Discover the Beauty of Wakulla Springs State Park



Affiliate Disclaimer

We’re reader-sponsored! By checking out our awesome handpicked recommendations, you not only support us without spending a dime but also help us earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links on this website. Let’s have fun and discover amazing birds together!

Imagine stepping into a true natural wonderland, where crystal-clear waters shimmer in the sunlight and lush greenery surrounds you at every turn. With “Discover the Beauty of Wakulla Springs State Park,” you can embark on an unforgettable journey through one of Florida’s most enchanting destinations. This complete guide provides you with all the information you need to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of this breathtaking state park, from exploring its diverse wildlife to uncovering hidden hiking trails. Prepare to be captivated by the unparalleled beauty that awaits you at Wakulla Springs State Park.



Wakulla Springs State Park is a natural paradise located in Wakulla County, Florida. Situated just 14 miles south of Tallahassee, the state capital, this breathtaking park covers over 6,000 acres of pristine wilderness. Known for its crystal-clear springs, scenic river, and diverse wildlife, Wakulla Springs State Park offers visitors a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

How to Get There

Getting to Wakulla Springs State Park is easy and convenient. If you’re driving from Tallahassee, simply take US-319 South for approximately 14 miles until you reach the park entrance. The drive is scenic and well-marked, making it a pleasant journey. For those traveling from further away, Tallahassee International Airport is the nearest major airport, conveniently located just a short drive from the park.

Best Time to Visit

Wakulla Springs State Park is a year-round destination, each season offering its own unique charm. However, the best time to visit is during the spring and fall months when the weather is mild, and the park is less crowded. Springtime is especially beautiful, as the park comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and migratory birds. If you prefer warmer temperatures, the summer months offer a great opportunity to enjoy swimming and other water activities. Winter is also a lovely time to visit, with fewer visitors and a peaceful ambiance.



Wakulla Springs has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The name “Wakulla” is derived from the Creek Indian word for “mystery,” which perfectly captures the allure and magic of this enchanting place. Native American tribes, including the Apalachee and Seminole, revered the springs for their healing powers and considered the area sacred.

Early Inhabitants

Archaeological evidence suggests that the Wakulla Springs area has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years. Native American tribes lived along the shores of the springs, relying on its abundant resources for their survival. The Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, followed by European settlers who established plantations in the area. The vibrant cultural history of Wakulla Springs is a testament to the diverse groups that have called this place home over the centuries.

Exploration and Development

In the early 20th century, Wakulla Springs gained recognition as a popular tourist destination. Renowned explorers such as Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic photographers flocked to the springs to document its beauty. The area was eventually designated as a state park in 1974, preserving its natural wonders for future generations to enjoy.

Natural Features


The most captivating feature of Wakulla Springs State Park is its magnificent springs. These natural wonders, considered one of the largest freshwater springs in the world, produce an astonishing 250 million gallons of crystal-clear water per day. The springs maintain a constant temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal habitat for a diverse array of aquatic plants and animals.


Flowing from the Wakulla Springs, the Wakulla River offers a picturesque setting for numerous recreational activities. Stretching for 9 miles, the river provides visitors with opportunities for boating, kayaking, and wildlife spotting. As you navigate the calm waters, be sure to take in the breathtaking scenery and be on the lookout for playful otters and graceful water birds.


Wakulla Springs State Park is home to a lush and vibrant ecosystem, boasting a variety of flora. From towering cypress trees draped in Spanish moss to colorful wildflowers dotting the landscape, the park offers a feast for the eyes. Take a leisurely stroll along the nature trails and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, with fragrant pine forests and majestic oaks lining your path.


The park’s diverse wildlife population is a highlight for nature enthusiasts. From alligators sunning themselves on the riverbanks to graceful manatees gracefully gliding through the water, Wakulla Springs is a haven for animal lovers. Bird watchers will delight in spotting unique species such as ospreys, herons, and the majestic bald eagle. Keep your camera ready as you never know what incredible wildlife encounter awaits.



Cool off on a hot day by taking a refreshing dip in the clear waters of Wakulla Springs. The swimming area, located near the lodge, is a popular spot for visitors of all ages. The springs’ constant temperature of 70 degrees provides a comfortable environment for swimming year-round. So grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and enjoy a relaxing swim in this natural oasis.


Exploring the Wakulla River by boat is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the park’s tranquility. You can bring your own canoe or kayak and launch from designated areas within the park. Alternatively, you can rent a boat from the park’s concession stand and leisurely paddle your way through the calm waters. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning scenery and wildlife along the river.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

For those with a sense of adventure, snorkeling and scuba diving in Wakulla Springs is an unforgettable experience. The crystal-clear water offers excellent visibility, allowing you to discover the hidden wonders beneath the surface. Explore underwater caves, swim alongside playful fish, and marvel at the natural beauty that lies beneath the springs.


Wakulla Springs State Park provides several picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a leisurely meal amidst the beauty of nature. Pack a picnic basket filled with your favorite foods, grab a blanket, and find a shady spot to unwind and indulge in a delicious meal. As you dine, take in the scenic vistas and the soothing sound of the nearby river.


The park offers a variety of scenic hiking trails, allowing visitors to explore the natural beauty of Wakulla Springs at their own pace. The trails wind through diverse habitats, including pine forests, wetlands, and hardwood hammocks. Whether you’re an avid hiker or prefer a leisurely stroll, the trails offer something for everyone. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings along the way and don’t forget to bring water and sturdy footwear.

