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The river has a classic feel of the Old South, with lots of cypress trees, Spanish Moss and slow moving, clear water.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Closest available address
465 Wakulla Park Drive, Wakulla Springs, Florida 32327
8:00 am-sunset and overnight lodge rooms.
Best time to visit
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is a 6,000 acre park in north Florida about 30 minutes from Tallahassee. The park is known for freshwater springs, boat tours and prolific wildlife. There also is a historic lodge with 27 guest rooms.
Park lands were acquired in 1934 by Edward Ball, a financer of the Du Pont family. He also built the park lodge in the 1930s. Ball later sold the property to the state of Florida. The park was the location of various Tarzan movies as well as for the Airport 77 and The Creature from the Black Lagoon films. Wakulla’s main attraction is a huge freshwater springs, which is part of the Florida aquifer. Water flows at an average rate of 400,000 gallons per minute and is typically 69-70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
Wakulla’s most popular activities are swimming and boat tours. The park can get packed in summer primarily by people coming for the day to swim and picnic. There is a glass bottom boat tour in the springs area and a traditional boat tour that explores the Wakulla River. Both boat tours run all year but the glass bottom tour is dependent on water clarity so if that is your preference, call in advance to see if it's running. Wildlife viewing is best either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Winter is a good time of year to see manatee in the river.
The traditional boat was full late in the afternoon in winter. As the boats have been running for many years, the wildlife are used to them and a variety of wading birds and alligators could be seen up close. The boat tour was enjoyable, and the park ranger narrator was very informative. Hiking options are limited here, but the main 6 mile trail was flat, easy and quiet. The lodge is worth a look if you enjoy historic buildings. Rooms are traditional and do not include TVs. This park is a relaxing place to spend a weekend in the winter when it is less congested. It is also a good choice for a shorter visit to enjoy a boat tour and/or a tranquil walk.
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