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Folks have flocked to the clear, refreshing waters of Manatee Springs for more than 10,000 years. Today, the springs are the site of one of the gems of the Florida state parks system and a much-loved motorhome camping destination.
Found six miles west of Chiefland, Manatee Springs State Park is centered around this beautiful first magnitude spring. Park highlights include an 800-foot boardwalk through a spectacular cypress forest, excellent boating and fishing, and a chance to get up close and personal with all manner of native wildlife.
Best of all, with an 80-site campground just a short walk away from the spring, the park is the perfect place to explore in an RV rental.
Home to a first magnitude spring that releases some 100 million gallons of water each day, Manatee Springs State Park offers an abundance of water-based recreational activities. The spring is a popular swimming spot with campers and day visitors, its cool waters offering the perfect place to cool off during the hotter months.
Snorkeling is another favorite activity — snorkel and mask rentals are available at the waterfront concession stand — and the pristine waters also offer plenty of underwater scenery for scuba divers to explore. If you visit at the right time of year, you might even catch a glimpse of a beautiful manatee. Open water diving and cave diving are both allowed in specific areas, but there are strict regulations concerning registration, proper diving certification, and where divers are authorized to go. Make sure you read the fine print closely before taking to the water.
The spring flows into the nearby Suwannee River, which is also the site of plenty of activity within the park. For some visitors, it's the perfect place to launch a canoe or kayak and enjoy a leisurely paddle. You can rent a kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or paddleboat from the park's concessionaire if you want to take to the water, while shuttle services are also available to help you make the most of the river's flow.
Other campers prefer to try their luck fishing in the river. Catfish, panfish, largemouth bass, and a variety of other species can all be caught here, while fishing from the park's boardwalk along the run that leads to the river is also permitted.
Of course, if you'd rather do some exploring on foot, Manatee Springs State Park also boasts over eight miles of nature trails. These trails lead you past cypress swamps, sinkhole ponds, and wetlands. The highlight is, of course, the 800-foot boardwalk that meanders its way from the spring to the river. It's a peaceful and easy walk, but it's also a simple way to explore the surrounding terrain.
Want to go camping in Manatee Springs State Park? Search for a rental RV in Levy County and find yourself a site in the park's family campground.
The campground boasts three loops with 80 campsites in total, 66 of which can accommodate RVs. Each site has electrical and water hookups, but the sites in the Magnolia 2 and Hickory loops don't provide sewer hookups. It's also worth noting that the maximum RV length permitted is 40 feet, though most sites accommodate vehicles between 15 and 35 feet long.
A dump station is provided in the campground, and each loop gets its own restroom building with hot showers. Restrooms in the Magnolia 1 and Hickory loops are accessible for guests with disabilities, with another ADA-accessible restroom located near the waterfront.
Finally, if you're traveling with your dog, the good news is that pets are welcome in the campground. Just make sure you keep your furry friend on a leash at all times and clean up after them whenever necessary.
While there's plenty to enjoy in Manatee Springs State Park, you'll also find a whole lot of other exciting attractions nearby.
For example, if you head northwest towards Apalachicola, you can explore the untamed wilderness of Tate's Hell State Forest. If history and nature are more your thing, steer your rental RV east towards Gainesville, where you can check out the fascinating displays at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Or, if you want to head for a major city, Jacksonville is less than two and a half hours northeast. While you're there, be sure to take a ride on the river taxi to take in the beautiful views of the city from the water.
When you rent a camper near Manatee Springs State Park, the list of travel experiences and adventures on offer is a long one. And with so much to do and enjoy, you'll find everything you need for a memorable RV camping getaway.