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Activities on the Suwannee River
Just about anywhere along the length of the Suwannee River the outdoor enthusiast is certain to come across opportunities for canoeing or kayaking, either for a few hours or longer multi-day expeditions.
However, it is not only the water that attracts visitors to the area, but also the changing landscapes as the rivers meanders down through northern Florida to its discharge point into the Gulf of Florida.
At several points along the course of the river there are towns and parks known as ‘hubs’ and not only do they provide food and shelter for the multi-day canoeists but also a variety of alternative outdoor pursuits that include, hiking, cycling, horse riding and scuba diving.
For the first time visitor, with so much choice on offer, it can sometimes be difficult to know where’s the best place to head for, so in this article we have attempted to put together some of the more popular locations that specialise in non-water activities.
Starting with cycling, most weekends the Suwannee Bicycle Association holds events in White Springs which has dedicated biking lanes throughout the town and immediate surrounding areas. Their events calendar culminates with the Fat-Tyre Festival in the Autumn.
The four mile long Woodpecker Trail in nearby Big Shoals Sate Park offers bikers some challenging off road trails while at the same time being able to enjoy the spectacle of canoeists negotiating Florida’s only Class Three white water rapids.
For hiking enthusiasts the Sandhills Trail in Suwannee River State Park runs from the main picnic area and part of the route takes in the old stagecoach road between Pensacola and Jacksonville.
Although not strictly on the Suwannee, Ichetucknee Springs Park near Brantford has a number of hiking trails ranging from half a mile to just over two miles. The Blue Hole Trail is very popular as it leads to Blue Hole Spring, the largest in the park, and a favourite for swimming and scuba diving, so don’t forget your towel.
Stables are to be found just north of Live Oak at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and horse riding enthusiasts are well catered for with guided trail rides readily available.
There are also around five miles of equestrian trails along the Nature Coast State Trail which starts from the town of Fanning Springs and a new facility is nearing completion at Troy Springs State Park near Brantford.
These, are just a very small selection of activities within the Suwannee River Basin, but wherever you choose as a base there is bound to be something for everyone to enjoy very close by.
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