On our way home from a recent Gulf coast beach trip, a friend had tipped me off on a great little natural spring to check out, right outside of Marianna, Florida. A frigid 68 degrees even on the steamiest southern day, this was a refreshing stop! The water, an alluring blue-green, was crystal clear even as the water deepened.
Rayna was the bravest and slowly worked her way in. There was a diving platform for those wishing to take the plunge but we never got in over our heads. (Here is where I admit that I am super cold-natured so I never allowed the water past my waist where the biting cold attacks you on your low back!)
The springs are part of a natural reservoir, called Merritt's Millpond, that is over 200 acres. Prized for its fishing abundance, the springs also appeal aesthetically with the blue-green water, underwater caves, and swamp cypresses. The water is so clear that you can easily see the grasses even where the water is 5-6 feet deep.
The park boasts some great amenities such as showers, bathrooms, snack bar, playground and covered picnic areas outfitted with grills. It's a nice place to pack a lunch and stay the day and at just $4 per person, it's an affordable visit. Kayaks and canoes can be rented at an additional cost and those certified to scuba dive can explore the underwater caverns (home to the rare Georgia Blind Salamander and Doughterty Plain Cave Crayfish!).
*The park has seasonal hours so make sure to check times before heading that way!