The Suwanee River has its source in the dank
waters of the Okeefenokee Swamp, located
mostly in Georgia, but also in North Florida.
The river flows out of Georgia after flowing
through Big Water and Minnie Lakes (in the
middle of the swamp) and then takes a winding
route through the central-north part of
Florida, before widening about 35 miles from
its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. The estuary
is the location of the Lower Suwanee National
suggest leaving the Gulf Coast for a short
detour into the Florida interior, following
the path of the river to several fine state
parks and recreation areas, all located
within a few miles of the town of Live Oak,
and to Manatee Springs State Park which is closer to the coast near the town of Chiefland.
You won't be able to follow
the river precisely, as there is no road
which twists and bends as does the river, but
you can cut cross-country between the parks
to get a feel for the life of the river as it
flows slowly toward the gulf.
Suwanee National Wildlife Refuge
on the coast, this refuge is about ten miles
northwest of Cedar Key and is found by taking
County Road 347, about 6.5 miles northeast of
the junction with CR 326. The refuge is
located along the southeast bank of the
river. There is a hunting season in the
region, and you should check with the ranger
about when and where hunting season and areas
where hunting is permitted.
3.5-mile trail network leads into the forest,
using old forest roads. Here, you have a good
chance of seeing armadillos, deer, raccoons,
and wild hogs, and, less frequently, bobcats.
This area is also known for its abundant
display of spring wildflowers, including
glades lobelia (some portions of the refuge
are very damp), duck potato, purple flag, and
Another old forest road,
suitable for hiking, is found off County Road
347, four miles north of the first trailhead.
This is another damp forest area, with 2.5
miles of piney trail, leading to a cable gate
where you turn left for more wildflowers.