Florida Guide > State Parks
BIG SHOALS STATE PARK
Big Shoals State Park is located in White Springs on highway 135 in North Florida. It is famed for the largest whitewater rapids in the whole of Florida and the 80 ft limestone bluffs which tower over the Suwannee River.
It covers a total of 3782 acres with cypress swamps, seepage ponds and steep rivers.
Blue Springs can be traced back to 1883 in recent history when one B Hooker who was a cowman built a home here right on top of the ridge overlooking the river. However, it is thought that the land was occupied during the prehistoric era.
In the 1890s a bridge was built to span the river but this was unfortunately destroyed by floods. You can still see the pilings that are all that is left of the structure.
From 1910 to 1930 there was an African/American camp called the Downings and Tuppings Turpentine Camp.
During the 1980s it became evident that waters that flowed from the Okekenokee Swamp would need some carefull management and protection so the state of Florida and the SuwaneeRiver Water Management bought the land.
The optimum time to visit is in the springtime when the park shows off its spring wildflowers. There are 28 miles of nature trails to enjoy by foot or cycle, including the new Woodpecker Trail which is 3 miles of paved walkway. The trails lead you through pine and palmetto forestation with welcome shade from the hardwood forests.
Bird lovers should look out for wood ducks, red shoulder hawks and red throated humming birds. Wild Turkeys and many wading birds are also to be seen.
Anglers will enjoy catching sun fish, bream, black crapper and the ubiquitous large mouth bass. Check with the ranger as to the size and amount of fish you may take and you will need a license. These are available from sports shops and some larger Walmarts that have a sports section.
The view from the ridgeline above the Suwannee river is simply stunning and the prompt to get out your camera.
This park is a magnet for experienced kayak and canoe enthusiasts; The Big Shoals Rapids become a grade 3 whitewater rapids when the waters are high and there are several less challenging rapids which are called Little Shoals. You can find out the water levels from the Suwannee River Water Management who take daily levels.
There are 2 picnic areas one at the Big Shoals entrance and the other at the Little Shoals entrance. There is a covered pavilion and barbecues and also loos.
1130 south east Country Road
P O Drawer G
Tel 386 397 4331
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Page added on: 20 April 2007
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