Lake City: freshwater recreation capital of America Contact UsVisitor ServicesHome
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Water Places Ichetucknee Springs River | Santa Fe RiverOcean Pond | Parks | Swimming Pools
In it, on it, under it - if it has to do with water, Lake City is where you want to be. Lake City and Columbia County are the hub for the nation's most outstanding canoeing, tubing and diving venues. Being the best has earned this area the title "Freshwater Recreation Capital of America".
Here's why Florida's Gateway City can make this claim: More than 100 springs are located within a 50 mile radius of Lake City, including world-famous Ichetucknee Springs and the cave diving mecca of Ginnie Springs.

Columbia County is bordered by the scenic Santa Fe River on the south and the legendary Suwannee River on the northern border. Further establishing the area as a freshwater haven are dozens of lakes within the borders of Lake City, along with Olustee Beach at Ocean Pond, and inside the Osceola National Forest.

In addition to canoeing, tubing and diving, the area's rivers and lakes provide excellent opportunities for fishing, recreational boating, skiing, jet skiing, bird watching and camping.

diver
  Diving at Ginnie Springs

The seven-mile long Ichetucknee Springs River is the nation's most pristine waterway with depths reaching up to 40 feet. The river is fed by nine named springs. Ichetucknee is a first magnitude spring discharging more than 240 million gallons of crystal clear water into the river daily at a constant 72 degrees. The river is a favorite for tubing enthusiasts with more than 200,000 visitors annually.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park: Tubing and canoeing. Canoes and tubes are available from vendors outside the park. Tubes generally rent for $3 to $5 per day. Several options are available for length of tube run. South entrance is open year-round (cost is $3.2S per vehicle from between Memorial Day and Labor Day, otherwise $2.00) . The north entrance is open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day (cost is $4.25 per vehicle-) No food, beverages or tobacco allowed on river. Contact the park at (386) 497-2511, Rt. 2, Box 108, Fort White, FL 32308

The Santa Fe River, which covers a total distance of 60 miles, is an idyllic setting for a large variety of water adventures, including fishing, recreational boating and canoeing.

Ginnie Springs: Canoe, tube, snorkeling rentals. Full service diver center and air station. Dive equipment rentals. Diving instruction. Bathhouses & Camping. Groups and individuals. Contact Rhonda Johnson, P (386) 454-2202, TF 1-800-874-BS71, F (386) 454-3201, 7300 N.E. Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children.

O'Leno State Park: Canoe rentals, camping and cabins are available. Swimming, canoeing, fishing and hiking are available. The park is adjacent to the Santa Fe River and has in excess of 6,000 acres. Admission is $3.25 per vehicle. Contact the park at (386) 454-1853 for availability of camping & cabins. Groups welcome. O'Leno State Park, Rt. 2, Box 1010, High Springs, FL 32643.

Santa Fe Canoe Outpost: Canoes, kayaks, floatation devices, paddles, maps and parking. Catering and lodging packages available. Groups & individuals. Contact Jim Wood, (386) 454-2050, (386) 454-2510, (riverise.com/canoe.htm), P.O. Box 592, High Springs, FL 32655.

Adventure Outpost: Outfitters and guide service. Rentals of canoes and kayaks. Catering available. Groups or individuals. Guided and unguided tours. Pre-selected packages of 1 1/2 to S hour trips are available. P (386) 454-0611, 815 N.W. Santa Fe Blvd., High Springs, FL 32643.

Nature Quest: Canoe and kayak guided river trips. Groups of 20 or more only. Aluminum canoes, ocean kayaks, lifejackets, paddles and lunch available. Contact Jim or Tere Free, P (386) 755-5252, F (386) 758-5821, P.O. Box 2999, Lake City, FL 32056-2999

On the northern boundary of Columbia County, the Suwannee River has the only Class 3 shoals in Florida .

American Canoe Adventures: Canoeing, kayaking and rafting on Suwannee River. Trips for individual or groups are available. Catering and lodging available. Whitewater rafting available depending on river height. Tent campground on site. Contact Wendell Hannum, p (386) 397-1309, TF 1-800-624-8081, 10315 S.E. 141st Blvd, White Springs, FL 32096.

Ocean Pond hosts more than 100,000 visitors annually. The two-mile wide lake has a shallow, sandy beach and has facilities for fishing, picnicking, hiking, restrooms, grills and sheltered tables. Ocean Pond is a favorite for boaters and for skiing enthusiasts. A public boat launch and a 50-site campground is also available. Ocean Pond is located within the Osceola National Forest and is just two miles away from the Olustee Battlefield Park, site of Florida's most important Civil War battle in 1864. The Olustee Battle Festival and Re-enactment is held annually in Lake City. The 1999 festival and re-enactment will be held the weekend of Feb. 12-14.

Ocean Pond: Boating, skiing, hiking, swimming, fishing, picnicking and camping are available. Admission is $2.00 per car. Camping $8.00 per site. Boat ramps is available. Contact at (386) 752-2577, P.O. Box 70, Olustee, Fl. 32070

In addition to the vast array of water adventures available near Lake City and Columbia County, the area also provides great opportunities to visit historic homes and museums, along with dozens of exciting antique shops.

Lake City and Columbia County are known as "Florida's Gateway." The county features more than 35 reasonably priced motels and 13 campgrounds.

Parks
Ichetucknee Springs State Park 386-497-2511
O’Leno State Park 386-454-1853

Full facility camping, picnic area, nature trail, swimming, youth camp

Peacock Springs Rec. Area 386-776-2194
River Rise Preserve 386-454-2009
Osecola National Forest 386-752-2577
Ginnie Springs 386-454-2202
Ocean Pond/Campground 386-752-2577
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Swimming Pools
Family Aquatic Center 602 West St. Johns St. 755-8195
Recreational swimming pool. Swimming instruction available. Annual memberships and daily swim fees.
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