On the way home from our trip to the Florida Panhandle last month, Lynn and I decided to break up the drive and spend one night at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.
Wakulla River, just down stream from the spring
This gorgeous park is about 14 miles south of Tallahassee and surrounds a first magnitude spring. Water from the Floridan Aquifer flows into the Wakulla and through the St. Marks Rivers to the Gulf of Mexico. The flow comes out of an extensive cave system and divers have explored about 12 miles of the network. It’s been a popular place with film crews and several movies were filmed here, including Creature from the Black Lagoon.
You can see how clear the water is in the photo above. It was even clearer: When Lynn and I were last there (~ 15 years ago) we could see the mouth of the spring from the surface. But now:
“Sadly, Glass-Bottom Boat Tours over the spring basin have become the exception rather than the rule in recent years. Tea-stained or green water impedes the penetration of light needed to view the impressive features of the deep chasm of Wakulla Spring. Heavy rains combined with other factors still to be fully understood are thought to be the cause of decreased visibility.” https://www.floridastateparks.org/park-activities/wakulla-springs#Boat-Tours
Even though the glass bottom boat tours are rare, they run guided riverboat tours every day – make sure you take one. The Wakulla River is protected in the park and they’re the only boats allowed. It’s an isolated and very pretty ride, and in addition to the scenery we saw lots of wildlife including Manatees, Turtles, and birds. The ranger even pointed out a Yellow-crowned Night Heron on the nest with chicks – a life bird for me. Unfortunately, it was far back in the leaves and my photo isn’t good at all. 🙁
Alligators were up on the banks and swimming in the river although we didn’t see any close to the roped off swimming area. When I asked the ranger about that he said “We have an agreement with the gators.” I hope it’s a binding contract!
Built in the 1930s, the Lodge is on the National Register of Historic Places. If you want to get away from it all, this is a fine place to do it. There’s no television, and cell reception is spotty at best. But they have telephone land lines and even wi-fi now! There’s also a nice dinning room so you don’t have to leave the park for meals.
We also enjoyed the live entertainment and beverages while reading in the lobby.
If you get a chance, Wakulla Springs is obviously worth a visit. Reservations at the lodge are much easier to get than at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Lynn and I need to go back more often than every 15 years.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!
©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.