City Profile: White Springs

By: VISIT FLORIDA staff

ADD TO FAVORITES
Take a trip through Florida's folk history in White Springs.

If you're looking for natural beauty and fun activities, both can be found at this sleepy little hamlet on the Suwannee River. Located about 14 miles north of Lake City, White Springs' rural setting - think moss-covered trees, placid streams and gently bubbling springs - is a perfect backdrop for outdoor activities and cultural events.

The white springs on the upper Suwannee River are formed by water bubbling up though underground sulfur deposits. Paleo-Indians, settlers and tourists alike believed in the curative powers of the springs. Today, the waters of the Suwannee River provide an ideal setting for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy hiking, canoeing, bicycling and camping in White Springs and at nearby Big Shoals State Forest, which also offers Florida's only whitewater rafting.

Situated on the banks of the Suwannee River, the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center honors the memory of Stephen Foster, whose song "The Old Folks At Home" memorialized this picturesque river. Foster's music rings out throughout the day from the Stephen Foster Memorial Carillon Tower. The Culture Center is a place where visitors can learn about and participate in some of the daily activities of the rural area's past, such as cane grinding, soap making, quilting and fishing. Here, the creation of arts and crafts from raw materials can be seen as traditional and contemporary craftspeople practice their art, give demonstrations and teach classes.

White Springs is the host of the oldest state folk festival in America, the Florida Folk Festival. This festival, which celebrates Florida's land and its people, is held on Memorial Day weekend each year and draws about 30,000 people. Featuring a full bill of about 300 of Florida's best folk musicians and artists, the festival also includes dance, regional and ethnic foods, crafts and storytelling.

The town's rich heritage can be explored by taking a walking tour of the town's historic district, with informative markers that identify the historically significant sites in the community. This charming enclave is a great way to experience the area's rich cultural history and the folk life of early America in a lush natural setting.

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