Florida State Parks: Troy Springs
Located in North Central Florida, Troy Springs is one of numerous Florida state parks centered on a spring. It offers a refreshing dip into clear, 72 degree water, along with canoe or kayak access to the impressive Suwannee River. A great place for a day or half day trip, Troy Springs State Park contains a first magnitude spring, discharging up to 96 million gallons a day. The spring run is wide and long, stretching 200 feet before it joins the murky, tannin-stained Suwannee River water.
Swimming , Snorkeling, and Diving
In this park, the spring is the reason to visit. A snaking boardwalk leads downhill to Troy Springs, which is surrounded by cypress trees and porous limestone rock formations. Steps lead into the cool water so that visitors can immerse themselves gradually, and a small beach allows children to sit or wade. This is definitely a time to take a mask and snorkel when swimming. There’s an impressive drop off to the spring chimney, submerged roots and limestone terraces, a tremendous number of large turtles, and, towards the end of the spring run, the remains of the Confederate paddle-wheeler Madison, which was scuttled in 1863. Due to time and souvenir hunters, there is little left besides keel boards and iron spikes, but it adds a bit of historical interest to the beautiful natural history of the area.
Although there is a small cave entrance, SCUBA diving at Troy Springs is limited to open water diving; with a 70 foot deep spring chimney, it’s a popular destination for training dives. There is a $15 per person dive fee, and no solo diving is allowed.
There is a half mile nature trail through dense hardwoods, which provides a nice break from the cool spring water.
Visitors bringing canoes or kayaks can use the park’s dock to access the Suwannee River. Above the spring is a pleasant picnic area, and there is also a small cabin with historical information and souvenirs. As of this writing, equestrian trails and a barn are planned for Troy Springs State Park, as is a small campground.
There are a multitude of other state park and privately-owned springs in the area, and a week spent exploring them can be very rewarding, especially during the hot summer months. Due to the large spring run and the remains of the Madison, Troy Springs State Park is well worth adding to the list of springs to visit in this part of Florida.
Troy Springs State Park is located at 674 NE Troy Springs Road, Branford, Florida 32008. The number for the park is (386) 935-4835. Entry fees are $5/vehicle, and exact change is necessary for the drop box.