Many of Jackson County’s parks are free and open to the public, including recreational areas perfect for a day of exploring and historical sites that show off our history.
Florida Caverns State Park
As the land that is now the southeastern United States was once submerged under ocean waters millions of years ago, shells, corals, and sediments gradually accumulated on the seafloor. As sea levels dropped, these materials hardened into limestone creating cave tunnels - the same tunnels that are now part of Florida Caverns State Park. The park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s-1940s, who worked to make the tunnels large enough for people to walk through.
The 1,300-acre state park is home to numerous rare plants and animals and the caves provide habitat for blind cave crayfish, cave salamanders, and three species of cave-roosting bats. The karst terrain of the park is composed of several unique natural features like cliffs, bluffs, sinkholes, and beautiful blue springs.
Three Rivers State Park
686-acre Florida State Park is located north of Sneads, named for the main rivers associated with Lake Seminole: the Chattahoochee, the Flint, and the Apalachicola.
The Park offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with their families and friends through hiking, camping, fishing, and biking, as well as special events like weddings and family reunions or park hosted educational events. Campers can make use of a modern cabin and full-facility campgrounds with tables and grills overlooking the lake. Anglers can launch from the park’s boat ramp to enjoy freshwater fishing or fish from a 100-foot pier located in the camping area.
Apalachee Wildlife Management Area
Located three miles north of Sneads along River Road you will find Apalachee Wildlife Management Area, 7,952 acres of public land that border Lake Seminole and the Chattahoochee River. The upland longleaf pine and wetland habitat is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is a great site for a number of activities.
From hunting and mountain biking to hiking and wildlife and nature viewing, the Apalachee Wildlife Management area provides year-round outdoor recreation opportunities for all types of visitors.
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail
The one-half-mile Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail leads through the beautiful canopied forests of the Upper Chipola River Water Management Area to the historic and haunted Bellamy Bridge. It is home to rare and endangered plant species along the path and was made possible by a group of dedicated volunteers and a cooperative venture between Northwest Florida Water Management District and Jackson County Parks & Recycling.
Said to be the most haunted bridge in the State of Florida, Bellamy Bridge was built in 1914. Its surviving steel frame is believed to be the oldest standing bridge in the state.
Butler Tract, in Marianna, also received designation as a National Recreation Trail by the Department of Interior.
Butler Tract is a quaint 110-acre scenic viewing area nestled at the corner of Kelson Ave and Nolan. As a part of the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail, it is known as a bird watchers' paradise.
Hinson Conservation and Recreation Area
This magnificent outdoor paradise was once the private farm of the Hinson family, which generously made the property available for state purchase. Now managed by the City of Marianna, the Hinson Conservation & Recreation Area features miles of hiking trails, wildlife and nature viewing opportunities, a trail for horseback riding, a canoe and kayak launch, and a picnic area overlooking the Chipola River. The 226-acre park is home to an array of natural features, including a high limestone outcrop, a karst window, sinkholes, and a small natural spring.
Visitors enjoy walking and bicycling along the 4-mile perimeter trail with their friends and leashed pets or exploring the Alamo and Ovens, two open-air caves part of a larger cave system along the Chipola River. Maps of Hinson Conservation and Recreation Area are available at the Jackson County Visitor’s Center.