Floating Down the Blackwater River

Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach Blackwater River State Park FL

Blackwater River State Park Pensacola FL

You just haven’t lived until you’ve floated down a river in an inner tube.

And when said river is the Blackwater River, you’re in for a real delight.

Don’t let its name deceive you – there’s nothing black or murky about this river. Its clear, cool waters have washed soft, quartz sand through swamps and bays to reach the Gulf of Mexico, where they formed the “World’s Whitest Beaches” on Santa Rosa Island.

If you love our beaches, you’ll love the river that helped create them, about 45 minutes north in Holt, Florida. There’s a lot to see and do at Blackwater River State Park, especially if you’re a nature lover.

One of the most beloved activities of the locals is to hop in a tube or a canoe, and spend the day being carried downstream. The average depth of the river is just two feet, so you can see – and feel – the pure sandy bottom. It’s a lazy activity, with a current of only 5 miles per hour. Many folks choose to pack coolers and stop at the river’s white sandbars to picnic.

A favorite purveyor of the “river experience” is Adventures Unlimited. Here, you can canoe, kayak and tube Coldwater Creek. And if you fall in love with its cedar-lined shores, you can even spend a night camping. Rent a fully appointed cabin or cottage, or rough it in a campground tent.

They say the adventures are unlimited, and with a ropes course and a zip line featuring birds-eye views of the state park below, you have to admit there’s something for everyone – from the sunbather to the thrill seeker.

Within the Blackwater State Park are even more outdoor opportunities. The official campsite of the park boasts 30 campsites nestled among the longleaf pines. They all feature 20-30-50 amp electricity, water and RV sewer hookups. There’s a fire ring and a grill for when you’re hungry, and a playground to keep the kids active.

Beyond the campground, the Juniper Lake Trail gives hikers the opportunity to explore the forest and riverbank on two feet (or four – pets are welcome!) You can also swim and fish in designated areas.

So if you tire of the pool, head to one of the most pristine sand-bottom rivers in the nation to be inspired by nature at Blackwater River State Park.

Blackwater River is located at 7720 Deaton Bridge Rd, Holt, FL. For more information, visit the Blackwater River website or call (850) 983-5363.