At Fanning Springs, Big Fanning is in a conical depression with steep sand and limestone banks. The spring pool measures 207 ft (63.1 m) north to south and 144 ft (43.9 m) east to west. The depth of the spring pool measured over the vent is 18 ft (5.5 m). The vent area is nearly funnel shaped, with a sand and limestone bottom and limestone sides, and it issues from the southeast side of the depression. The main vent issues horizontally from a small orifice in the limestone; however, multiple small boils in the sand bot- tom were present when the spring was visited. Also, there are numerous tiny spring seeps flowing into the spring pool from the limestone banks.
The water is bluish and clear. There is native aquatic grass in much of the shallow spring pool. Some patches of algae are present in the spring pool. There are cypress and gum trees along both sides of the spring run. Floating walkways and ropes delineating a swimming area exist in the spring pool. The spring run flows north briefly before turning westward and flowing approximately 450ft to the tannic Suwannee River. Boat traffic from the river is not allowed past a floating wooden walkway across spring run. There is sandy high ground on the south and east sides adjacent to the spring.
Fanning Springs is located in Fanning Springs State Park in the town of Fanning Springs. The park entrance is located on the east side of the Suwannee River on US 19/27/98. It is approximately 0.2 miles (0.3 km) east of the bridge over the Suwannee River. Follow access road to parking lot. The spring vent is southwest of parking area.
Fanning Springs was the first stop on my five-spring day, so this visit was somewhat early in the morning (9am-10am). The spring itself was very clear and the park was mostly clean. I could have gone for a larger changing area, but that goes for basically any state park. In the morning the spring boil is under a lot of shade, which making snorkeling a little less fun. However, the way it's tucked into the surrounding wetlands with just a short walk down the floating dock to view the Suwannee, it's pretty magical in the morning. A few boats were parked at the floating dock, making it feel like a little microcosm of some of the larger springs.
While there aren't any caves that you can really get into with all the limestone rocks fallen everywhere, the sand boils are plentiful and fun to watch. The depression is also very deep, which allows for a lot of exploring. Many fish populate the spring pool, both in the weeds and out, and there's even a newly-constructed diving/jumping platform that was quite the hit while I was photographing the boil.
Overall, the park is very pristine, offers a variety of depths for swimming, lots of sand boils to watch at the bottom of the depression, and even a safe jumping platform. It can get pretty crowded, but it's one of the better swimming areas in the Florida Springs ecosystem.
July 2010 [flickr-photoset:id=72157624426838435,size=s]
18020 N.W. Highway 19
Fanning Springs, Florida 32693