Wakulla Springs State Park
Glass-bottomed and river
cruise boats offer visitors the
opportunity experience nature
close up at Wakulla Srpings.
Trees frame Wakulla Springs
The beautiful spring pours out
more than 250 million gallons
of clear cold water each day
from miles of caves.
Wakulla Springs State Park - Wakulla Springs, Florida
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park - Wakulla Springs, Florida
The beautiful spring, seen here on a rainy day, is
one of the deepest and largest freshwater springs in
the world. It feeds Florida's scenic Wakulla River.
Strange and Mysterious Waters
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is
located just 15.5 miles south of Tallahassee,
Florida. It protects one of the largest and
deepest natural springs in the world as well
as thousands of acres of pristine wilderness.
The Spanish called Wakulla Springs the
Guarcara (the "gu" is pronounced with a "w"
sound). There is no "r" in the dialects of the
Creek and Seminole Indians who lived in the
area during the 18th and 19th centuries, so
Guacara became Wakulla.
The exact meaning of the name is debated.
Some say that it means "river of the crying
bird" in an ancient American Indian dialect.
An old North Florida tradition, however, holds
that Wakulla is Creek or Seminole word
meaning "strange and mysterious waters."
Strange and mysterious describes Wakulla
Springs very well. After all, the once-terrifying
monster movie "Creature from the Black
Lagoon" was filmed here! There also is an
old Seminole legend that holds a race of
miniature people once lived on the bottom of
More than 250 million gallons of water pour
out of the spring daily, rising from miles of
dark and mysterious caverns. Divers have
used special equipment to descend up to
300 feet below the surface.
The Woodville Karst Plain project of Global
Underwater Explorers has linked Wakulla
Springs to the Leon Sinks Geological Area in
the Apalachicola National Forest. The group
has mapped more than 42,000 feet of cave
passages leading from Wakulla.
Archaeological work in the park has revealed
that humans have lived along the banks of
Wakulla Springs and the Wakulla River for
thousands of years. The first inhabitants
were prehistoric American Indian hunters
who came in pursuit of mastodon and other
large game animals that congregated at the
spring for water. The Florida Museum of
History in Tallahassee displays a nearly
complete mastodon skeleton from Wakulla
By the time the Spanish arrived in the 1500s,
this was the domain of the Apalachee. They
occupied the region between the Aucilla and
Ochlockonee Rivers and were considered by
their neighbors to be extremely powerful.
Franciscan friars successfully converted the
Apalachee to Christianity, building Mission
San Luis at present-day Tallahassee. The
inhabitants of the settlement traveled to and
from their port at San Marcos de Apalache
(St. Marks) by canoe, paddling down Munson
Slough from the mission and portaging to
Wakulla Springs and from there paddling
down the Wakulla River to St. Marks.
By 1815, the mestizo trader John Kinnard
lived at Wakulla Springs. A map prepared by
a Spanish surveyor that year shows that his
home was on the north side of the spring not
far from today's diving platform.
During the First Seminole War of 1817-1818,
the Wakulla River was the home of the Creek
Prophet Josiah Francis. He was one of the
leaders of the Red Stick movement among
the Creek Indians and had fled to Florida
following the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
It was on the banks of the river that his young
daughter, Milly, saved the life of a U.S. soldier
named Duncan McCrimmon. She is beloved
today as the Creek Pocahontas, Milly Francis.
The Second Seminole War exploded over
Florida in 1835-1842. The U.S. Army built Fort
Stansbury on the east bank just downstream
from Wakulla Springs. It served as a major
post for troops assigned to the "Big Bend"
Region of Florida and was the base from
which Major Ethan Allen Hitchcock convinced
Pascofa's band of Creeks to surrender in
Fort Stansbury was abandoned not long after
and Wakulla Springs once again became a
place of peace and solitude.
During antebellum times, Wakulla Springs
was a popular spot for outings and picnics.
Numerous writers of that era visited and
described the spring. It has been regarded
as one of the wonders of Florida ever since.
The park exists today thanks to the efforts of
a 20th century industrialist, Edward Ball. He
purchased Wakulla Springs in 1934 and built
the beautiful lodge on the grounds in 1937. It
remains open for dining and overnight stays.
Reservations are recommended if you hope
to stay the night. Call (850) 421-2000 for
lodge information and reservations.
The park offers both river and glass-bottom
boat tours of the spring and river. The river
tours provide an outstanding and safe way to
view an amazing variety of Florida wildlife
including large numbers of alligators. The
glass-bottom boat tours take visitors out over
the deep spring for astounding views of the
unique geological feature and its famed
Please note that boat tours are subject to
water and weather conditions.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is
located at 465 Wakulla Park Drive, Wakulla
Springs, Florida 32327. The daily entrance
fee is $6 ($4 is the driver is the only person in
the vehicle). Pedestrians and bicyclists are
admitted for $2 each. Boat tours are $8 for
adults and $5 for kids 12 and under.
To reach Wakulla Springs from Capital Circle
in Tallahassee, exit south onto U.S. 319/S.R.
61 (Crawfordville Road). At two miles, veer
left onto S.R. 61 and follow it for 6 miles to a
flashing red light. The entrance is just off to
The park is open from 8 a.m. until sundown,
365 days per year.
Please click here to visit the park's official
Please click here to see an outstanding
interactive presentation on Wakulla Springs.
Alligator on Wakulla River
River tours offer a safe way to
see and enjoy alligators and
other wildlife along the banks
of the Wakulla River.
Wakulla Springs Lodge
The historic lodge was built in
1937 and features dining and
|Copyright 2011 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Update: April 7, 2014
Movies of Wakulla Springs
The Creature from the Black
Lagoon, Joe Panther, Airport
77 and several Tarzan movies
were filmed all or in part at
historic Wakulla Springs.
Florida Springs & Waterfalls
Amazing Dive Footage from Wakulla Springs!