This is a post for all the Florida lovers that have been to Florida many times and who don’t want to visit Sea World, Disney, and Universal for the 100th time. This is for alle the nature lovers, the sportive guys and simply travelers who want to exercise a little bit while surrounded by beautiful nature. This is Ichetucknee Springs State Park.
Ichetucknee Spring State Park is in northern Florida, just 40 minutes north of the student town Gainesville. We recommend entering the State park from the North because the river flows from north to south. Getting to the State Park is fairly easy, just enter Ichetucknee Tube Center into Google maps and it will get you there. Entrance fee is only $6 dollars per car. You’ll see many tube rentals along the road to the State park. We ignored them as we wanted to rent canoes and SUPs (Stand Up Paddle Boards). There is one centre that rents kayaks and canooes outside the State park, but we recommend the one that is INSIDE the State Park. Most of the tourists seem to stop by one of the many tube rental services OUTSIDE the park (there are none inside), but the Paddling Adventures Ichetucknee is such a good company to rent from! Just follow the signs and you’ll get to a hidden hut. They have canoes (triples) and kayaks (tandem and single) and SUPs at reasonable prices. (Range from $30 to $35 plus tax. Transport from the drop off point back to the park entrance is included.
The staff was very nice to us and helped us with our decision what we should get 🙂 Since we are five people, we ended up getting two SUPs and a triple canoe, which was a good choice! With the triple canoe, we could easily store our cameras, snacks, and water.
Floating/Paddling down the river takes about 2 to 2,5 hours, depending on how often you take breaks, go swimming etc. Don’t miss the devil’s eye to your right (about 15 minutes after the beginning of the float). It is an underwater cave with crystal clear water (btw: 72 degrees fahrenheit all year round). But see for yourself and enjoy the probably most clear water that you might have seen.
The SUPs were so much fun! The current is not that strong so that we could get off our SUPs and in the canoe (and vice versa) easily.
You’ll see many different birds, a lot of fish, and turtles along your way. Just relax and enjoy the stunning nature.
Paddling Adventures will pick you up every hour at the hour from the landing spot and they’re on time!
All in all, it was a fantastic day! Not too touristy, relaxing and something different!