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Manatee Springs SP

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info

Andrew Thoreson
Mar 2019
 Typical view [?]
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Typical View (23)

Snapshots! (3)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
How Big Not Rated
Importance Not Rated
Revisit? A
Birding C
Wildlife A
Summer Heat A
Terrain B
Fun Hike B
Maintained A
Mosquitos C
Biting Files A *
Ticks C
NOTE: Never bit but they are probably on the trails.
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 11650 N.W. 115th St., Chiefland, FL, Levy, USA, 32626

1) What It's Like

Gorgeous spring in a natural setting, great spot to enjoy the Suwanee River, and some peaceful wild trails.

2) Kinds of Birds

We've seen a lot of pileated woodpeckers here but the forest is fairly dense so not a ton of other birds visible.

3) Wildlife

Anything is possible but again the forest is fairly dense so less likely to spot things.

4) Amenities

Great place to swim and kayak. People fish the Suwanee from the end of the boardwalk. Bathrooms etc.

5) Time Requirements

To just see the springs and the boardwalk you might be able to do it in half an hour. I think there are about 10 miles of trails all together so you could spend a day or two here. We've only done a bit of the trails in the North.


Our first trip here it was after a big rain so we had the place to ourselves. You approach the spring from one side with stairs and railings above the spring looking at cypress trees on the other side. Crystal clear deep water and a beautiful spring boil. Walk around to the other side and you can walk into the water directly from the shore. In recent decades you're taught not so consider Florida waterways as friendly for swimming from micro-organisms and alligators so it's a special treat to be in water with fish and cypress knees that's nearly pristine (other than some algae that grows due to too much fertilizer making its way through the aquifer).

That's our favorite spring experience to date.

It's somewhat remote compared to say Blue Springs so it doesn't get terribly crowded but you'd be best off not coming on a weekend if you want it to be peaceful without a lot of kids splashing around. OR - it's a great place to bring kids and let them splash you around if you've got them =)

Walking down the boardwalk towards the Suwannee river our first time we heard this huge crash, then another where we saw this enormous fish belly flop out. My first thought was juvenile bull shark. A couple kids were there fishing and they said it was sturgeon - which do get quite big. If you look around there you'll see a nice infographic about their return to the river. The Suwannee river is pretty fantastic in the few trails we've crossed it at - it just looks so wild surrounded by such tall trees in all directions. I'm sure if you took a kayak up and downstream of these places far the illusion would be shattered but it can be a great experience.

There is a trail on the south end that I believe goes to a small opening in the aquifer - divers can go from there to this spring. We haven't checked that out yet. Most trails are in the north. We explored that area a bit and it wasn't radically different than other mostly oak forests but it had it's own personality. We heard and saw quite a few pileated woodpeckers acting less shy than usual.

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