Situated near High Springs in Gilchrist County and along the Santa Fe River, the officially named “Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park” is home to a few natural pools. The largest and most popular collection is the Gilchrist Blue Spring, but the 250-acre park has a lot more to offer.
Natural Warm Springs
The spring pumps roughly 44 gallons of pure natural water in the state park daily. The main spring is the Gilchrist Blue, which has a 20-foot deep vent and many shallow areas around it that are ideal for families to use.
The spring water temperature is 72℉ year-round, and it sustains some of Florida’s most incredible natural environments, including animal species like turtles and fish. A quarter-mile boardwalk goes through the water areas and makes for a pleasant scenic forest stroll on the Santa Fe River.
The swimming area gets a lot of visitors, especially during holidays and weekends. The best time to go is during the weekday mornings. There are a few other springs, including Naked Spring, Little Blue Spring, Johnson Spring, and Kiefer Spring; not all suitable for swimming, but they make for great photography backdrops.
With clear azure waters and varying depths, this natural pool is fantastic for swimming, snorkeling, wading, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. Visitors are welcome to bring their equipment, but Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures by the ranger station rents them on-site.
Pick up the gear by the boardwalk near the primary swimming area. Other popular activities in the park are hiking, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, picnicking, and geocaching.
There are 23 campsites in the park near the springs, 16 of which are equipped with 30-amp hookups for RVs or tents. The ruminating seven are for tent camping only. Campground amenities include bathrooms, picnic tables, ground grills, and concessions. Reservations for camping can be made online or by calling the state park line at 800-326-3521.
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is in northern Florida and about six miles away from the town of High Springs. Ride west on NW 182nd Ave from US 27 south of town. Keep traveling west for 4.5 miles to the park gate on the right. The ranger station is next to the spring and parking area.
Address: 7450 NE 60th St, High Springs, Florida 32643
Hours: 8 am to sunset