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Spotlight on:
Gilchrist

Take the plunge into spring-fed rivers and architectural masterpieces in this small-town on the Suwannee


With only one traffic light in the whole county, you can bet that Gilchrist County hums along at its own laid-back pace. Relaxing, energizing and rural, Gilchrist County also only has one lane of traffic moving in either direction. Indeed, if you're looking to get away from hectic city life, you've come to the right place. Natural, crystal-clear springs, paved trails, remote river landings and historical buildings will capture your heart and expand your mind in this Florida paradise.

Historic Buildings
If you're a history buff, you'll be in seventh heaven as you make your way through the old First Baptist Church on Wade Street, the Gilchrist County Courthouse, Trenton Depot and the old Trenton Church of Christ on South Main Street.

The First Baptist Church is a historic redbrick house that was built in the 1920s. While the main building is no longer used as the primary building by its active congregation, the church has expanded to the north and east of the original historic redbrick structure.

The Gilchrist County Courthouse is a historic, two-story redbrick courthouse that was handsomely built in 1933. This gorgeous building features corbeled courses, arched window openings with drip courses and a triple-arched entry porch that is stunningly impressive upon first glance.

The Trenton Depot is a historic train station that the Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) Railroad once used. It was originally the station on the ACL line that serviced those traveling from Newberry to Wilcox and then on to Cross City. The old Trenton Church of Christ was built in 1920 and is made of Florida field limestone and rubble masonry, with brick quoins at openings, arched windows, and an impressive triple-arched entry porch as well. This historic church now serves as the meeting place for the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners. Gilchrist's amazing architecture showcases a side of the Sunshine State that is often overlooked.

Rivers
Refresh your spirit in the natural beauty of the local Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers. Since the lower Santa Fe River is largely fed by numerous springs, its waters are famously crystal clear, thus beckoning its admirers, near and far. It's precisely this perfectly clear water that entices avid canoeists, recreation swimmers and fishermen alike.

The Suwannee River offers excellent shoreline fishing along fallen trees and stumps. The time between May through September is considered peak season, although there are possibilities of getting some good catches year round. Anglers enjoy catching largemouth and Suwannee bass as well as several species of catfish, all of which provide easy excitement. More common and easily caught along the shoreline, near fallen trees and stumps, are the redbreast and spotted sunfish. During the winter months, however, fish tend to stay in deep holes found along the scenic river bends.

Natural Springs
Enjoy the serenity that Gilchrist's warm, sparkling clear, natural spring water offers its visitors and locals alike. Unwind while exploring the vast array of natural springs that are abundant in Gilchrist County, including Blue Springs, Ginnie Springs Outdoors LLC, Hart Springs Park, Fanning Springs State Park and Otter Springs Park and Campground.

Offering one of the largest swimming facilities around, as well as boasting a half-mile-long boardwalk through cypress hammock, Hart Springs is a much-sought-after destination for vacationers. It offers family-oriented fun for all, from pedal boat rentals, volleyball, and much more. Above all else, you will be able to claim that you have been to the largest concentration of fresh water springs on earth.

Blue Springs boasts magical underwater scenery that beckons underwater photographers and provides a delightful location for swimming and snorkeling. Even though it is a commercially operated spring, it does feature exceptionally crystal clear water. There is comfortable camping, an exciting playground, large picnic area, convenient bathhouse and more to ensure visitors enjoy their stay for however long they deem necessary. Take a stroll down the scenic 1,500-foot boardwalk that follows the spring's flow to the Santa Fe River and then stop by the concession stand for a scrumptious treat.

Ginnie Springs Outdoors LLC offers a 200-acre site built around spectacular natural springs. This area attracts families and serious scuba divers alike. Indeed, divers come from all around to explore the extensive underwater cavern that makes this one of the top-rated majestic dive destinations. There are also various levels of camping available, rental cottages, picnicking, snorkeling, tubing, volleyball, canoeing, and swimming available.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing outdoor adventure, to sit back and enjoy the warmth and healing properties of the springs, or simply want to camp out at a magnificent campground destination, this is the ultimate place for you.

For More Information:
Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce
352-463-3467
www.gilchristcounty.com

Florida Department of Tourism
888-735-2872
www.visitflorida.com