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Ultimate Guide to Wakulla Springs, Florida (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

Ultimate Guide to Wakulla Springs, Florida (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

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Wakulla Springs State Park occupies an important place in the history of Florida. The lodge, which is at the center of the park, was established as a private getaway by Edward Bull in 1937. The waterfront is very grassy, and visitors would be tempted to spread out a blanket and soak in the sun. However, you need to keep an eye out for the alligators. 

Wakulla Springs Cover Image
Photo Credit: Natural North Florida

The spring is used for several recreational activities. People come here to have picnics, undertake boat tours, and swim in the waters. 

History of Wakulla Springs

In 1850 the scientific interest in the spring was heightened when Sarah Smith reported seeing bones of an ancient mastodon on the bottom. Since that time, scientists have managed to identify the remains of nine other extinct mammals that date to the last glacial period. These remains were deposited at least 1200 ft back of a cave. Today, the fossilized remains of mastodons and other fossils are in full view at a depth of about 190 ft. 

The Florida Geological Survey or FGS began their study in August-September 1930 along with Herman Gunter, a renowned geologist. A mastodon recovered by them is now on full display at the Museum of Florida History. The FGS conducted additional studies in 1955, 1956, and 1962 under the direction of Stanley J. Olsen, a noted paleontologist. Further exploration of the Wakulla Springs was carried out from October to December 1987 by Dr. Bill Stone’s expedition. The expedition team penetrated the cave system to a distance of about 4160 ft when calculated from the cave entrance. 

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Geological Cave Formations

The geological strata in the cave beneath the springs reveal carbonate rocks deposited over millions of years and have been slowly dissolved by the water. The conduit system that overlooks water flow to the spring is developed in the Oligocene Suwannee Limestone. It is a pale orange limestone comprising sand-sized particles and fossils, shells, and corals. It also contains layers of dolostone, a type of rock formed by the alternation of limestone by the water rich in magnesium. 

Overlying the Suwannee Limestone is the lower Miocene St Marks Formation. It is 23 million years old and is rich in fossils. There are many sinkholes in the area, and these are developed in the St. Marks Formation. There is a thin layer of sand and clay overlying the St. Marks Formation, which was deposited during the Pleistocene epoch. Most of the sediments are marine deposits left behind during the high sea level in Florida’s geological past. 

Wildlife in Wakulla Springs

Wakulla Springs wildlife

One will come across a wide variety of wildlife species in and near Wakulla Springs. These are white-tailed deer, West Indian manatees, American alligators, North American river otters, snapping turtles, softshell turtles, etc. 

Is Wakulla Springs Haunted?

Many stories say that the Lodge at Wakulla Springs is haunted, but many people have stayed there over the years. They have never complained about any untoward incident or strange noises in the lodge. So, it is believed that all the stories about the Wakulla Spring Lodge being haunted are nothing but rumors. 

How Big is Wakulla Springs?

The 6000-acre Wakulla Springs is home to the largest freshwater springs in the world. The surveyed length of the cave is 6400m. 

Wakulla Springs Tours

Recreational diving is not permitted at Wakulla Springs. You can still climb to the top of the diving tower because you can look down at the beautiful Wakulla Springs. The view of the spring is the best from here. Unfortunately, the waters have lost the clarity of the earlier days! 

The Underwater Cave System

Wakulla Cave consists of a network of conduits of which only 19 km has been surveyed and mapped. The conduits have been described as long tubes wherein the depth and the diameter remained consistent at 300 ft. The joining tubes can be divided by larger chambers of varying geometrics. The larger conduit trends from the cave’s main entrance for about 6 km.

The four secondary conduits, including Leon Sinks, intersect the main conduit. The majority of the secondary conduits have been mapped and thoroughly explored.

In 2007, the Woodville Karst Plain Project divers connected the Wakulla Springs and the Leon Sinks Cave system, establishing Wakulla-Leon Sinks Cave System. The connection established the cave system as the longest underwater cave in the US and the 6th largest globally, having almost 51.48 km of surveyed and explored passages. 

