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  • Manatee Springs State Park, FL


    Manatee Springs SP is located about 7 miles west of Chiefland FL on State Route 320.

    352 493-6072

    Arriving on a Sunday in mid-December there were plenty of empty sites to choose from. We decided on site 86 in the Hickory Loop. I was able to find a hole through the trees for our satellite TV.

    Date of latest visit: Dec 2010

    Back in Feb 2007 we arrived on a Thursday afternoon and had no problem getting a site. We were assigned site #60, conveniently located near the day use area, and with a bathhouse just a short distance behind the site.

    There are 3 camping loops - this shows a large pull-through site, #93, in the Hickory Loop. All RV sites have 30A and water hookups. The bathhouse for this loop is at the right.

    Here are sites 94 - 98, starting on the right, also in the Hickory loop.

    I would put site 93 at the top of the "desireability" list. It's a large pull-through site overlooking the Catfish Hotel sinkhole.

    These are 2 of several European RV's that were here as a group. Site 42 on the right, 44 on the left. These are in the Magnolia 1 loop.

    The pick-up camper is in site 75 in the Magnolia 2 loop. All sites are quite shaded - setting up a satellite dish can be quite a challenge. You may need quite a bit of cable to reach to an opening in the trees somewhere.

    Magnolia 1 loop has the newest bathhouse.

    Manatee Spring is a large, first-order "boil", whose warm waters attract manatees in colder weather. It also offers SCUBA diving.

    A two-tenth of a mile boardwalk follows along the "run" from the boil to the Suwannee River.

    The boardwalk passes through a large cypress stand. This huge old stump still stands among cypress knees.

    Every time we have visited Manatee Springs, we've found dozens of turkey vultures in the trees along the river bank.

    The run is especially beautiful on an early mid-winter morning. The cold air over the warm water creates a shallow layer of fog, which the rising sun slowly burns off.

    On an early morning walk along the boardwalk we found this great egret patiently patrolling for his breakfast.

    Near the boil one finds a concession stand and canoe rentals. The run is closed to canoes and swimmers from Dec through March, to help protect the manatees.

    Near the Hickory camping loop is a large sinkhole known as Catfish Hotel. It is 90 feet deep and connects to more than 5 miles of underwater caverns.


    The camping fee is $20/night. Reservations are made through ReserveAmerica.

    Hikers can enjoy 8.5 miles of trails through the woods and along the Suwannee River.

    Verizon Wireless National Access is not available.