Oakmont residents hankering for a cool summer getaway have a great option that’s a bit of a hidden treasure in north central Florida. It’s called Ichetucknee Springs State Park, and it’s only short drive from Oakmont and its hometown of Gainesville.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park preserves one of many beautiful freshwater springs abundant in this region of the Sunshine State. North central Florida rests above the Florida Aquifer, the state’s underground limestone “backbone” that filters its water supply. The Aquifer feeds and replenishes rivers, wetlands and lakes, and constantly bubbles to the surface as crystal-clear springs.
No more geography, we promise!
Instead, this geography ensures that Oakmont residents can access one of Florida’s unique natural resources. A state park since 1970, Ichetucknee Springs State Park also is a National Natural Landmark thanks to the historical significance of its springs. The site has been used for thousands of years and today is preserved as an outdoor recreational destination.
Here’s how to find, and enjoy, Ichetucknee Springs State Park.
Where it is
While it’s easy to reach Florida’s Atlantic or Gulf coast beaches from Oakmont — they’re both approximately a two-hour drive — Ichetucknee Springs State Park and its neighboring freshwater springs provide a closer and different option for watery fun.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is located less than a hour northwest of Oakmont. Leaving Oakmont, head west toward State Road 26 and follow it west to Newberry. At the intersection of State Road 26 with combined U.S. Highways 27 and 41, turn right and head north on 27/41.
Once you reach the town of High Springs, turn left and follow U.S. 27 northwest to Fort White. There, turn right on State Road 47 and head north. Look for Southwest Elim Church Road and turn left. Follow it to the park’s entrance. Or, click here for directions.
What to do
Oakmont boasts so many wonderful amenities that it might be difficult to convince yourself to leave! But new experiences are almost always worth the effort, and day trips are a fun way to explore the surrounding areas, if you’re a new Oakmont resident.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park won’t disappoint. Not only does it offer many different outdoor-recreational activities, its refreshing, 72-degree springs are the perfect summertime respite — because Florida summers are warm!
Once there, you have many choices. Ichetucknee Springs State Park offers three trails for hikers. Two are shorter while one is two miles long. Its longleaf pine, evergreen and hardwood forests are birdwatching territory — the park is on the Great Florida Birding Trail — and you get bonus points if you go birding while you hike.
Thanks to its springs, the park’s main attraction is its water sports — swimming, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding. And, you might not know Ichetucknee Springs State Park is one of the rare inland sites where you can go snorkeling and scuba diving. Check the park’s website for details.
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