Ichetucknee State Park is a beautiful place to spend the day. It is a smaller park by comparison to some of the others and the only real attraction is the tubing down the Ichetucknee River. For our first adventure in the RV we decided to take the entire family tubing for the weekend. There are a few places to camp in the area and the one we came across first was a private campground called (funny enough) Ichetucknee Campground which is about a mile from the State Park’s North entrance. They only allow a limited number of people in the park each day and if you do not get there first thing in the morning you may not be allowed to come in at all. The fee is pretty steep at $5 per person. They have everyone come into a special entrance in the morning, let out all the passengers, drive to the South Entrance and park. They have shuttles to return you to the tubing area. You can picnik, walk the nature trails or just enjoy the peace and quiet.
The campground was an experience. We got in after dark on Friday evening. The RV drove pretty well on the way down. The little campground is located off a dirt road and could use a little repair. Each of the slots were back-in only so it took a little bit of time and some help from the kids to get into our assigned area. We also learned that most of the private campgrounds require cash only. They had a tavern with video games, pool tables, bathrooms, public showers in the back and there is a tubing vendor opened until late in the evening right next door. They helped us get the tubes tied to the top of our minivan so that we could get an early start. They offer FREE WIFI for patrons, a dump station, etc. Each of the sites have water, electric, and a picnic table. Our fellow campers were nice but the road, again, really could use some improvements.
We got up early on Saturday morning, mom elected to stay behind with the dogs, and piled into the minivan. We first went directly to the North Entrance by 7:30 but was turned around and sent to a special “tubing entrance”. We got in line waiting for them to open up. We were expecting a lot of people but for some reason there were not a whole line of people waiting. The morning was really nice. Once we paid our $5 per head and we were told that the driver will have to drop everyone off with tubes and drive around to the South entrance where a shuttle will be waiting to ferry them back.
Once, I finally came back to join the group we all trudged down the trail to the entrance where you get into the springs to begin our journey. The kids opted for a regular inner tube but I got a little inflatable boat. We tied onto each other and set off. My son was in the lead and agreed to try out our new waterproof video camera. Floating down the river was a very pleasant experience on a warm day. There are some large spiders in the trees during the first half of the trip and there were quite a few people going with us.
At the halfway point you can get out, have a meal, warm up and leave. Or, you can try it again and go down the last hour of the journey. The second part of the springs is a little bit wider in spaces with more sunshine. We even saw a bunch of fish jumping up all around us. The water is cold but clear and for me it was kind of relaxing. The second landing area was much better than the middle point. But we were tired and decided to call it a day so we headed back to the campground.
Here are some pictures we took while in the campground and state park area:
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Ichetucknee Springs State Park
12087 S.W. U.S. 27
Fort White, Florida 32038
The park is open year round 8:00 a.m.; different entrances close at the following times:
North Entrance closes 1/2 hour before sunset or as posted at the Entrance Station.
South Entrance closes at sunset or as posted at the Entrance Station.
$6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle. No river use.
$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.
$4.00 Motorcycle Fee (one or two people).
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
River Use Fees
$5.00 per person: canoeing.
$5.00 per person, tubing from North Entrance-Summer Season (Begins the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day). Children 5 and under are free.
$5.00 per person, tubing from South Entrance-Summer Season (Begins the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day). Children 5 and under are free.
$6.00 per group of 2-8 people, tubing from South Entrance-Off-Season (Begins the Tuesday after Labor Day thru the Friday before Memorial Day).
Ichetucknee Springs Campground
245 SW BRECKENRIDGE LN
FORT WHITE, FL 32038
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