Manatee Springs Update

scubacamper

Super Active Member
Mar 19, 2013
1,366
Jacksonville, FL
I've read with interest some of you that live here in FL haven't been to Manatee Springs...WHY?
We've now been there twice this year already and though the water is currently up and swimming is closed the campsites are very open and accessible. With only a few exceptions there are plenty whenever you want to go and even cabins for those who want to feel like you're at a resort. They recently redid the bathhouses / restrooms and nature abounds. The deer love marshmallows and will almost take them out of your hand. The raccoons and opossums are around every night often ignoring you if you make a late night head call. For us Divers it's both an open water (spring side) and a cave dive (sink side-Catfish Hotel). There are 2 loops and we've camped at both this year and there's pluses and minuses to both but we weren't disappointed at either loop.

Check out www.floridastateparks.org and check it out. Also the town of Chiefland is nearby with anything you may have forgotten and a wonderful Bar-B-Q place just out on the main drag. We stop every time we're down there. I have heard others say it's good for only one night but I would disagree. We've been there for multiple days and there's always something new to find to do. Also if you play golf a local course is about a mile from the main gate.

Hope you enjoy.

Doc
 

jmcclung11

Super Active Member
Aug 10, 2008
1,163
Fishersville, VA
We liked Manatee Springs and will go back. But, people shouldn't feed the wildlife. Makes them too tame to eat their natural food. Now that we have the kayaks, would love to go kayaking up and down the river.
 

Bmoore257

Member
Mar 7, 2013
23
I've heard great things about Manatee. Might get there this summer. I like wooded campsites and I believe that park has them.
 

FL_Bill

I'm cooking something yummy!
Aug 3, 2011
983
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Cuckoo said:
Sounds like Bill would love this place...

I do love that place!

Glad they redid the bathrooms!

If you book online, I may be wrong, but I think this is the park that has a whole loop that does not show up on line. Lots of spaces.

FL Bill
 

scubacamper

Super Active Member
Mar 19, 2013
1,366
Jacksonville, FL
That was true last year as they were open only for those who drove up or the locals as the loop was under construction but now it should be available.

Doc
 

clif1025

Member
Nov 8, 2012
71
We have been there twice so far. Last July, and again this past February. Had a great time both times. We are looking at going back again sometime this summer. It needs to be hot out to make that 72 degree water feel good. [8D]
 

Sharon

Dover, FL
Oct 28, 2008
1,748
Dover,FL
I have lived in central florida for 45 years and have only been to Manatee springs one time. Last July for a day trip. And we loved it.

We were standing in a camping spot just checking it out and two dear just came walking by, its was so wonderful just to watch them.

Loved the springs, we didn't camp or swim. Just went to check it out.

I was just looking online this weekend to see what was available for our July trip. And seen a ton of spots open. Like a whole loop. I thought that was odd for July.

But I guess with swimming closed that could be the reason.


How do we find out if its still closed?

Sharon
 

Bmoore257

Member
Mar 7, 2013
23
Headed to Manatee Springs in a couple of weeks. Plan to kayak and hike the trails. We'll probably dip our toes into the springs [:D] . Looking forward to it.
 

Bmoore257

Member
Mar 7, 2013
23
Just spent 3 days at Manatee. We absolutely loved it. By far, our favorite State Park Campground so far. Deer were everywhere throughout the CG. They would walk right thru our camp site if we were relaxed. The Spring was awesome. We could only do a short trip, but we plan to come back soon and stay longer. Ticks were kind of bad, but that's part of being in the woods. Just spray down if you go.
 

williamtalbott

slacker since 1981!
Jun 18, 2011
45
I loved it when I went two years ago ,very peaceful and lots to do especially for the kids ,playgrounds the water great fishing dock all the way at the end, etc.. they even have a small convenience store right at the entrance of the park just in case you ran out of something ,I think it is managed by the park people ,but all and all I loved it!, and im planning for the future to go again, my problem is that it is quite a drive for me, but it is totally worth it believe me when we went there they told me that the water is 70 degrees almost all year round
 

Bmoore257

Member
Mar 7, 2013
23
Yeah, it's a bit of a drive for us. A 4 or 5 day trip would be better. The store has closed down unfortunately but Walmart is only 6 miles away. They have a concession stand at the spring, too.
 

BillBlackett

Member
Aug 26, 2013
73
I just spent 2 nights at Manatee Springs. I would have liked to stay one more day, but we had to get back for a Christmas Eve family get together.

Pros:
- Very friendly and helpful staff
- Tons of wildlife. We were fortunate to see two manatees on our first day there, but there is plenty of other critters around the spring, the river and the campground.
- Nice Playground for the kids
- I'm not a scuba diver, but I rented goggles from the concession stand, and spent a good couple hours exploring the spring.
- Nice weather - Florida in December and January is very pleasant. We neither had to put on the heat, nor the AC.

Cons:
- It's definitely off the beaten path as far as Florida vacations go. Although some people would consider that to be a plus.
- The racoons and armadillos were clearly far too comfortable around humans. The dumpsters should really have proper wildlife lids on them.
 

bjugrad79

Member
May 28, 2013
50
I live in northern IN, but my wife has relatives near Chiefland and we have been to Manatee many times. It's a great place to visit- well worth the time.
 

scubacamper

Super Active Member
Mar 19, 2013
1,366
Jacksonville, FL
If you want to get wet and enjoy the 68-72 degree water NOW is the time. With water temps being that high and the air temps in the 40's to 60's the water feels warmer and you might not want to get out. We cave dive in the winter specifically because there are very few swimmers stirring up the silt and because the water feels so much warmer than the outside ambient air.
 

williamtalbott

slacker since 1981!
Jun 18, 2011
45
i have been to manatee springs once and i really loved it ,crystal clear waters ,some stuff floats on the water that my kids saw coming from the bottom cave , the fishing /pier area at the end of the spring was amazing ,lost of fish splashing around,great view ,the campgrounds where very accessible and the bathrooms where clean , all and all a great experience. [PU]
 

dmonette

Active Member
Aug 18, 2013
190
We planned a trip there back in late January. We will be there this thursday until tuesday. So far the weather forecast sucks.
 




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