Manatee spring state park

Manatee Springs State Park is located in Gilchrist County, Florida. The park has a long and varied history, dating back to the early 1800s when Native Americans used the natural springs for camping and fishing. In 1849, a settler named Edmund Warren built a hotel near the springs, which became a popular destination for people seeking the healing waters of the springs. In 1910, a local man named Simon Gunter built a wooden walkway from the hotel to the spring so tourists could access the crystal clear water without getting their feet wet. In 1912, Henry Flagler, owner of the Florida East Coast Railway, bought the land surrounding the spring and later donated it to the state of Florida.

History of Manatee spring state park:

A close up of a light

The park was officially opened to the public in 1924, and it soon became a popular destination for people from all over the state. Visitors could enjoy swimming, fishing, and camping in the beautiful natural setting. The park was also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, turkeys, and alligators.

In 1971, a man named Bob Love purchased the hotel from the state of Florida and began operating it as a private business. Over the next few years, several improvements were made to the area. These included a restaurant, a gift shop, RV sites with hook-ups for electricity and water, and an observation deck over one of the springs where visitors could see fish and manatees up close.

In 1983, the state of Florida purchased the property from Love and it was once again opened to the public as Manatee Springs State Park. The park has continued to be a popular tourist destination, with its beautiful natural setting and abundance of wildlife. It is also home to several archaeological sites, including an ancient Native American burial mound.

What makes it different?

A sunset over a grassy field with trees in the background

Manatee Springs State Park is different from many of Florida’s other state parks in that it offers both camping and swimming facilities. The park has a variety of campsites, from RV sites with hook-ups for electricity and water to primitive campsites, as well as a large picnic area with pavilions. In addition, the park offers kayak and canoe rentals, as well as access to several hiking trails.

What can you do there?

Manatee Springs State Park is a great place for both nature lovers and families with small children. There are several primitive campsites that are perfect for those who want to spend some time in the wilderness, complete with lots of wildlife to observe. The park also offers kayak and canoe rentals, which are perfect for exploring the river that flows from the spring. For those who want to stay closer to civilization, there are several picnic areas with pavilions, as well as a playground for children. And for those who want to explore the area on foot, the park has several hiking trails. The most popular trail leads to the springs, where visitors can swim in the cool, clear water.

What should you bring?

In addition to your usual camping gear, you will need bug spray and sunscreen, especially if you are camping in the summer. You may also want to bring a fishing pole, as the park has several types of fish in the spring, including some that are native to Florida. You will also need a state park pass or an entrance fee if you are camping at one of the park’s campsites.

The park has everything you need for your stay, including restrooms with hot showers, lifeguards on duty during swimming hours, and trash cans.

What other activities are offered?

During the winter season, Manatee Springs State Park hosts several special events. Cruisers Car Club hosts Cruise Nights on the third Friday of every month from November to March. These night-time cruises feature classic cars and hot rods, with live music and food served and recycling bins. There are also vending machines and a small store in the park where you can buy snacks and drinks.

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