Top Things to do in Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park view

Paddleboarding, snorkeling, and swimming are all popular activities in the park.

Paddling at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

Paddling in Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is an unforgettable experience. Float a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard down the quarter-mile spring run that connects the main spring headwaters to the Santa Fe River.
Tranquil, blue waterways surround you as you watch turtle antics and hawks, ibis, osprey, and herons fly overhead. Cormorants and anhingas dive for fish, breaking the surface waters below you.
The springs and spring flow will thrill and astonish you, whether you are a first-time adventurer or a seasoned explorer.

Paddling at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

Kayak on Gilchrist Blue Spring Run

Look up at the towering cypress trees that provide shade and habitat for aquatic creatures, birds, and insects. Keep an eye out for swimming water snakes, sunbathing river cooters, mullet leaping, and osprey fishing. In the water, look for artesian springs, swallets, and siphons.

The temperature in the spring is a consistent 72 degrees all year, so bring a hat, sunscreen, and a towel for comfort.

The Santa Fe River runs east to west. The river’s dark, tea-colored water blends with the crystal-clear blue spring water at its confluence with Gilchrist Blue’s spring flow.

Keep a watch out for mullet and gar, which are common near the “mixing waters.” You may either paddle upstream to Rum Island, Poe Springs, Lily, or a number of other springs, or float downstream to Ginnie Springs.

Gilchrist Blue Springs view
Gilchrist Blue Springs view

Snorkeling in Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

Snorkeling is permitted in specific places.


Swimming is only available at the main spring in Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park. The other springs are being restored but are open for observation.


Wildlife Viewing at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

The park’s most important natural habitats are the spring run stream and floodplain ecosystems. The major spring rush is famous for the variety of animal species it attracts, including turtles, fish, and crustaceans.
Come out and see the diverse aquatic life that inhabits these springs.


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