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Blackwater River running through the forest of Milton at Blackwater River State Park

Visit Blackwater River State Park for a chance to tube, kayak and canoe in crystal clear waters along pristine sandy shoreline. This 600 acre recreational area is only 35 miles east of Pensacola in Holt, Florida. The Florida state park also features nature trails and opportunities for camping, swimming, fishing, picnicking and wildlife viewing.

As guests float along the river and through the world’s largest contiguous longleaf pine and wiregrass ecosystem they are instantly transported back in time. It’s easy to see why humans have been attracted to this area for thousands of years.


Spend a relaxing day inside Blackwater River State Park or bring your tent or RV and spend a few nights nestled in the campground surrounded by pine, cedar and magnolia trees. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch – the park’s day use areas feature shaded picnic tables overlooking the river and Deaton Bridge and a picnic area near the nature trails.

As you are exploring the park get a closer look at its stone archaeological site which may be as old as 10,000 years.

Here are some more activities that you can do during your visit to Blackwater River State Park:

Boating at Blackwater River State Park

Kayak, canoe, paddle board or tube along the cool, clear river inside Blackwater River State Park. Rentals are available through the park’s concessionaire, Blackwater Canoe Rental. For more information call 850-623-0235.

Tubing at Blackwater River State Park

Blackwater River State Park contains the last 2 miles of the 30 mile Florida Paddling Trail that starts at Kennedy Bridge, near Alabama. This extensive water trail extends throughout the state’s rivers offering ideal conditions for canoeing, kayaking and tubing.

After you spend some time along the river you’ll appreciate how Blackwater River’s clear water and sandy beaches come together to create an ideal tubing experience.

Swimming at Blackwater River State Park

Bring your swimsuit and enjoy a refreshing dip in the river and then relax along the beautiful white sandy beach. The main swimming area provides safe access to the Blackwater River but there are no lifeguards. It is recommended that visitors who are not strong swimmers use flotation devices.

Picnic pavilions, restrooms and an outdoor shower are also located near the beach area to help make guests more comfortable during their stay.

Hiking at Blackwater River State Park

Blackwater River State Park’s nature trails extend through pine forest, swampland and along small crescent shaped lakes and the river. The trail system leads into the Blackwater River State Forest and many more miles of trails to explore.

Here are a couple of the trails at Blackwater River State Park:

  • Chain of Lakes Nature Trail – An easy 1.4 mile path through picturesque longleaf pines and along a series of oxbow lakes.
  • Juniper Creek Trail – A moderate 6 mile trail through the extensive pine forest. A section of this trail crosses over a catwalk bridge above the swamp, giving visitors a close up view of many species of wildlife.

Fishing at Blackwater River State Park

Bring your fishing gear and find a quiet spot along the river from shoreline or your canoe. The calm waters along Blackwater River make it a popular spot for anglers hoping to catch largemouth bass, panfish and catfish. Just don’t forget to pick up a Florida fishing license ahead of time.

Birding at Blackwater River State Park

Don’t forget to pack your binoculars and bird lists! Blackwater River State Park is a great place to view many types of birds in their natural habitats. Florida’s state bird, the mockingbird, is often heard and seen along the trails throughout the park.

While exploring the park pay close attention and you may see a Northern cardinal, American robin, Red-winged blackbird, blue jay, pine warbler, pileated woodpecker or a Mississippi kite.

Nature and Wildlife at Blackwater River State Park

You’ll be sure to see many signs of wildlife during your visit to Blackwater River State Park. Walk along the river and throughout the trails for a chance to see birds, white-tailed deer, opossums, wild turkeys, river otters, bobcats and alligators.

Pets at Blackwater River State Park

Pets are allowed inside Blackwater River State Park but must be supervised and kept on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet. Pets are not permitted in any park buildings or in the beach area.

Camping at Blackwater River State Park

Extend your visit to this picturesque area by spending a couple of nights inside the park. Blackwater River State Park features 30 campsites for tents or RVs nestled among the pine, cedar and magnolia trees. Sites range from shaded to sunny and are located near trails, a playground and the river. Each campsite has electric and water hookups, a picnic table, fire ring and grill.

Park Location

Blackwater River State Park
7720 Deaton Bridge Rd
Holt, FL 32564
Phone: 850.983.5363




Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Blackwater River State Park: