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Reported: November 2019

Lower Suwannee River...

Passing Large Springs to the Gulf of Mexico

Heading downstream on the Lower Suwannee, wind and tide become key factors. As the Suwannee widens nearing the Gulf, there are more and bigger motorboats. Where the river meets the Gulf is also the southern end of the Big Bend Paddling Trail, 105 miles N.W. along the coastline to the Aucilla River. In this Region of the Suwannee, most recreational paddling is done from one of the Spring Parks, typically along the shoreline for wind protection and better scenery. Below Fowlers Bluff to the Gulf is what we call "big water" paddling - long, open distances, best suited for sea kayaks. (Map and photos below.)

paddle Suwannee River, kayak, canoe

Paddling Map
Suwannee River

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Location: Branford to the Gulf of Mexico
Difficulty Easy to Difficult (wind and tide are key)
Tidal: Yes, more approaching the Gulf
Launch points: Ivey Memorial Park (Branford), Hart Springs, Otter Sprints, Fanning Springs, Fowlers Bluff, Anderson Landing (Suwannee), more (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Hart Springs, Manatee Springs, Fanning Springs


Anderson's Outdoor Adventures (Manatee Springs, rentals, tours, shuttle)

Suwannee Guides & Outfitter (Suwannee; rentals, tours, shuttle)

Support and Advocacy:

Friends of Manatee and Fanning Springs State Parks

Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges

See Overview page for all Suwannee River Regions.

Lower Suwannee River - Comments and Photos

Above Branford, limestone shallows discourage large motorboats - and the reason why Branford was once the steamboat capital of the River. Downstream, the clear, spring-feed Santa Fe River enters, creating another beautiful spot along the River, which at this point is consistently deep and wide, a popular weekend rendezvous for motorboats.

Branford FL, Ivey Memorial Park (mile 76)

Ivey Memorial Park (no fee) off US 27 in Branford has two boat ramps - the second is the better choice for paddle craft, with a sandy launch area to the side. At normal water levels, the River varies between about 250' and 325' across for about 10 miles downstream to its confluence with the Santa Fe River. The Park has paved parking, porta-potties, picnicking, a dock, and a boardwalk around Branford Spring. Swimming in the spring when the water is high enough.

Santa Fe River by Suwannee (mile 66), Hard Sand Launch

Located on the beautiful, spring-feed Santa Fe River, about 200 yards off the Suwannee. Unpaved, hard sand and grass, perfect for hand launch, or for take-out after trips down the Santa Fe. Not so perfect for large powerboats. Scenic, cypress-lined riverbanks. Access is off US 129, east and south of Branford; plenty of unimproved parking, no facilities. This is a low lying area and appears that it may be flooded at high water.

Hurst Landing Boat Ramp (mile 59.6)

Hurst Landing Boat Ramp (also called Hirsh Landing), located on the north side of the river in a residential area in Branford (Hatch Bend) along SE Foster Drive. The wide ramp with sandy launch is between two homes, parking is across the street.

Rock Bluff Boat Ramp (mile 56.6)

Rock Bluff Boat Ramp on the south side of the river at the CR30 bridge in Bell, FL (across from J. H. Anderson, Jr. Memorial Park). Parking, picnic pavilion, dock. Dixie County facility, no fee.

Gornto Spring Boat Ramp (mile 55)

Gornto Springs is a Dixie County Park on the north side of the river in Old Town, off CR 353. A sandy beach next to the public boat ramp serves as a hand launch area. In addition to the spring and launch, the park has picnicking and restrooms.

Hart Springs Park Boat Ramp (mile 43.1)

Hart Springs Park Boat Ramp on the south side of the river in Bell, FL, is located along SW 90 Avenue about 1/4 mile from the Park. There are two ramps separated by a dock. A sandy beach down a short slope near the ramps appears to be a good hand launch spot.

Fanning Springs

Joe Anderson Park Boat Ramp, on the north side of the river near the US 19/98 bridge in Old Town, FL, is across the river from Fanning Springs State Park. Joe Anderson Park has two boat ramps, separated by a dock, picnic, and ample parking. Fanning Springs State Park (Park fee applies) also has one large spring, other smaller springs, parking, restrooms, camping, picnicking, concession and restaurant, and nature trails.

Joe Anderson Park Boat Ramp (mile 34.2)

Fanning Springs State Park

Yellow Jacket Resort Boat Ramp (mile 22.7)

Located on the north side of the river along CR 349 about 10 miles west of Old Town. The ramp and parking area are operated as a private/public partnership with no fee. The resort offers RV and tent camping, cabins, and boat rentals, plus a pool and washroom/showers.

Munden Creek Boat Ramp (mile 7.6)

Located just before the town of Suwannee, in a neighborhood off SE 374 Street. Pretty spring feeds creek at launch, about 1/2 mile to the River. No fee.

Town of Suwannee

Located about 4 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and popular for fishing, Suwannee, FL is a small, unincorporated town (pop. 300) at the end of CR 349. The town is encompassed by the the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, 54,000 acres that serves to protect the natural coastline and both sides of the lower Suwannee River. The launches here are not directly on the River, but rather on creeks and canals that lead to the River and Gulf.

Anderson Landing (mile 3.9)

On Demory Creek (also called Demory Creek Boat Ramp) at SE 200 St. No fee.

McKinney Landing

A floating dock with a launch platform is located at the Suwannee Community Center, SE 199 St. on Salt Creek. No fee.

Suwannee River Lower Region... Resources

Fanning Springs State Park

Manatee Springs State Park

SRWMD River Map (.pdf, 2 pages) - shows partnership lands and key features. Useful with Google map above.

Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge - 54,000 acres, established to protect the high water quality of the Suwannee River.

Go to Suwannee River Overview, or to Upper River Region or Middle River Region


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