State Parks

A Relaxing Weekend at Suwannee River State Park

John and I wanted to go someplace where we could relax and unwind maybe on a porch swing or rocking chair. We wanted to hear the peaceful sounds of wind blowing through the forest trees and birds singing in the distance and we were hoping for a decent view of nature from that front porch rocking chair. I took a chance that Suwannee River State Park might be just what I was looking for and it did not disappoint. The park is located in Suwannee County which is up in the northern part of rural Florida about an hour and a half east of Tallahassee and about the same travel time west of Jacksonville. The closest city to the park is Live Oak, Florida whose population is around 7,000 people so this really is a rural area away from the hustle and bustle.

I won’t lie to you, I am not a camping in nature type of person. I like nature and love to be surrounded by it but at the end of the day I want a hot shower and a cozy bed. When I booked the cabin I was somewhat concerned because the price was very reasonable for a cabin at only $100 per night plus tax, so my first thought was that maybe it was not going to be very equipped and that perhaps I should keep my expectations on the low side. I was pleasantly surprised to find a clean, spacious and fully equipped cabin with dishwasher, microwave, stove, oven, coffee pot and even a fire place.

This Park is a great spot for an extended family weekend. The cabins can sleep up to six people and are perfectly set up for outdoor grilling and family picnics and even has an outdoor shower and fire pit.

My brother and sister in law joined us at the park and brought their RV. They stayed for a week at the RV campsite located within the park which was just a short 3 minute walk from our cabin. The RV sites each have a picnic table and have all the hookups needed, water, sewer and electric and can accommodate all sizes of RV’s. Some of the sites are more difficult to back in to than others so if you have a larger RV, I would suggest calling the ranger station at (386) 362-2746 to book your reservation and have them assist you in assigning you a campsite location that would be more accessible for a large rig. Another thing that I need to point out is that there are a lot of tree roots so leveling can be a challenge. The RV camp area has restrooms and a bathhouse and I did see at least one washer and dryer.

A Wedding by the Suwannee River?

If you are planing to get married and you and your soon to be spouse are the outdoor type and are looking for an outdoor nature setting for your wedding then you should really check this place out. The park has a large party pavilion by the river specifically designed for larger gatherings like weddings and would be an ideal setting for a beautiful wedding in the woods. Surrounded by nature and within walking distance to the cabins and the RV campsite, your family members would be able to join you in your celebration at a relatively low cost.

Things to do at Suwanee River State Park

John and I are not very good at sitting still and we can only do the relaxing thing for a short time so we decided to take advantage of a few of the hiking trails in the park. Suwanee River State Park has six hiking trails ranging in distance from .25 miles to 12.5 miles. John and I did 5 of the six opting out of the 12.5 mile hike as we are just not in good enough shape to go that distance especially in 90 plus degree heat. The trails we did hike had beautiful views of the river and stopping points with markers and artifacts of the area’s history. Stagecoach Road, Columbus cemetery and a confederate earthwork are just some of the history sites that you will see while hiking the trails.

There is a lot of history here and at one time there was a town in this area called Columbus and the Columbus cemetery here in the State Park is one of the oldest known cemeteries in Florida.

A nice playground with nearby picnic tables and grills are perfect for families wanting a day trip picnic. The Playground area is a short walk from both the Cabin area site and the RV campground.

To get out and enjoy this beautiful river there is a boat ramp to launch your canoe or kayak but you have to bring your own as rentals are not available. There is however a canoe rental location on the main highway about a mile away from the park. There is no designated swimming area within the park however, we did get our feet wet and get cooled off while hiking the trail that goes by a spring called little Gem Spring. Several people on the trail had climbed down the bank to cool of in this refreshing and beautiful clear spring.

The four of us spent our evenings cooking out and enjoying quality time together and it was really nice to slow down and have the time to catch up. We made ourselves a couple of adult cocktails and hung out by the campfire and we even made Smores, which is something that I have not eaten since I was a kid in the girl scouts.

John and I visited Suwannee River State Park this past weekend in July one of the hottest months in Florida but ideally I think this would have been much more enjoyable in the fall or winter months when it is cooler and perhaps less bugs. The bugs weren’t too terrible but I would Recommend that if you do plan a trip here to be sure to remember to bring your Deep Woods Off.

The long weekend at the Suwannee River State Park was just what I needed to unwind and de-stress. No Traffic, no phone and no nightly news!

The Address to the Suwannee River State Park is 3631 201st Path Live Oak, Florida 32060 and the park is open 365 days a year. Fee to get in the state park is $5 per vehicle. Pets are not permitted in the cabins but are permitted within the park as long as they are on a leash.

For more information on florida State Parks visit floridastateparks.org

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