The entrance to Seven Sister Springs is slightly different than most other springs in Florida. There is no grand state park entrance, not even a sign.
Located to the right of the boat launch, cloaked by the rippling surface, are the cavernous tunnels of Seven Sisters Springs. The tunnels are grouped together, linking two or four at a time. None are very deep, only a couple of feet below the surface. You can choose to swim from one to the next and pop up to the surface or swim through the full chain. There are two groups of them that you can easily swim through. Some of the openings to the tunnel caves are too small to swim, but you can peer down into them. You should definitely visit Seven Sisters and check that spring off your Florida Spring Passport. But there is so much more to check out on the river.
The Chassahowitzka River
Seven Sisters Springs is located on the famous Chassahowitzka River. In the language of the Seminole Indians, chassahowitzka means “pumpkin hanging place.” Once upon a time, there used to be small gourds hanging from the trees. The gourds have gone, but the name remains. For easier pronunciation, most people refer to the river as “The Chaz.” You can paddle “The Chaz” to the bay, where the water joins the Gulf of Mexico through all the wetlands and tributaries, which is about a 5.6-mile paddle. Or you can take a detour to visit “The Crack.”
“The Crack” is a phenomenon because, amidst all the fresh spring river water, salty ocean water flows out. And note that “The Crack” is not close to the mouth of the river where it meets the Gulf but tucked away down Baird Creek. The creek is the second turn option on your left when leaving the boat launch. The creek can get shallow at times. There is a section of the creek where you will paddle through tall reedy grass that is very buggy in the summertime. The current, at this section, is also something you will have to fight with as it tends to push you into the reeds. Most of the paddle is lovely with views of large palm trees and oaks twisting and reaching over the water. It will eventually become so shallow that you won’t be able to paddle your vessel any further. This means you are very close. The space opens up, and you step into a jungle snow globe.
Dangling down from a branch in the sky is a rope swing over the center. The easiest way to get onto the swing is to climb the smaller grouping of fallen tree trunks. Once you have wedged yourself up there carefully, a friend can toss you the swing. Try to give yourself a push-off so you can move in a circular motion over the pool of water. Majority of the swim area is not deep enough that it would be safe to swing and jump off. On the far end of the pool of water is a crack. Where the earth opens and saltwater bubbles from the crevice. Quite a phenomenon. You can feel the pressure of the water pushing up and out in certain places. Because it is salt water, the view does become a bit murkier in this area. You can swim through the crack, bobbing over and under fallen tree limbs. There is a beach bank you can use to place items or chill when not in the water or swinging from man-made vines.
The best and easiest place to park to access the river is from the Chassahowitzka River Campground or Seven Sisters Campground. If you have a boat trailer, parking is $7.00, or if you are just parking a car, it is $5.00. Kayak rentals for the day start at $30.00, canoes are $40.00, and Jon boats and paddleboards are $45.00 for the full day. Now all these rentals are for a full day, but they must be returned by 4:00 p.m. You can camp here as well, with spaces available for tents and RVs. The property has a bathhouse with restrooms, showers, and laundry. There are dumpsters for trash and a dump station for RV and campers. Dogs can enjoy the walking trail for a morning walk. There is a clubhouse and game area, and across Miss Maggie Drive is a playground.
If you are a Florida Springs Passport Holder, you will receive an EXCLUSIVE discount off of any of the Seven Sisters Kayak Rentals. Become a Passport today & start EXPLORING the WILD FLORIDA
Animals to see:
Largemouth Bass | Bluegill | Mangrove Snapper | Sheepshead | Egrets | Herons | Wood Storks | Red Shoulder Hawks | Manatees (in the winter) | Dolphins (as you get closer to the Gulf) | Otters | Feral Pigs
What to bring:
Swimsuit | Towel | Sunscreen | Bug spray | Shorts/Long shirt/Coverup | Hat | Water/Snacks | GoPro/Waterproof Camera | Snorkel Gear (mask & snorkel) | Watercraft (with life vest)
Good times are always to be had, chillin’ on The Chaz.