O’Leno State Park is unique because it is one of Florida’s first state parks, and it offers something for every type of nature lover. Activities include hiking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, geo-seeking and bird watching.

When I first visited the park it was rather difficult to find, but once I arrived I was taken aback by the beauty that I found inside. Just off South U.S. Highway 441, O’Leno State Park is located at 410 SE O’Leno Park Road.

The park is notable for its long history starting in 1934, which is prominently exalted by park signs.

 

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Aside from the hiking through the palmettos, one of my favorite locations at this park is the large bridge that spans over the Santa Fe River called the “Swinging Bridge”.

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Park visitor, Julie Davila, peeking over the edge of the O’Leno State Park “Swinging Bridge”, Photo by Allison Jones

Aside from the “Swinging Bridge”, you will find hundreds of acres of trails to cover and a notable “River Sink”, where the Santa Fe River disappeared into an underground sinkhole for 3-miles.

For more information check out video 39 of 53, on the Firsthand Florida Fun YouTube site, featured below for an inside peek at what to expect for your adventure to O’Leno State Park.


Difficulty of Exploration: 6/10

Items Required: transportation to High Springs, hat, sunscreen, bathing suit (optional), hiking boots or sneakers and a packed picnic

Travel Time from Gainesville: Approximately 30 to 45 minutes drive from UF’s campus [dependent on traffic]

Contentment Level Post-Trip: 10/10

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