Known for being home to the deepest and largest freshwater springs in the world, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is a beautiful place to visit. It is located nearly 30 miles south of Tallahassee, Florida beneath the mossy oaks and soaring pines in the northwest region of the state.
The waters stay about 70 degrees Fahrenheit year round making for a refreshing place to swim on a hot summer day. The place has been known for being a set for several Hollywood films due to the beauty of the crystal clear waters along with the elegant historic lodge located along the shores.
Visiting the Park
Wakulla Springs State Park is usually open from 8:00 a.m. until sunset, every day of the year.
Admission to the park and boat ride prices vary. To see the current schedule and admission rates, please visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/edward-ball-wakulla-springs-state-park/hours-fees for more information.
The boat tour is definitely a must see during your visit to the park. Check the schedule before making plans to ride the boat to find a time that correlates with your schedule. Also be sure to purchase tickets as early into your visit as possible because they do sell out quickly depending on the day.
With a 45 minute narrated troll through the dense wilderness of the park, you have the chance to view wildlife such as egrets, alligators, turtles, fish and even a few manatees depending on the season. This tour allows great opportunities for photography as well as stunning views of the natural wildlife of Northwest Florida.
The Lodge at Wakulla Springs
Built in 1937, the Lodge at Wakulla Springs has had quite the history. It was built by a prominent businessman named Edward Ball who purchased 4,000 acres of wilderness just south of Tallahassee that encompassed the springs.
The Lodge was established as a guest house for himself and visitors with elaborate marble and hand carved wood placed throughout the building. With 27 guest rooms available the Lodge was a beautiful overnight retreat for visitors to the springs.
Despite its primitive location, Ball had telephone lines ran from Port St. Joe (nearly 90 miles from the Lodge) to allow guests modern amenities.
Today the Lodge at Wakulla Springs still offers overnight stays as well as a place for fine dining and elegant events.
The Soda Fountain is a unique shop that was designed to allow people from all areas to be able to experience the luxuriousness of the Lodge. It offers a place to browse through souvenirs as well as small menu items such as hot dogs and sandwiches. Best of all is the selection of ice cream and floats.
The Ginger Yip is the iconic drink at the Soda Fountain. Made from Vanilla Ice Cream and Ginger Ale this tasty treat is a scrumptious beverage to try during your visit.
The following link is for information regarding overnight visits and events for the Lodge at Wakulla Springs https://thelodgeatwakullasprings.com/.
In the Movies
Found to be a beautiful and desolate place for filming, Hollywood discovered the springs in the late 1930s and decided it would make a wonderful place to feature in the films.
The first filming to be done of the location was in the early 1930s following the discovery of Mastodon bones nearby. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Florida State University had a Ladies of FSU Tarpon Club that film reels depicted underwater footage of the springs and out flowing river. During WWII, a training film called “Amphibious Fighters” was captured with recruits from a nearby army training center in Carrabelle, Florida.
Movies with scenes that were filmed on site include “Tarzan’s Secret Treasures” (1941), “Tarzan’s New York Adventure” (1942), “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954), “The Creature that Walks Among Us” (1956), “Joe Panther” (1975) and “Airport 77” (1976).
If you want to see a movie that portrays the depths of the underwater beauty of the springs, watch “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954). This classic film provides amazing footage of the just how clear and deep the springs really are. If you take the boat tour, you will be shown the exact places the “Creature” was seen crawling out of the water.
With depths up to 350 feet, the springs at Wakulla offer a great place for scuba diving. Certification is required for diving in the park.
Bicycling, nature walks and picnics are all options to explore while visiting the grounds.
Swimming is available to guests in the designated area as well as a diving platform nearly two building stories in height. Scary, but fun it is worth the terrifying jump as you submerge beneath the clear waters of Wakulla Springs.
Thanks for reading and as always, “Keep on Truckin'”-Violet Sky