Unless you are from the area, you may not have heard of Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park before now! It is actually one of Florida’s newest state parks and it came to be in 2017.
It is one of the prettiest springs in Florida, but not many people other than locals know about it.
Everyone knows of the very popular [for a good reason] Ginnie Springs, but just 10 minutes down the road is Gilchrist Blue Springs!
You most likely even pass Gilchrist Blue Springs on your way to Ginnie Springs too!
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is one of our favorite State Parks In Florida! While it is on the smaller end, it is beautiful, has a campground, and is relaxed and a wonderful experience.
If you are looking for one of the Best Springs In Florida that is beautiful and less crowded than Ginnie Springs, you have come to the right place.
Gilchrist Blue Springs pumps out an average of 44 million gallons of water per day which is pretty crazy and cool!
We hope you enjoy Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park as much as we do!
Where Is Gilchrist Blue Springs?
Gilchrist Blue Springs is located in north Florida, near the town of High Springs about 6 miles away.
It is located about 10 minutes away from Ginnie Springs, so if you know the area or have visited Ginnie Springs before, this will give you a good gauge on where it is.
It is located about 40 minutes north west of Gainesville and about an hour south of the Florida-Georgia border along I75.
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is about 1/4 of a mile away from the Santa Fe River, a river which the springs in the State Park feed.
The Address is: 7450 NE 60th St High Springs FL 32643
How Much Does It Cost To Visit Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park?
Since Gilchrist Blue Springs is a State Park, the fee is actually more affordable than private springs such as Ginnie Springs [which is a steep $15/person!]
The fee for entry into Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is between $4-$6 per vehicle. They do not charge a per-person price, instead it is per car which is very affordable and something that we love!
Supporting our State Parks in Florida is important, and we are happy to visit Gilchrist Blue Springs any time!
What Time Does Gilchrist Blue Springs Open And Close?
Gilchrist Blue Springs is open from 8am to sunset 365 days a year.
That means if you are visiting Florida in winter, the park will close at 5:30pm. If you are visiting in summer, it will close at 8:30pm.
The time that Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park closes changes depending on what time the sun sets so keep this in mind when visiting this beautiful Florida hidden gem.
What Is The Water Temperature?
The water temperature at Gilchrist Blue Springs is a constant 72F/22C. The spring is 24 feet deep and you can swim above and around it.
As a Floridian, this is quite cold, but it isn’t too bad if you are on a tube or going in and out of the spring itself or paddling in a boat.
How Many Springs Are In Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park?
There are actually a few springs in Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park!
The main spring that you see in all of the photos is Gilchrist Blue Spring.
There are other springs on-site that are named and they are Little Blue Spring, Naked Spring, Kiefer Spring, and Johnson Spring.
These secondary springs may or may not be open, depending on the time of year or if construction or rehabilitation work is being done on them.
The main spring you want to see is Gilchrist Blue Spring which is where you can swim.
Can You Tube At Gilchrist Blue Springs?
You can tube at Gilchrist Blue Springs in the main Gilchrist Blue Spring area.
That being said, you cannot tube on the 1/4 of a mile spring run that runs to the Santa Fe River.
There is a rope that designates the swimming area. Past the rope, you are only allowed to kayak, canoe, or paddle board. You cannot tube, walk or swim.
This is for safety reasons as animals such as alligators are frequently in the area past the swimming barrier.
Please do not break the rules of Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park as they are there for your safety!
That being said, you can 100% relax on your tube and float around the allowed swimming area!
Are There Alligators At Gilchrist Blue Springs?
There are signs to beware of alligators at Gilchrist Blue Springs, but they are mainly in the spring run beyond the swimming barrier or in other parts of the park.
The main swimming area in Gilchrist Blue Springs is often busy with people swimming and splashing, and no alligator wants to be around that!
It is safe to assume that ANY fresh body of water in Florida has the potential for alligators. But they rarely make their way to where there are a lot of loud people splashing around!
Camping At Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park has 25 campsites, 17 sites for RV or tent, and 8 sites just for tents!
Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.
The max length for RVs or travel trailers is 40 feet and dogs and cats are allowed to visit and camp with you, they just cannot swim in the springs or be in the spring area.
Camping in Florida State Parks costs $24/night plus a $6.70 reservation fee which includes water and electric.
Since Gilchrist Blue Springs is small, you may want to camp only for one night, or if you are staying longer, you can take day trips to other nearby springs along the Santa Fe River!
It is truly one of the prettiest places for Camping In Florida!
Things To Do At Gilchrist Blue Springs
There are so many things to do at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park!
First, you can go geocaching which uses a GPS system to find treasures! It is super fun and a big thing to do at Gilchrist Blue Springs.
You can go paddling in kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and canoes and all are open to be rented at the park!
You can also go hiking along the springs and you will see lots of animals while doing so!
There is wildlife viewing throughout the park and the diversity in Gilchrist Blue Springs is very impressive!
Finally, you can swim or snorkel throughout the swimming areas in Gilchrist Blue Springs.
There are concessions, picnic tables and grills, and campsites with nearby restrooms so that you can have a fun day exploring the park!
Tips For Gilchrist Blue Springs
We recommend renting a kayak or paddle board and paddling out to the Santa Fe river. The spring run is beautiful and since we cannot swim out or tube out, this is the next best way!
Don’t forget that the park also features hiking!
During the summer and on holidays and weekends, the park can get quite busy so make sure to get there earlier or go during the off season or during the week if you can manage it.
Since the park is small, we recommend one night for camping. That being said, you can camp for multiple nights since it is affordable and then explore the surrounding area and nearby springs!
We hope you enjoy Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park as much as we do! One of Florida’s newest State Parks is a must-see!
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