Day trips from the River Inn to nearby Gulf Coast State Parks provide opportunities to explore some of Florida’s many natural wonders and see native wildlife in their own environment. The Inn is located near more than 100,000 acres of Preservation 2000 lands acquired under the Save Our Rivers program. This includes miles of undeveloped Gulf Coast frontage. The gulf and fresh water streams that flow through the area provide habitat for more than 100 bird species. We will be adding a few of our favorite spots as we travel to them.
Fanning Springs State Park is located just 38 Minutes from the Inn. The spring now produces around 65 million gallons of water daily, making it a second magnitude spring. Historically, Fanning Spring was a first-magnitude springs as recently as the 1990s. The springs not only offer the perfect 72 degrees water to cool down on hot Florida days, it also offers an abundance of underwater wildlife to view such as musk turtles, bass, mullet, freshwater flounder, bowfin and manatees during the colder days, just to name a few.
Visitors can enjoy grilling and picnicking under the majestic live oaks, kids can swing and run around at the playground and friends and family can have a friendly game of volleyball on the white sand volleyball court. They have a boardwalk that allows you to step back in time to old Florida as you stroll through a breathtaking cypress swamp with cypress knees standing 6 feet tall. This boardwalk ends with an overlook allowing you to see the Suwannee River and all it has to offer, including massive sturgeons jumping during the summer months.
White-tailed deer, gray squirrels, red-shouldered hawks, pileated woodpeckers and barred owls are some of the animals that may be seen around the park. An overlook at the park will allow you to see the spring in its entirety and has a spectacular view of the boil.
Lafayette Blue Springs
Located just 45 minutes from the Inn is Lafayette Blue Springs state park. Lafayette Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring. Walk across the natural limestone bridge that crosses over the spring run or picnic under the oaks trees with their swaying Spanish moss. Fish or canoe on the serene Suwannee River or hiking and wild life viewing is some of the favorite pastimes of visitors. The picnic area has tables, grills and 2 pavilions for visitor’s use.