Tour Prices and Discounts

There is a charge of USD 6 per vehicle to enter the park. The park will charge USD 4 for single-occupant vehicles and USD 2 for pedestrians. The costs for the River Boat tours are as follows. 

  • Adults (13 years and above) – USD 8
  • Children (3 to 12 years) – USD 5
  • Children (3 years and under) – Free

Is Wakulla Springs Cold?

The water temperature is chilly at 70 degrees throughout the year, but it would be perfect for you on the hot summer days. 

What to Wear?

What you will wear to Wakulla Springs will depend a lot on the kind of activities that you plan to do there. Don’t forget to pack in hiking shoes and swimwear so that you can do swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving. 

Wakulla Springs Hours

The park remains open from 8 am till sundown. 


What to Do at Wakulla Springs (Beside Tours)

You can never get bored at Wakulla Springs because of the many activities on offer here. 


Visitors are encouraged to bicycle on the paved park drive as it is an excellent way to explore the park’s Nature Trail. 


Wakulla Springs birding

Birding is a popular activity at the Wakulla Springs State Park. You can see a wide variety of avian species from the boat tour, and you can spot the migratory and resident songbirds when you take a walk around the lodge in the early morning. 

Boat Tours

Glass bottom tours were standard in the early days, but since the health of the waters has deteriorated, it is not common anymore. The park still has boat tours, and the charge is USD 8 for adults, which is a real bargain. The boats are covered and can be accessed by wheelchairs. 

The tours are led by rangers and are of 45 min duration. You can view varied wildlife on these tours, including alligators, manatees, and wading birds. 


Nature Trail in the park is 9 miles long and offers easy to moderate hiking. The trail will lead you through the Southern hardwood forests and the maple-cypress habitats. 


There is a large picnic area in the park with large open spaces for team games. Picnic tables are also readily available on a first-come, first-serve basis at no extra cost. There are two picnic shelters available for the visitors, and each shelter accommodates a maximum of 100 people. 

Swimming and Snorkeling

Swimming and snorkeling are allowed only within the designated swimming area near the spring.  

Best Time to Visit Wakulla Springs

Wakulla Springs can be visited any time of the year, but it is best to avoid the months of June and December as these are the wettest months here

How to Get to Wakulla Springs

If you are coming from Tallahassee, you must follow US 319, south of Capital Circle. Then it would help if you turned left to stay on SR 61 as it heads towards Wakulla County in a south direction. At SR 267, you will have to turn left. The entrance of the park should be on your right. 

Provide a safe bat habitat
Provide a safe bat habitat!

Hotels Nearby

If you plan to stay overnight, the Lodge at Wakulla Springs is your best choice. It was built in 1937 by the industrialist Edward Ball and is one of the most beautiful buildings. It is in the middle of the Wakulla Springs State Park and overlooks one of the country’s largest springs. 

There are no camping facilities at Wakulla Springs State Park, although it is available at the nearby Newport Park, run by the county. 

Wakulla Springs Fun Facts

  • The Wakulla Springs receives more than 250,000 visitors every year, and many are international tourists. 
  • Glass bottom boat tours have been in operation since 1875.
  • Wakulla is one of the largest springs in the US and the terminus of one of the deepest cave systems in the world
  • Bones from the prehistoric mastodons that have been collected from the spring cavern are kept on display at the Museum of Florida History. 
USA Cave list

Wakulla Springs Details 

  • Length: 45 km
  • Time Recommended: 2 to 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Advanced cave diving skills required.
  • Kid-friendly: Yes
  • Dog-friendly: Allowed in designated areas only
  • Fees: USD 6 per vehicle
  • Hours: 8 am till sundown 

Visiting Wakulla Springs

Do you need more information before visiting Wakulla Springs? Call (850) 561-7276 for an information packet. 

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