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Monday, June 6, 2022

Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, High Springs, FL, Spring 2022 Visit


Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

You will find in my Florida State Park section a previous review of Gilchrist Blue Spring State Park. Each time we go back and visit a park I add a few more pictures and descriptions of our experiences that provide a bit more insight of the special character of the park. I hope you find these observations useful in planning your camping experiences in the future.

Located just north of Gainesville, FL near the High Springs, FL, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is a kayakers heaven and a great place to explore the fresh water springs of Florida. The clear waters of Blue Springs are the main attraction here where locals and visitors come to enjoy the abundant nature that is part of the Santa Fe River watershed area. 

Blue Springs Spring head

 Blue Springs is conveniently located near the heart of the park not far from the campground. The state acquired the property from private owners who operated the property as a campground. The park entrance road is about two miles long with one lane going in and on lane going out. It is a gravel road with a few bumps along the way requiring campers to take their time getting into the park. The park has a combination changing rooms and bathrooms in on large building for visitors. The camping sites are a bit uneven and not that big requiring bigger rigs to do a bit of maneuvering to get set up.

The Spring flows out to the Santa Fe River on a quarter mile run. One of the longest spring runs in this area. The waters are crystal clear with exotic underwater plants and schools of fish that feed off the abundant food chain that exists here. 

Blue Spring Run

Rum Island Spring

If you do not have a kayak or canoe you can rent one at the park to paddle down the spring run to the Santa Fe river. Once out on the Santa Fe river you can paddle a short distance upriver to Rum Island Spring County Park. The spring at rum island is adjacent to the river and provides visitors a convenient way to tie up to the bank for a picnic or a cool dip in the crystal clear waters. It is one of the areas where local outfitters pick up folks who put in upriver in High Springs. Various springs line the banks of the Santa Fe making the area a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. 

The Santa Fe River

                                       Rum Island on the banks of the Santa Fe River

Ginnie Springs, is located down river from Gilchrest Blue Springs State Park. It is a private park where families campout and divers explore the caves of the springs on the property. We found that Gilchrist is by far a better choice if you want to avoid crowds and partiers who tend to stay up late. If you decide to make reservations to stay at any of the Florida State parks it is wise to plan ahead. The sites open up to reserve eleven months in advance especially in prime season if you want to plan your visit over the weekend during the busy season in the spring and fall you can make your reservations for Gilchrist at this Florida State Park website. If you plan your trip during the week and not around a holiday in the summer it is possible to get a site for a few days as folks will at times cancel their reservations creating an opening. 

Florida is known for it's fresh water springs. There are many options to explore in various parts of our state. The Springs are great place to cool down during the long hot humid summers that the summer season brings us.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Doug, great talking with you in camp today. Checked out your blog and as luck would have it the first one up was Gilchrist Blue Springs! Will read your other blogs as well. Safe travels, Karl
    (Karl, Brenda & Pepper KB&P)