Manatee Springs State Park

Manatee Springs State Park is a pretty good place to visit in the winter and early spring months. You can see the visiting manatees in the springs during the late afternoon or early morning especially when the weather is a little cooler. You can see plenty of birds from little finches, cardinals, red-headed woodpeckers, and the ever-present buzzards. We liked the little family of 6 or 7 deer that was wandering around the entire park while we were there. They were not shy and thought that the camping area, picnic area, and all the trails were their domain and we were just visiting. (That is true.) It was nice to be able to see them every late afternoon as they grazed around the Hickory campsite area. The only bad thing I really have to say about the park is their bathroom/shower facilities are extremely outdated. While we were there they had to have the sewers pumped out. We heard from the ranger that the Magnolia 1 shower was scheduled for repair but when we inquired about the Hickory camping area and it’s very limited hot water supply we were told that he would have someone look at it. But he seems to think that 3 people in a 3 person shower room should run out of hot water quickly. The shower stalls themselves are extremely cramped and have shower curtains that were not wide enough so there was little to no privacy. We decided to try the shower room in the Magnolia 2 camping area. It was pretty good as it was newer, the shower curtains actually covered the stalls and the hot water lasted a lot longer. The problem was there were only 2 stalls and neither one is handicapped equipped.

We stayed here two weeks and enjoyed our time for the most part. We do caution other visitors that Virgin Mobile Service only gets 1 bar and that is sporadic at best. The showers are short on hot water and the wildlife is fairly friendly. But please don’t feed them as they really don’t need any more encouragement. But there is a peacefulness there, lots of shade, a cool spring to jump in (during the summer), trails to walk, and a boardwalk and pier to fish from. We took almost 500 pictures while we were there. We were surprised that this park didn’t have one of those “Friends Of” organizations. Most of the parks that we have visited that do have them seem to be kept in better repair. One other note: the concession stand next the springs is only opened during the summer season. For a number of visitors, we saw every single day of the cold spell, the divers visiting the caves, etc. you would think they would take advantage of that and have a little snack bar thing happening with hot beverages and little snacks while you watch the manatees play. Just a thought!

The town of Chiefland looks to be a little worn around the edges but has all the amenities as well as our favorite, Walmart Supercenter. And per the local news site, they should have their own hospital by October 2014. This has been a long time coming. Everyone in the tri-county area of Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie counties usually have to go to Gainesville for any medical emergency. There is only 1 coin laundry in the whole town and it is located next to an RV park that was pretty full. The laundromat is a little run down as well. We had to visit it 3 times during our stay as the park doesn’t have laundry facilities. Most of the machines are in working order and for $1.50 per regular washer load and $1 for about 24 minutes drying time it’s not too bad. We do suggest that you keep a very close eye on your clothes, money and whatever else you bring with you to do your laundry. On our very last visit, someone walked away with our new bag of laundry soap and dryer sheets. Thank goodness mom had already started the washers and kept her little coin purse in her pocket. Here are some pictures we took while we were there:

Manatee Springs State Park
11650 NW 115TH ST
Chiefland, FL 32626

Admission Fee:

$6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in the vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

Free with regular admission fees per person, plus tax.
Diving: spring, open water and cave diving. All divers are required to register with the office prior to diving. All divers must be registered by 3:00 p.m. and out of the water and checked out (c-cards returned) by 5:00 p.m.

Pavilion Rental Fee:

$35.00 per day plus tax. There are six picnic tables at each pavilion. Water and electricity are available at each pavilion and is included in the rental fee.

Camping Fee:

$20.00 per night, plus tax. Includes water and electricity. Florida residents who are 65 years of age or older or who hold a social security disability award certificate or a 100 percent disability award certificate from the Federal Government are permitted to receive a 50 percent discount on current base campsite fees. Proof of eligibility

Organized Youth and Adult Group


$1.00 per youth, per night.
$5.00 per adult/chaperone, per night.

RV Campsites (61)

15 Back-in 30amp 2
25 Back-in 30amp 13
25 Pull-through 30amp 1
25 Pull-through 50amp 1
30 Back-in 30amp 11
35 Back-in 30amp 22
35 Pull-through 30amp 1
40 Back-in 30amp 7
40 Pull-through 30amp 2
40 Pull-through 50amp 1

Diving, picnic, trail hiking, bike riding, swimming, canoeing and kayaking after March 31st and before October, Fishing off the boardwalk or at the end of the pier.

Coin Laundry

Market Place Laundry
314 NW 11th Ave
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 493-1151


Manatee Jiffy
8051 115th Street
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 493-4613

13754 U.S. 19
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 490-6468

607 S. Main St
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 490-4175

Murphy USA
2126 N Young Blvd
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 493-0902


Walmart Supercenter
2201 N Young Blvd
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 493-0758

2202 N Young Blvd
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 493-0839


R&L Mobile Home & RV Supplies
14237 U.S. 19
Chiefland, FL 32626
(352) 490-9900


Bar-B-Q Bill’s
1901 N Young Blvd
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 493-4444

1415 N Young Blvd
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 493-1700

Burger House
15 Rogers Blvd
Chiefland, Fl 32626

Hardee’s/Red Burrito
1024 N Young Blvd
Chiefland, Fl 32626

2202 N Young Blvd
Chiefland, FL 32626

Taco Bell
2025 N Young Blvd
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 493-0012

2209 N Young Blvd
Chiefland, FL 32626
(352) 490-9222

Burger King
1007 NW 21st Ct
Chiefland, Fl 32626
(352) 493-0720


North Florida Regional Medical Center
6500 W. Newberry Rd
Gainesville, FL 32605
(352) 333-4000

Shands Hospital at University of Fl
1600 SW Archer Rd
Gainesville, FL 32610
(352) 265-0111

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