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As the Suwannee River carves a sinuous path through North Florida, it grows in width and depth thanks to hundreds of springs and dozens of tributaries that add to its substantial flow towards the Gulf of Mexico. World-renowned for its variety and quality of freshwater diving spots, particularly for those trained in the dangerous but fascinating sport of cave diving, the Lower Suwannee encompasses several quiet rural counties where nature-based recreation is the primary reason to visit. There are dozens of dive spots, including Civil War-era shipwrecks to explore, major and minor springs that offer swimming and snorkeling, and peaceful ...

As the Suwannee River carves a sinuous path through North Florida, it grows in width and depth thanks to hundreds of springs and dozens of tributaries that add to its substantial flow towards the Gulf of Mexico. World-renowned for its variety and quality of freshwater diving spots, particularly for those trained in the dangerous but fascinating sport of cave diving, the Lower Suwannee encompasses several quiet rural counties where nature-based recreation is the primary reason to visit. There are dozens of dive spots, including Civil War-era shipwrecks to explore, major and minor springs that offer swimming and snorkeling, and peaceful campgrounds tucked under canopies of live oak trees. Fresh seafood is abundant in the region’s restaurants, especially at Cedar Key, one of Florida’s oldest cities, a port where John Muir ended his 1,000-mile walk to the Gulf. Known for its funky artist’s colony, Cedar Key was the terminus of Florida’s first major railroad, which was built to connect with Fernandina Beach in 1858. One of Florida’s largest archaeological sites, the five-acre Shell Mound is a 28-foot-tall promontory just north of Cedar Key. For a quiet natural getaway, this segment of Florida’s Nature Coast is a must.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Winter, spring, fall