The Blue Springs Recreational Park provides more than just entertainment and relaxation. The springs produce more than 64.6 million gallons of water each day. In the summer, the park can draw up to 1,000 visitors a day, who relish the cool respite of the clear water. Hundreds of acres surround the springs, offering perfect places for family picnics and jungle gyms for the children.
Blue Springs has quickly become a renowed dive spot, attracting diving enthusiasts from across the globe. According to the Florida Geological Survey, diver reports indicate the area is underlain by caves and tunnels hundreds of feet long and that some depths approach 300 ft.
Blue Springs Recreation Area: Blue Springs Recreation Area is located at the head of a first-order magnitude spring*, which feeds the cypress lined Merritts Mill Pond. There are picnic grills, pavillions and covered tables plus swimming, volleyball, paddleboats, showers, restroom facilities, fenced playground and a concession stand . Photography and bird-watching are also excellant at this location. Bird-watchers, if you can download documents in Format, you may download a Florida Birds Checklist courtesy of The Florida Audubon Society.
The Chipola River, Florida’s largest tributary, is a gift to Jackson County, providing an abundance of recreational activities and scenic views. Residents enjoys fishing and canoeing along the cool waters, while divers and snorkelers spend hours searc
hing for ancient treasures hidden beneath the surface. Children of all ages go tubing and swimming. Hunting and camping along the banks of the river are also popular pastimes.
The confluence of Marshall and Cowarts creeks forms the start of the Chipola River in north central Jackson County, which meanders south and establishes the eastern boundary of the city of Marianna. More than any other county in Florida, Jackson County is home to a bounty of springs, one of the largest and most popular being the Blue Spring, which contributes 122 million gallons of fresh water to the Chipola River each day. Thirty-three other first-magnitude springs also are tributaries to this beautiful river, which issues into the Apalachicola River, by flow, the largest river in the state.
People have been coming to this spot for generations, using it for everything from a home to a hiding place.
As a relief from the hot Florida sun, the temperature drops at the entrance and cool air wraps around the body as a faint, orange light hits the eyes. It’s dark but inviting, strange but intriguing. Small puddles of water dot the floor, and the eyes dart across the dark surroundings.
Located in Florida Caverns State Park, the Florida Cavern Tour Cave is the only cave of its kind in Florida. The state park, three miles north of Marianna, has the only tour cave in Florida’s 159 state parks.
Rock formations that take names such as stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone look like icicles made of rock or even stone sculptures created by a world-renowned artist. Thousands of people come to the park each year to see the cave.
With its verdant, green rolling hills and majestic, hundred-year-old live oak trees, Jackson County is offers the perfect landscape for outstanding golf courses. No matter what your handicap, Jackson County has the perfect course, including one offering 18-holes and one with 9-holes.
The largest of the two, Indian Springs Golf Club, is located in Indian Springs, just off U.S. 90 east of Marianna. This challenging course offers yardages of 5,235, 5,961, 6,558 and 7,013 from the red, gold, white and blue tees, respectively. The distances range from the shortest, hole number 13, which is between 106 and 150 yards, depending on the tee used, to the longest, hole number 1, which is between 487 and 603 yards. The par for this challenging course is 72.
Merritt’s Millpond, a nationally recognized redear sunfish fishery, is fed by Jackson County’s Blue Springs, a collection of springs popular with cave divers, swimmers and families seeking cool salvation from Florida’s hot summer sun. The springs stay at a constant 70 degrees year-round. Jackson County leases the springs from the state, and is dedicated to making the springs one of the county’s great attractions.
The 202-acre millpond has produced seven state record and two world record redear sunfish. Merritt’s Millpond is unique, having incredibly clear and hard water, which supports a large population of snails, a favorite treat for redear sunfish, among numerous other fish. Sport fishing is a lucrative business in Jackson County.
In the late 1800s, the Blue Springs were impounded in order to build and operate a grist mill. The mill created a reservoir—the seven-kilometer-long Merrit’s Millpond. At one time, Florida Public Utilities powered a small electric generated plant by harvested the energy of the water in the area, where the millpond dam is now located.
Along the edge of Lake Seminole, where the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers converge, is Three Rivers State Park. Pine and hardwoods mix in this area of Florida, nestled close to the southwest Georgia border. The 682-acre park occupies two miles of shoreline along the lake, and is a perfect place for fishing, boating, hiking and relaxing.
Fox squirrels, white-tailed deer and gray foxes roam the wilderness, while stately magnolias, dogwood, pines, and oak shade the numerous trails in the park. Full-facility campgrounds and modern cabins are also available for overnight stays.
Rolling hills and ravines, a special topography for Florida, dominate the area’s environment, and is reminiscent of the Appalachian Mountains, with high pineland communities and hardwood hammocks.
One of the best times to visit the park is in spring, as bright and beautiful wildflowers bloom along the various trails. Violets and trillium can be found covering the lush, green forest floor, while redbud, dogwood and wild plum trees are alight with blooms. Winter is the perfect time of year for bird-watchers as migratory waterfowl rest on Lake Seminole and songbirds fill the trees.
Fishing is probably the most popular activity at the park, as Lake Seminole is known for being one of the best sites in the country for freshwater fishing. A fishing pier is located on the northwest corner of the park with a boat ramp and dock for those visitors with watercraft.