‘Way down upon the Suwannee River, Far, far away, There’s where my heart is turning ever, There’s where the old folks stay’.
Written by Stephen Foster in 1851, the song ‘Old Folks at Home’ put the Suwannee River on the map.
Now Florida’s official state song, if you fancy checking out what inspired these lyrics, you should pay a visit to Suwannee River State Park.
Situated about a 75 minute drive to downtown Tallahassee, the river is the main attraction of the 1800-acre park.
Providing plenty of opportunity for swimming, fishing and paddling, those into hiking can also explore several trails.
Showcasing a topography of limestone cliffs, dense forest and verdant woodland, these trails house vibrant birds and wildlife.
This Florida state park is also home to several camping options, including cabins and full hookup sites that come with water, electricity and sewage connections for RVs and trailers.
Visitors can partake in a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits during their time at Suwannee River State Park.
Presented below is a quick rundown of some of the various things you can see and do during your time there.
Paddling at Suwannee River State Park
Running from south Georgia, the Suwannee River stretches for the best part of 246 miles until it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
Subsequently there are several backcountry trips you can take via canoe, kayak or SUP from the campground.
The rainfall significantly changes your experience and what you see, so it is worth checking with the ranger station to ascertain the current water status.
At the park, the boat ramp easily lets you access the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers. You can also hire watercraft out from several private companies if you didn’t bring any to the park with you.
Swimming at Suwannee River State Park
Several springs, including the Little Gem and Suwanacoochee Springs feed into both rivers within the park. As a result there are several spots within it where you can enjoy a cooling dip in the water.
This is a particularly good thing to do during the intense heat of summer, so be sure to bring your costume with you when you visit the park.
When you do go for a swim you will have to do so at your own risk as the park is not lifeguarded. Make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen as well.
Hiking at Suwannee River State Park
For those who enjoy hiking, the park offers six different trails you can explore.
Ranging in length from less than a mile to more than 12 miles long they all showcase the park’s outstanding natural environment. Giving you a close up view of everything from oak trees and the rivers to ghost towns and Civil War defenses.
Here are some of the most popular trails at Suwannee River State Park:
- Lime Sink Trail – Length: 0.75 miles. Degree of Difficulty: easy
- Sandhill Trail – Length: 0.8 miles. Degree of Difficulty: moderate
- Big Oak Trail – Length: 12.5 miles Degree of Difficulty: challenging
Birding and Wildlife Viewing at Suwannee River State Park
The Suwannee River State Park is renowned for being an outstanding destination for wildlife watching and birding.
Throughout the park several forested and aquatic areas merge to create a natural habitat for numerous species of flora and fauna.
As a result several breeds of wading birds including the Suwannee River Cooter call the park home. The likes of common nighthawks, egrets, herons, eastern screech-owl and woodpeckers all live there too.
At ground level, you can expect to see plenty of turtles, white-tailed deer, snakes and alligators .
Pets at Suwannee River State Park
If your dog is well-behaved they are welcome to join you at the park.
However, you will need to keep them on a 6-foot leash and clean up after them.
Pets are not allowed entry into the cabins or any of the park’s buildings. Service dogs, by contrast, can accompany you anywhere in the park.
Camping at Suwannee River State Park
For those who want to stay at the park overnight there are several options available to visitors.
This includes 30 sites that come with full hookups for water, electricity and sewage. Three of which are completely ADA accessible.
Shaded by several oak trees, these sites are mainly on gravel pads that can accommodate RVs and trailers between 12 and 45 feet in length. Amenities at the campground include a laundry, playground and picnic area. There is also a dump station for those who want to empty out the contents of their black tank.
As well as these sites, there are also five cabins available for hire. Situated within the woods you will find them along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.
Relatively modern in nature, they feature five beds which can sleep up to six people. They are also furnished with a kitchenette, air-conditioning and indoor heating.
If you are visiting the park in a large group there are two additional campsites that are specifically set up for group camping. One of them can house groups of up to 45 campers while the other can host 30 people.
Each of these campsites comes with connections for electricity and water. They also have individual picnic tables and campfire grills you can cook on. If you stay at either of these campgrounds there is also a bathhouse you can use that comes with modern restrooms and hot showers.
Suwannee River State Park
3631 201st Path
Live Oak, FL 32060
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Suwannee River State Park: