Ichetucknee Springs State Park is located around 40 miles northwest of Gainesville, Florida. The Ichetucknee River runs for six miles before it joins Santa Fe River and the main spring of the river is a National Natural Landmark. Things to do in Ichetucknee Springs State Park include to hike, picnic, swim, canoe, kayak and of course tube the Ichetucknee River.
About Ichetucknee Springs in Florida
There are two entrances to Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Ichetucknee Springs south entrance and Ichetucknee Springs north entrance. Two of the most beautiful spots to hang out at are located at Ichetucknee Springs north entrance, the main headspring and the Blue Hole.
The main headspring of Ichetucknee is located right at the north entrance parking lot. And to get to the Ichetucknee Springs State Park Blue Hole you need to walk roughly half a mile from the north parking lot at the main spring to reach it.
There are launching points for tubing Ichetucknee both at the Ichetucknee Springs south entrance and at Ichetucknee Springs north entrance. However, tubing from the north is only allowed during the summer period.
Things to do in Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Ichetucknee Springs is not only about water activities. There are great trails to hike. Along the trails you find raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks, white-tailed deer and more.
And there are picnic tables available in the park, so bring some food and make yourself comfortable.
But it’s the water activities that make the park famous. The head spring is open year round for swimming. And canoeing, kayaking and tubing Ichetucknee are very popular things to do in the park.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park tubing
Ichetucknee Springs State Park has various launch and take out points throughout the park. As the river flows from north to south, the further north you start, the longer your Ichetucknee Springs State Park tubing ride will be.
During the summer you can launch and tube Ichetucknee from the northern entrance of Ichetucknee State Park. Other times of the year you have to pick from the launch spots more adjacent to the south entrance.
There are various Ichetucknee tubing routes available depending on when you go and what you want. Check the Ichetucknee Springs State Park map below to see the different launch options.
Three of the most popular Ichetucknee tubing routes are from North Launch all the way south, Midpoint Launch all the way south and Dampier’s Landing all the way south.
Tubing Ichetucknee North Launch all the way south
North Launch to all the way south lets you experience most of what Ichetucknee Springs State Park tubing has to offer. The Ichetucknee floating to the south entrance is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) and should take 3.5 hours. Note that you can only launch from the north end during the summer period.
Tubing Ichetucknee Midpoint Launch all the way south
Compared to the full stretch, Ichetucknee Springs State Park tubing from Midpoint also gives you a good but a little bit shorter ride. However, it’s open year round, unlike the northern launch spot. And you can get here with tram from the south parking lot. Beacause of that, the Midpoint Launch of Ichetucknee River is a very popular tubing option.
Tubing Ichetucknee Dampier’s Landing all the way south
As the Ichetucknee State Park map cleary shows, this is the shortest tubing ride of them all. But it’s still a fun Ichetucknee tubing ride, from Dampier’s Landing to the south take out point. It gives you a good taste of tubing Ichetucknee River. As it belongs to the southern part of the park it’s also open for tubing year round.
A relaxing day in the cool Ichetucknee Springs
After tubing the Ichetucknee River it’s a great idea to take the car up to the north entrance of Ichetucknee State Park and go swimming in the head spring. The Ichetucknee water is pretty cool, but that’s much appreciated in the hot and humid Florida air.
Also, there are trees everywhere at the Ichetucknee head spring, which makes it easy to find shade if you want to avoid the direct sunlight. And the Ichetucknee State Park head spring area has picnic tables if all the tubing and swimming makes you hungry.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park FAQ
Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about Ichetucknee State Park.
It takes about 3.5 hours to float from North Launch all the way south. From Midpoint Launch it takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. If you just want to try tubing you can enter at Dampier’s Landing and float on Ichetucknee for 45 minutes to South Takeout.
It’s a bit hard not to think about alligators when you go for a swim in a spring in Florida. It’s common knowledge that many alligators call Florida their home. All Florida waters potentially can harbor alligators, but the chance of you seeing one in Ichetucknee River is very small. They tend to be wary of people and keep distance. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation advises paying attention to your surroundings, sticking to designated swimming areas, and avoiding swimming at night.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is situated 4 miles (6 km) northwest of Fort White which is the city closest to the park.