Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is the newest addition to Florida State Parks!
The park contains a collection of natural springs, including a large second magnitude spring that produces an average of 44 million gallons of water per day. This spring, known as Gilchrist Blue, has outstanding water clarity and discharges water through a shallow spring run about one-quarter mile to the Santa Fe River. The other named springs on-site are Little Blue Spring, Naked Spring, Kiefer Spring and Johnson Spring.
The most significant ecological habitats within the park include the spring run stream and floodplain communities. The main spring run is renowned for its support of a diversity of wildlife species including turtles, fish and invertebrates.
Paddling, snorkeling and swimming are all popular at the main springhead and spring run. Pavilions are available and a concession stand provides food and beverage service. Other popular activities include hiking, nature study and picnicking.
We didn't stay here but enjoyed it as a day use facility. The spring is MAGNIFICENT! We swam, floated, dove, and played in the sand. The Swimming area around the spring was nice and sandy and graded, not just rocky and/or deep some of the other near by springs. There were pavilions and picnic tables spread out around the swimming area, there was some shade, and a little beach area to throw a blanket on and tan.
As the newest acquisition of FL State Parks, there were some things that need to be brought up to par. Getting down to the spring was a bit haphazard as the terraced steps had been washed out, leaving you to have to step over exposed retainer boards. The bathhouse had been cleaned and touched up, but were still pretty dilapidated. We drove through to check out the camp ground, it is pretty small but well shaded. There currently isn't a Dump station on site.
The State Park web site: Indicates that they are Planning for Amenity upgrades.https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/ruth-b-kirby-gilchrist-blue-springs-state-park