WHITE SPRINGS, FLORIDA

By  Mike Miller  Updated June 8,  2024

White Springs, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

White Springs first became noticed by tourists in the 1830s when it was believed bathing in the local sulfur spring was good for your health.

Vintage Postcard White Springs BathhouseVintage Postcard White Springs Bathhouse

The population of this small town is about 800.  It is located on the Suwannee River about 25 miles downstream of the Georgia border.

Postcard of Steamer on Suwannee RiverPostcard of Steamer on Suwannee River

A beautiful feature on the river north of town is Big Shoals and nearby Big Shoals State Park.  Rapids like this are unusual in Florida.

Big Shoals on the Suwannee RiverBig Shoals on the Suwannee River

The settlement was first incorporated in 1831 as Jackson Springs. A hotel was soon built and the local spring was called Upper Mineral Springs.  

People flocked to it for its supposed powers to heal nervousness, kidney problems and rheumatism.

Adams House in White SpringsAdams House, Photo by Ebyabe

The town was well known during the Civil War as being sympathetic to the Confederate cause and many rebel soldiers sought refuge there.

Future Florida Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward's family had a farm in the area named "Rebel's Refuge".

Telford Hotel, White Springs, FloridaTelford Hotel, White Springs, Florida

The Telford Hotel is an interesting structure in downtown White Springs, but is currently not operating.  It's an interesting building and a photo opportunity.

Adams General Store, White SpringsAdams General Store, White Springs

People began to lose their fascination with bathing in mineral springs, and the town began to decline in the 1930s.  

In 1950 the Stephen Foster Memorial Museum opened to honor the composer of the world famous song "Old Folks at Home".

Florida Folk Festival PosterFlorida Folk Festival Poster

The museum is now part of a Florida State Park and the carillon plays Stephen Foster songs during the day.

The park has full hookup RV campsites and miles of walking paths.  It is the centerpiece of this small town.

Stephen Foster Culture CenterStephen Foster Culture Center

Modern White Springs is still very small and rustic.  The biggest event of the year is the Florida Folk Festival held every Memorial Day Weekend at the state park.

Comfortable Home in White SpringsComfortable Home in White Springs

Many Victorian buildings still remain in town, especially in the White Springs Historic District.  There are several antique shops and restaurants in the town.

There is also a very nice Dollar General for groceries and many other reasonably priced goods.

Johns House, White SpringsJohns House, Photo by Ebyabe

RECOMMENDED WHITE SPRINGS RESTAURANT

Fat Belly's
16750 Spring Street
White Springs, FL 32096
Tel: 386-397-2040

Fat Belly's, White Springs, FloridaFat Belly's, White Springs, Florida

Fat Belly's is a good restaurant, especially for a town as small as White Springs.  Their menu features delicious hamburgers, chicken wings, and several different seafood dishes.

The cuisine definitely features Southern cooking, and the service is nice and friendly too. 

The portions of their meals are large, and you need to bring a good appetite.  Sweet tea comes with every meal.  Up here in North Florida you don't have to ask for sweet tea, that's just the way it's made.

Fat Belly's, White Springs, FloridaFat Belly's, White Springs, Florida

They make a great breakfast with a large variety of omelettes, many of them packed with vegetables, cheese, and ham.  They offer home made biscuits that will make you want more.

Their catfish fingers - boneless catfish fillets - are lightly fried and delicious.  I love catfish, and it's worth a trip to White Springs just to enjoy theirs.

They are also well known in the area for their BBQ chicken and pork. Sometimes they even have sea bass and their skirt steak if fine too.  Locals love their fried chicken.

They have beer and wine, and their hours are 6:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Thursday;  6:00 am to 2:00 am Friday and Saturday, and 6:00 am to 8:00 pm on Sunday.


THINGS TO DO IN WHITE SPRINGS, FLORIDA

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park 
11016 Lillian Saunders Drive, White Springs, FL 32096 | (386) 397-2733 
 
As mentioned earlier on this page, this state park is a cultural treasure with museum exhibits, craft demonstrations, and live music performances.

Nestled on the banks of the Suwannee River, the park also offers scenic beauty with nature trails and picnicking spots. It’s a favorite destination for those looking to immerse themselves in Florida's folk heritage and enjoy the natural surroundings. 

Big Shoals State Park 
11330 SE County Road 135, White Springs, FL 32096 | (386) 397-4331 
 
As home to Florida’s largest whitewater rapids, Big Shoals State Park offers thrilling outdoor adventures for kayakers and canoers experienced in navigating rapids.

The park also features more than 28 miles of hiking and biking trails for those who prefer to stay on dry land. It’s a perfect spot for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. 

White Springs Historic District 
White Springs, FL 32096 
 
Take a leisurely stroll through the White Springs Historic District along River Street and Spring Street, where charming antebellum homes, historic churches, and beautifully preserved buildings tell the story of this town’s rich past.

The district is a testament to the town's era as a bustling tourist destination for those seeking the healing waters of the springs. It’s a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those who appreciate architectural beauty. 

Suwannee River Wilderness Trail 
White Springs, FL 32096 | (800) 868-9914 
 
Explore the serene and majestic Suwannee River by embarking on a paddling journey along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

With numerous river camps and platforms for overnight stays, the trail offers a unique way to experience the natural beauty of the river and its surrounding landscapes. It’s our favorite choice for paddlers and campers looking for a peaceful escape into nature. 

White Springs Library 
16403 Jewett St, White Springs, FL 32096 | (386) 397-1389 
 
The White Springs Library serves as a focal point for the community’s cultural life. Visitors can learn about the town's history and its significance as a former health resort through exhibits and local artifacts.

It’s a great place for those interested in delving deeper into the heritage of White Springs. 

Florida Nature and Heritage Tourism Center 
10499 Spring Street, White Springs, FL 32096 | (386) 397-1919 
 
The center is the perfect starting point for visitors looking to explore the natural beauty and cultural sites of North Florida.

Offering maps, brochures, and expert advice, the center helps guests plan their adventures in the region, from hiking and biking trails to cultural festivals. It’s a valuable resource for maximizing your visit to White Springs and beyond. 

Annual Florida Folk Festival 
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs, FL 32096 | (877) 635-3655 
 
Experience the best of Florida’s music, dance, stories, and food at the annual Florida Folk Festival, a celebrated event that brings together hundreds of performers and artisans. This festival is a highlight of the year, showcasing the diverse cultures and traditions that make up the state.

It’s a vibrant, must-attend event for those looking to experience the heart and soul of Florida’s folk heritage. 



WHITE SPRINGS FLORIDA INTERACTIVE GOOGLE MAP



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