Florida is home to many breathtakingly beautiful springs, and Manatee Spring, which flows directly into the Suwannee River, is one of the best. This first-magnitude spring runs to the river beneath a canopy of ancient cypress trees, and it forms the site for one of Florida's best state parks.
Located approximately six miles west of Chiefland, Manatee Springs State Park offers impressive natural scenery and a host of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The clear waters of the spring are the perfect environment for the gorgeous West Indian Manatee, a gentle giant that frequents the park in large numbers.
Manatee Spring produces around 100 million gallons of clear, cool water per day. The area offers excellent conditions for swimming and snorkeling, while the spring's headwaters are also popular with swimmers.
Other park highlights include an 800-foot boardwalk through the cypress forest, eight miles of mountain bike trails, a floating river dock, canoeing and kayaking on the Suwannee River, and 8.5 miles of picturesque hiking trails.
The Manatee Springs State Park campground features 80 sites spread across three loops. Each loop has its own hot shower and restroom, and each site has electricity and water.
But the best part of all is that well-behaved dogs are welcome in the park and in the campground. They must be kept on a six-foot leash at all times and mustn't be left unattended for any longer than a half-hour. If your pet is leashed and under your control, they're allowed to wade into the spring run at the canoe launch.
However, please note that dogs are not permitted in buildings or the swimming area, and canine access to the boardwalk is also restricted. As always, don't forget to clean up after your pet.
Manatee Springs State Park is a charming park in a truly beautiful location. If you're a nature lover seeking a pet-friendly camping destination, this lovely spot is well worth a closer look.