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  • Brian Childress

Shoals (Big & Little) State Park - White Springs, Florida

Updated: Jun 5

Big Shoals State Park in Hamilton County, Florida is a Florida State Park. It is approximately one mile east of White Springs, off US 41. The park is situated on the Suwannee River and features Limestone bluffs as well as the biggest whitewater rapids in all of Florida. The park also features more than 28 miles of hiking and nature trails, and freshwater fishing. The best way to locate the park is simply off Exit 439 on Interstate 75 in North Florida.

There is a bat house at the Big Shoals entrance; if you listen quietly you can usually hear them squeaking inside. Stand upwind if you don‘t want to breathe the scent of bat guano.


As referenced above by Wikipedia, this park has the largest whitewater rapids in all of Florida. However, kayakers and canoers are prohibited to negotiate the rapids per signs on each side of the Big Shoals. You are required to portage your vessel and once you see Big Shoals, you will understand why.


There are two main entrances to the park. Both are located off Florida Highway 135, one at the north entrance (Big Shoals) and one at the south entrance (Little Shoals). Each entrance requires either a Florida Parks Pass or a modest $4 dollar fee which is based on the honor system (drop box). Each entrance has restrooms and there are hiking and biking trails to negotiate between both entrances. (Restrooms at the Little Shoals entrance are portable units; restrooms at the Big Shoals entrance are spacious flush toilets with sinks and paper towels).


Wildlife to expect include a variety of birds such as Turkey Vultures, Robins, Woodpeckers, etc., Armadillos, Racoons, and of course the American Alligator in and around the Suwanee River.


Our experience: This is a good place to hike and bike. There is plenty of shade from the hot South Georgia/North Florida heat and there is often a nice breeze coming from the river. The bathrooms have always been clean. The only issue we found was the road leading into Big Shoals which is a dirt road and when it rains, it becomes somewhat difficult to drive on.


Contact Information:


Little Shoals Entrance:

11330 S.E. County Road 135

Big Shoals Entrance:

18738 Southeast 94th St.

White Springs FL 32096

Phone: 386-397-4331

Website:

https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/big-shoals-state-park

Shoals when water is high.

Shoals when water is low.


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