Wildlife Spotting


One of the most iconic creatures found in Wakulla Springs State Park is the American alligator. These impressive reptiles can often be spotted sunbathing on the riverbanks or lazily floating in the water. While they may seem intimidating, it’s essential to view them from a safe distance and never feed or disturb them.


Wakulla Springs is also a sanctuary for gentle giants – the manatees. These graceful marine mammals seek refuge in the warm waters during the colder months, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to observe them up close. Keep an eye out for their telltale snouts breaking the surface as they peacefully glide through the water.

Bird Watching

With its diverse habitats, Wakulla Springs State Park is a haven for birdwatchers. From majestic bald eagles soaring through the sky to colorful songbirds perched on branches, the park offers a wealth of bird species to admire. Grab your binoculars and join the experts in a bird watching excursion, learning about the different species and their behaviors.

Exploring the Trails

The Wakulla Springs Trail

The Wakulla Springs Trail is a 3-mile loop that winds through the heart of the park, showcasing its natural wonders. This trail takes you past the iconic Wakulla Springs, offering breathtaking views of the crystal-clear water. Immerse yourself in the park’s lush flora and keep an eye out for wildlife along the way. The trail is rated as easy, making it suitable for visitors of all ages and fitness levels.

The Wakulla River Trail

For a longer hiking experience, venture along the Wakulla River Trail. This 9-mile trail follows the banks of the Wakulla River, offering unparalleled views of the water and its surrounding landscapes. As you hike, you may encounter various wildlife species and enjoy the calming sounds of the river. Be prepared with ample water and sunscreen, as this trail offers limited shade.

The Wakulla Loop Trail

The Wakulla Loop Trail is an intermediate-level trail that combines the Wakulla Springs and Wakulla River Trails for a 12-mile adventure. This longer trail provides hikers with a more immersive experience, allowing them to witness the park’s diverse ecosystems. From serene springs to dense forests, the trail showcases the natural beauty that makes Wakulla Springs State Park truly special.

Guided Tours

Riverboat Tour

Sit back and relax as you embark on a scenic riverboat tour of Wakulla Springs. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours offer a chance to learn about the park’s history, wildlife, and geological features. Marvel at the abundant wildlife, including alligators and manatees, as you cruise along the tranquil river. A riverboat tour is a must-do experience that provides a unique perspective on the park’s beauty.

Glass-Bottom Boat Tour

For a truly immersive experience, hop aboard a glass-bottom boat tour and peer into the crystal-clear depths of Wakulla Springs. With the boat’s transparent bottom, you can witness the vibrant underwater world without getting wet. As you glide over submerged caves and colorful fish, your guide will share fascinating insights about the park’s geology and aquatic life.

The Lodge at Wakulla Springs

Accommodation Options

If you wish to extend your stay and fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Wakulla Springs State Park, The Lodge at Wakulla Springs offers comfortable accommodations. The lodge features charming guest rooms and cottages nestled within the park’s natural surroundings. Wake up to the sounds of birds chirping and enjoy the convenience of being just steps away from the park’s attractions.

Dining at the Lodge

Indulge in delicious meals at the lodge’s onsite dining options. The Edward Ball Dining Room serves up a delectable selection of Southern cuisine, made with locally sourced ingredients. Savor classic dishes with a modern twist, all while taking in the stunning views of the springs. The Monkey Bar and Grill offers a more casual dining experience, perfect for grabbing a quick bite or enjoying a refreshing drink.

Visitor Information

Fees and Permits

To enjoy all that Wakulla Springs State Park has to offer, visitors are required to pay an entrance fee. The current fee is $6 per vehicle, which grants access to all the park’s amenities and activities. Additional fees may apply for guided tours or specific recreational activities. Visitors are advised to check the park’s website or contact the park office for the most up-to-date information regarding fees and permits.


Wakulla Springs State Park provides visitors with various facilities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Restrooms and picnic areas are available throughout the park, offering convenient spots for a quick break or a leisurely meal. The park also has a gift shop, allowing visitors to take home a memento of their visit.

Safety Tips

While visiting Wakulla Springs State Park, it’s essential to be prepared and mindful of your surroundings. Follow all posted signs and regulations, keeping a safe distance from wildlife and refraining from feeding them. Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and protect yourself from biting insects by applying insect repellent. If engaging in water activities, ensure you have the necessary safety equipment and follow all guidelines provided by park staff.

Nearby Attractions

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Adjacent to Wakulla Springs State Park, visitors can explore the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. This 4,000-acre park offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and fishing. Take a guided paddle tour along the Wakulla River or rent a kayak to explore the park’s waterways. With its serene beauty and abundant wildlife, this neighboring park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

Leon Sinks Geological Area

For those who appreciate the natural wonders of geology, the Leon Sinks Geological Area is a short drive from Wakulla Springs State Park. This unique natural area features an intricate network of sinkholes, disappearing streams, and underwater caves. Embark on a self-guided tour and witness the fascinating geological formations. The park offers several hiking trails, allowing visitors to explore this breathtaking landscape at their own pace.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or the opportunity to connect with nature, Wakulla Springs State Park offers it all. Explore the crystal-clear springs, hike through enchanting forests, and encounter fascinating wildlife. With its rich history, diverse ecosystems, and range of recreational activities, Wakulla Springs State Park is a true gem in the heart of Florida. So grab your camera, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to discover the beauty of Wakulla Springs State Park.

Latest posts