When you say "Ichetucknee," most Floridians think of the legendary state park in north Florida where an estimated 200,000 recreational tubers flock annually for a tranquil float down the river of the same name. But did you know the largest freshwater boil to feed the river is not the park's namesake Ichetucknee Spring?
A nearby sister spring called Blue Hole actually earns that distinction, dispersing an incredible 67 million gallons of water a day from the Florida aquifer. Tucked away about a 1/2 mile hike through the woods from the main spring, at the park's north entrance, Blue Hole is a stunning --and far less traveled-- geological treasure, surrounded by towering cypress trees and swamp scrub.
Known for it's remarkable visibility and a dramatic, 50-foot plummet from the surface to the bottom of the spring's underwater cave shaft, the remote Blue Hole is a photographer's paradise, particularly at dusk at the end of a quiet weekday -- which is when I had the spring to myself, experiencing a serene scene of crystalline water and schools of blue gill, sunfish and bass.
• Click here to see the photo gallery, from Blue Hole.