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Wacissa River and Big Blue Springs
The Wacissa River, a tributary of the Aucilla, is located in a sparsely populated slice of Florida's Big Bend region. Both of these beautiful rivers are designated State Paddling Trails and are designated “Outstanding Florida Waterways.” Twelve major springs feed the Wacissa as it winds its way through swampy lowlands in the 47,622-acre Aucilla Wildlife Management Area.
The river is a magnet for wildlife and a recreation hub for swimmers, snorkelers, boaters and anglers. This well-loved river offers rewarding excursions for beginning paddlers or families with children.
The headsprings are located at the Wacissa Springs County Park, a busy spot on weekends. The river may be crowded for the first mile or so down to Blue Springs, a favorite swimming hole. To experience the river's solitude and serenity, plan to visit on a weekday or early or late in the day. A public campground and group camp are available at Goose Pasture, about 10 miles downstream from the headsprings, creating an ideal weekend paddling destination.
The Wacissa supports an impressive array of wildlife, rewarding quiet observers with the chance to spot alligators, turtles, water snakes, wading birds, and river otters. One of the best ways to view the diversity of species found here is to paddle early in the morning or evening. By using binoculars or your camera's zoom lens, you'll be able to safely observe wildlife without disrupting their natural behaviors. As you glide over the clear water, don't forget to peer below the surface to watch a parade of mullet and freshwater fish cruise by. It's easy to see why this area is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail and a world-class destination for wildlife viewing and nature photography.