When the weather is scorching hot, the pool water is lukewarm and even the ocean water just isn’t refreshing, we are so lucky to have the consistently cool 72 degree springs sprinkled all around us. A lesser known spring just under two hours from Jacksonville, in High Springs, Florida is Poe Springs County Park. Nestled near Ginnie Springs and Gilchrist Blue Springs, Poe Springs is worth a visit!
We arrived midafternoon during the week and had no problem getting into the well maintained county park. The parking lot is large and paved with plenty of spaces. To access Poe Springs from the parking lot there is roughly a ten minute nature walk on a paved path and then a long, beautiful, partially shaded wood boardwalk. The natural setting of the boardwalk is great for bird and other wildlife watching. While we were on the boardwalk leaving we saw an owl in a cypress tree.
Once you reach the springs area from the boardwalk there are picnic tables, pavilions, as well as plenty of space to lay a picnic blanket. The swimming area is surrounded by stairs that lead into the water. There are plenty of shallow swimming areas for younger children at Poe Springs. The short 75 foot spring run leads to the tannic Santa Fe River. My daughter and I had so much fun using our tubes on the fast run, there were small rapids that were so fun to float on towards the river.
Poe Springs has Great Wildlife Viewing
Poe Springs is more blue-green than other Florida springs. The water is clear and the spring head is the largest in Alachua County. While it varies daily it is estimated that Poe Springs pumps out 45,000,000 gallons of water a day. The spring vent is on the south side of the swimming hole, and 18.7 feet deep.
There were fish and turtles swimming all over, especially near the spring head. Don’t forget to pack the snorkels and wear water shoes. The stairs leading into the water are slippery. We brought our tubes and noodles and spent most of the day in the water splashing around.
Plan to Spend the Day
Within the park there are restrooms near the parking lot and also near the spring. There was a food truck by the spring on our visit. They had hot dogs and ice cold drinks which were perfect after swimming for hours. We loved visiting Poe Springs County Park. The natural setting, with the spring set back down the nature trail was surprising and gorgeous. The swimming hole is surrounded by cypress trees and lush Florida landscape. It was quiet and enjoyable. We will definitely visit again soon!
Poe Springs County Park is $6 per car from May to September and open 8am to 8pm. October through April there is no charge and the hours are 8am to 5pm. The trail to the springs area is stroller and wagon friendly. I definitely recommend a wagon if you are bringing lunch and tubes. The park does close when it reaches capacity, which is 100 people. There is also a separate boat ramp for the Santa Fe River located in the park. It makes the perfect day trip from Jacksonville, and is also an easy stop to add on if you’re planning to visit Gainesville for the day.
If you’re interested in learning more about springs in Florida, we recommend Touring the Springs of Florida: A Guide to the State’s Best Springs. It’s a great resource for day trips that your family is sure to love!
Jillian Gishler is a New Englander at heart. Born in Jacksonville Beach, she grew up in Massachusetts but was beckoned back to Florida by Mickey Mouse for a Disney World Internship. She returned to the beach in 2005 after graduating from Florida State. Ten years ago she opened her handmade & vintage collective shop, Sew Vicious, in Neptune Beach. Jillian raises chickens, is a passionate gardener, a DIYer, a thrift store junkie, a deal loving mama, and has several inspirational travel journals available on Amazon. She leads her daughters Girl Scout Troop, teaches sewing at a local Montessori School, and is a Parents Who Lead Alumni. She loves surprising her husband and daughters with mini-vacations around the Sunshine State.