Considering a little trip to Florida’s Capital and wondering what to do? Just twenty minutes south of Tallahassee, Wakulla Springs offers a glimpse of the Old Florida and plentiful opportunities to see alligators, deer, manatees and turtles in their natural habitats. The springs at Wakulla Springs are among the state’s largest and deepest, perfect for swimming or snorkeling. Wakulla Springs State Park is a 6,000-acre wildlife sanctuary with tour boats that glide along the Wakulla River. The park, where some of the early Tarzan movies were filmed, offers biking, hiking, equestrian trails and a swimming area. For those of us over a certain age to remember the movie, the Creature from the Black Lagoon was also filmed there.
For guests staying with us, we always recommend a little drive to take the tour boat as it’s our little “jewel” in Tallahassee, unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else. Much to my chagrin, having never seen a manatee when I’ve gone to Wakulla, it seems like every – single – guest sees a manatee! I do believe, some take great joy in telling me at breakfast the next morning that they saw one. Because even as I’m recommending Wakulla, I’m complaining about my lack of manatee-sighting over the last few decades of living so close to them. Methinks some of our lovely guests are guilty of rubbing it in…
Folks always marvel at how close up one can get to the alligators – and the fact that the swimming area rope with the buoys attached do not have an underwater net to keep alligators out. Most guests see the rope and assume it’s attached to something underwater that they can’t see. But nope. It’s just a rope – and alligators, that are right there on the riverbank, do not (thus far!) come into the swimming area with all it’s noisy, splashing activity from the local children.
When an alligator does attack a person or a small dog, it makes state and national headlines. Those headlines are particularly well publicized in Europe as it does appear to me that the majority of Brits and continental Europeans think that there are alligators just lying in wait on every street corner to jump out and attack them.
Having lived in Florida for decades, the truth is that alligators usually can’t be bothered to attack anyone and are more likely to run away from a human. Unless – and it is a rather large “unless” it is mating season or breeding season. Then the old Mumma Bear (or Mumma Alligator) comes out and a problem ensues. So the lesson for alligators in Wakulla Springs is – don’t bother them and they’re unlikely to bother you.
Wakulla Springs water is COLD! A wonderfully refreshing treat at the height of our triple-digit summers in Tallahassee. The rest of the year, it’s such a shock to the system, so be warned! I recommend just taking the tour boat, it’s much more civilized meandering down the Wakulla River in an open air boat with a lovely park ranger telling you all kinds of interesting things. Nowadays, you can’t just show up like you used to be able to do. So make sure to book online to grab a seat on one of the many boats “cruising” down the river.
If you’re thinking about a trip to the Capital of Florida, particularly if you’ve lived in Florida for many years and never been, this is just one of the many reasons you should pencil a few days in your diary to make it happen. And stay at the Little English Guesthouse Bed and Breakfast, of course!
See you soon!
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