked, but you can view the natural diversity of the ecosystem when you take this trail. 

Best Time to Visit Ichetucknee Springs State Park

The best time to come to Ichetucknee Springs would be the spring season. We recommend that you visit the place on a weekday before Memorial Day. However, some visitors prefer to come in the Fall season after Labor Day. 

How to Get to Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is located near Alachua. If you are coming from North, take I-75 South to exit 423. After this, take SR 47 south, turn on CR 238 and reach the Park after following the park signs. 

Provide a safe bat habitat
Provide a safe bat habitat!

Hotels near Ichetucknee Springs State Park

There are no camping facilities at Ichetucknee Springs State Park, but the O’Leno State Park in High Springs, which is quite close to this area, has one of the best campgrounds in the US. There are cabins available in the Park for rent from September to April. There is also a private campground called the Ichetucknee Family Canoe and Cabins just outside the Park, with camping sites and rustic cabins. 

Ichetucknee Springs State Park Fun Facts

  • The Ichetucknee River is fed by nine springs that make up the state park. 
  • The Park gates are open to the public on all days of the year, even on holidays!
  • Contrary to popular perception, you do not have to worry about alligators here as the waters are too cold for them. 
  • The northern section of the river is closed for tubing during the off-season. 
  • Park does not allow beer, food, tobacco, or disposable items on the river. 
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Ichetucknee Springs State Park Details 

  • Length: It covers an area of 2241 acres. 
  • Time Recommended: 2 to 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Kid-friendly: Yes
  • Dog-friendly: well-behaved dogs are welcome.
  • Fees: USD 6 per vehicle
  • Hours: 8 am to sunset 

Visiting Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Do you need more information before visiting Ichetucknee Springs State Park? Call (386) 497-4690 for an information packet. 

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