You can walk or drive on the levee surrounding the Hickory Mound Impoundment to view green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, northern pintail, gadwall, mallard, American wigeon, northern shoveler, black duck, canvasback, redhead, ring-necked duck, lesser and greater scaup, common goldeneye, bufflehead, and hooded and red-breasted merganser. Snow geese and swans occasionally overwinter. There are many raptors during various seasons of the year, including American swallow-tailed and Mississippi kites, bald eagles, and ospreys. Wading birds are usually present, and alligators spend their time basking on warm days year-round.
St. Marks Lighthouse is a unique refuge established in 1931 to provide wintering habitat for migratory birds. It is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It encompasses 68,000 acres spread out between Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties along the Gulf Coast of northwest Florida. The refuge includes coastal marshes, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries of seven north Florida rivers, and is home to a diverse community of plant and animal life. The refuge also has strong ties to a rich cultural past, and is home to the St. Marks Lighthouse, which was built in 1832 and is still in use today.
The crystalline Ichetucknee River flows six miles through shaded hammocks and wetlands before it joins the Santa Fe River. In 1972, the head spring of the river was declared a National Natural Landmark by the U. S. Department of the Interior. From the end of May until early September, tubing down the river is the premier activity in the area. In addition to tubing, visitors can enjoy picnicking, snorkeling, scuba diving, canoeing, swimming, hiking, and wildlife viewing. White-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks and great blue herons can be seen from the river. Picnic areas, equipped with tables and grills, are available throughout the park. A full-service concession offers food, refreshments, and outdoor products from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Tubes plus snorkeling and diving equipment can be rented from private vendors outside the park. The springs are located four miles northwest of Fort White, off State Roads 47 and 238.
The many different flags welcoming visitors to San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park demonstrate the colorful history of this site, from the first Spanish explorers to the present day. The history of this National Landmark began in 1528 when Panfilo de Narvaez arrived in the area with 300 men; however, the first fort was not built until 1679. Andrew Jackson occupied the fort for a brief time in the early 1800s. The museum at the park displays pottery and tools unearthed near the original fort and explains the history of the San Marcos site. A self-guided trail is open to visitors and guided tours are available with two weeks advance notice. The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday through Monday, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. The park is located in St. Marks, off State Road 363, on Old Fort Road.
As winter quickly becomes a distant memory, numerous varieties of spring wild flowers are starting to show their colors at Ochlockonee River State Park. Among these flowers are several species of rare orchids. The many different species of flowering plants in the open vistas of this beautiful park are a result of many years of prescribed burning. In our many creeks and rivers, crappie (locally known as speckled perch) and largemouth bass will be spawning. This is a great opportunity to catch these species, along with the salt water species in the gulf. If you enjoy birding- wild turkeys, red-cockaded Woodpeckers and many other species can be viewed. This is an excellent time of the year to canoe our many rivers and creeks
World's largest Moon Pie will be unveiled, as well as the new Moon Pie flavor, at this years 12th Annual Florida State Bluegrass Festival & Chili Cookoff. Some of the bands performing are; Blue Highway, Mountain Heart, Little Roy & Lizzy, Florida State Bluegrass Band, High Cotton, Delta Reign, Acouand The Roys!! A whole weekend of music and fun, April 3-5, 2014 at Forest Capital State Park in Perry, FL. Less than a mile from our KOA campground!! Go to www.floridastatebluegrass.com for more info, then book your reservations at our KOA to enjoy the bluegrass weekend.