SUWANNEE RIVER STATE PARK
About a quarter mile past the ranger station, a high bluff overlooks the spot where the Withlacoochee River joins the Suwannee River on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. Vestiges of history in the park show how important the Suwannee River was to Florida history. Along the river are long mounds of earthworks built during the Civil War to guard against incursions by Union Navy gunboats. Other remnants from the past include one of the state?s oldest cemeteries, and a paddle?wheel shaft from a 19th century steamboat. Five trails, ranging from a quarter mile to 18 miles, loop through surrounding woodlands and provide panoramic views of the rivers. Other activities include fishing, picnicking, and canoeing; for overnight stays, the park has a full?facility campground and cabins. Located 13 miles west of Live Oak, off U.S. 90.
The river hums with echoes of history ?of the booming days of plantations and logging empires, of the high times of paddle-wheel boats steaming up and down the river, of the long disorientation after the Civil War, and of the quiet persistence of the strong pioneers who lived off this land and profited from the rivers.
South of the junction of the rivers, an earthwork (an earthen embankment used as a military fortification) was constructed by the Confederates during the Civil War. Its main purpose was to protect the railroad bridge across the Suwannee. Essential supplies, such as beef, salt, and sugar needed to feed the Confederate armies, were shipped by rail to Georgia. Union troops dispatched from Jacksonville to capture the bridge were turned back near Olustee in a hard-fought battle on Feb. 20, 1864. The town of Columbus stood in the vicinity of the earthworks. The remains of the Columbus Cemetery, believed to be one of the oldest cemeteries of Florida, are within the park. Columbus had its heyday and prospered from its railroad bridge, ferry landing, and a large sawmill. Steamboats were a common sight on the Suwannee and Withlacoochee. Near the river?s junction stood the elegant house which belonged to George F. Drew, the operator of the sawmill, who became governor in 1876.
The park has five full service cabins which sleep 6 and include a dishwasher, fireplace and large screened porch. Please note that pets are not allowed in the cabins. Cabin Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance through Reserve America online or calling 1-866 I CAMP FL (1-866-422-6735) or 1-800-326-3521.
Full Facility Camping
Picnic tables, electric, and a grill are provided at all 30 campsites located in the family campground. A restroom with hot showers is within close proximity. Inquire at the ranger station for the availability of firewood and ice. Pets are allowed in the campground. See our Official Pet Policy for more information.
Two youth tent camping areas for use by organized, non-profit youth groups are available. Youth Camping fees are $4.00 for both adults and youth.
The campground at Suwannee River State Park has 31 campsites available through the Reserve America system. They can accommodate RV type campers and tent campers as most sites depending upon size of each camping rig. Each site is equipped with electrical hookups (20 & 30 Amps), water, picnic table, and ground grill fire ring. There is a dump station located within the campground facility. All campers must register at the Ranger Station.
Boat ramps are available for various watercrafts, including boats, canoes, and kayaks. Rental of watercraft is not available at the park.
Canoeing & Kayaking
Both upper portions of the Suwannee River Canoe Trail and the Withlacoochee River Canoe Trail begin in Georgia and end at the park. The lower Suwannee River Canoe Trail begins at the park and ends at the Gulf of Mexico.
Visitors can enjoy fishing along the bank of the Suwannee River. Catches of catfish, bass, and panfish reward the persistent angler. A Florida freshwater fishing license is required for person?s 16 years of age and older.