Springs Fever: A Field & Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs.
2nd Edition by Joe Follman and Richard Buchanan

Suwannee Springs
Suwannee County
  • Summary of Features
    • Scale -2nd magnitude
    • Scenery  -fine
    • How Pristine?  -remnant of stone structure around spring, clearedland, beach area
    • Swimming -fair, water is sulfurous
    • Protection -excellent
    • Wildlife -fair to good
    • Crowds -can be crowded on warm weekends
    • Access -fine
    • Facilities -good
    • Safety -very good
    • Scuba -no
    • Cost -free
    Directions
    From Live Oak, drive about 7 miles north on U.S. 129, crossing underInterstate 10. Turn right on old highway 129, just before the agriculturestation and solid waste collection site, and before crossing the SuwanneeRiver. Turn right on dirt road sign-posted for the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery,and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring,go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site atthe following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    A rectangular stone floodwall surrounds the spring on three sides–onone side, white sand has filled in to make a small beach. A lower stonewall encloses the spring itself. On the wall facing the Suwannee are threearched openings, two of them big enough to walk through when the riveris low. The pool is about 40 feet in diameter. The spring is attractive,with clear greenish-yellow water that has a marked sulfurous odor. Thespring has two vents and a limestone ledge beneath the water but clearlyvisible. One flow is from under the SE corner of the wall from limestoneopenings. There is another flow near the center of the pool from beneaththe limestone ledge, creating a mild slick on the surface that is about3 feet in diameter. Suwannee Spring flows through a hole in the floodwalldirectly into the river.

    There are two other vents just outside the enclosure at its base. Thesevents are inundated in times of high water, but are easy to spot when waterlevels are low. In addition, there is another vent about 45 feet east ofthe structure at the edge of the river, and at least three other flow pointsat points from 40-60 feet west of the structure, all at the edge of thebank. On date of visit (March 2001), all were flowing and had strong orotherwise clearly visible boils.

    A concrete walkway leads down to the ruins. The walls of the walkwaylook like rough-hewn stone at first glance, but they are really wedge-likeconcrete blocks.

    Use/Access

    • The site is protected and has been restored by the Suwannee River WaterManagement District and is open to the public. Besides the old walls aroundthe spring, there is a path to a large sandbar that is used for picnicking,swimming and sunbathing by the river. Fishing, biki ng, and horseback ridingare also permitted on the tract.
    • On the other side of U.S. 129, by the current U.S. 129 bridge, is the Spiritof the Suwannee Music Park and campgr ou nd. M any people confuse this commercialpark with the Stephen Foster Cultural Center in nearby White Springs. I-75is about three miles north of the bridge.
    • There is a scenic trail along the high banks of the river. The sandy pathgoes up and down along the high rocky banks, emerging right at the footof the old bridge. The bridge is closed to traffic and provides a scenicvista above the Suwannee. Downstream in the distance is the current U.S.129 bridge.
    Local Springiana
    • Text from Johnson & Faircloth:
    Suwannee Springs was a prime tourist destination from 1890 to 1925as people from all over the country came to bathe in the medicinal sulfurwater thought to cure kidney problems, rheumatism, gout, constipation,and many other common ailments of the day. Three hotels and 18 privateresidences were located on the site during its heyday. The Atlantic CoastlineRailroad stopped at Suwannee Station, a mile north of the springs, andran a spur line down to the hotels. In 1925 the last hotel burned downand Suwannee Springs ceased to be a year-round resort. The spring houseand railroad pylons can still be seen today. Years of unmanaged use causederosion and a decline in the spring’s natural beauty. A major restorationto restore the spring and to provide better recreational opportunitieswas completed in 1996. Work included stabilizing the back-filling areasaround the spring; constructing additional parking areas and walkways;and replanting with native plants (1996, p. 38).
  • There is a notorious murder associated with Suwannee Springs. In 1941,a young (17) black man was beaten by a white mob, tied in chains, and throwninto the spring where he drowned. The youth had supposedly sent a greetingcard to a white girl in the community. No one was ever arrested or punishedfor the crime. In late 2000, a radio reporter tracked down the aged butstill-living mother of the victim, who had moved away from the SuwanneeSprings area shortly after the murder. The mother refused to speak withthe reporter about the crime; other relatives told the reporter that themother still feared retribution from the community after 60 years.
  • In a 1852 book, supposed author Charles Clinton provides the followingdescriptino of Suwannee Springs:
    • The following day we proceeded to Suwannee Springs, and stoppedat Mr. Tresvant's, where we found excellent accommodations.  Thisis a fashionable watering-place for the Floridians in summer; and the riverSuwannee is within one hundred yards of the house.  It is a clear,rapid stream, with bold rocky banks.  The spring is white sulphur,immediately on the margin of the river.  The path to it is precipitous;and there is a wooden machine to lower visitors, if too indolent to walk. There are good arrangements for swimming and shower baths; and should supposethat a few weeks might be passed comfortably here.  There is somefishing; and wild turkeys and deer are numerous.  Leaving this placewith reluctance . . . (p. 36)
    Other Nearby Springs
    • White (or White Sulfur) Springs
    • Iron (or Wesson’s Iron) Spring
    • Bell Spring
    • Mattair Spring
    • Louisa Spring
    Other Nearby Natural Features
    • Big Shoals
    • Little Shoals
    Contact Information
    Suwannee River Water Management District
    9225 CR49
    Live Oak, FL 32060
    800-226-1066