White Springs, Florida – Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park Review
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park Website
Dash cam video (coming soon)
A very popular State Park located on the banks of the Suwanee River, honoring the memory of American composer Stephen Foster, who wrote “Old Folks at Home,” the song that made the river famous. The campground has 45 sites ($20/night – $10 for FL residents over 65) and 5 cabins ($100 per night) adjacent to the Suwanee River. Reservations can be made through Reserve America.
Overall Impression – 4/5
A fun, educational and well maintained campground with lots to do. We really like this park, have stayed here several times and will probably stay here again in the future. Highly recommended.
Sites – 4/5
We’ve stayed here three times, once in February, 2014, in January, 2015, and in March, 2015, each time staying on a different loop and on different sites. All sites are gravel. The size and privacy level of the sites here are very variable. We found most of the pull thru sites are very long, ranging from 62 ft. to 100 ft. in length and quite spacious with ample room between us and our next door neighbors, however, most are crescent shaped and may require a little maneuvering for optimal placement of your rig. Case in point is #34 that we stayed on in January but otherwise is an awesomely huge and private site. We’ve also stayed in several of the back in sites which are mostly also fairly long, ranging in length from 42 ft. to 72 ft, however some tend to be narrow.
Many of the sites around the perimeter of each loop have lots of vegetation and trees offering a lot of privacy from the road and between sites, but the sites near the center of the loops tend to be out in the open with no or limited vegetation offering little or no privacy.
Amenities – 4/5
Within the campground, there is a playground, two very clean and well maintained bath and laundry facilities and a dump station. All camp sites have 30 amp electricity and 4 sites reportedly have 50 amp service (we think there are actually more sites with 50A), water (no sewer), fire rings, grill and a picnic table.
Plenty to do here. In addition to the campground, there is a museum which features unique exhibits about Foster’s most famous songs. His music can be heard emanating from the park’s 97-bell carillon at scheduled times throughout the day.
A short walk from the campground, there are day use picnic pavilions, a playground, Craft Square where working craftsmen stationed in small cottages demonstrate cultural arts and traditions (quilting, blacksmithing, weaving, pottery, home canning and much more) including the Cousin Thelma Boltin Craft & Gift Shop which sells regional foods, crafts, gifts, handmade items by local artists as well as Stephen Foster memorabilia.
There’s also the Nelly Bly kitchen which has been closed each time we’ve been here. And last but not least a gazebo with a lovely view of the famous Suwannee River and miles and miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails including direct access to the Florida Trail. The Florida Trail runs a total of about 1100 miles throughout Florida, skirting the banks of the Suwannee within Stephen Foster State Park – it is one of eleven national scenic trails in the US.
Not too far from the State Park is Big Shoals State Park which has the largest whitewater rapids in the state of Florida, earning a Class III Whitewater classification.
Fairly easy to get here from I-10 and or I-75. In terms of services, stores and restaurants, there’s not much in the town of White Springs except for a small convenience store nearby and Fat Belly’s Grill and Bar. We never ate there but the reviews on Google were decent and another couple we met in the campground said it was quite good. Adjacent to the campground is the White Springs Heritage and Welcome Center that has information about the area as well as a gift shop. Closest retail, grocery stores, Walmart and more restaurants are in Live Oak about a 25 minute drive from the State Park. A bit further out is Lake City which is a bit more metropolitan.
Maneuverability and Roads 5/5
Roads are paved and in good condition. No problem maneuvering our big rig around the campground and backing into any sites. There are a few tight turns but nothing an experienced driver will have any problem with.
Noise Level 5/5
Can’t complain about the noise here since the campground is a fairly good distance from the main road so there is no traffic noise and no trains. The only noise (but it is a pleasant one) is from the bells ringing in the carillon every quarter hour and playing Stephen Foster songs four times a day.
Utilities – 3/5
- No Sewer
- Satellite –varies with site. Hit or miss as there are lots of trees.
- WiFi – Wifi is not offered.
- Cellular signal – Moderately good Verizon 4G LTE with booster.
- Over-the-Air (OTA) TV – minimal to none
- Power – All sites have 30A but only a few have 50A. We have only stayed on 30A sites so far but voltage was 120+ and stable.
- Water Pressure/Quality – Good pressure, slight chlorine taste.
What We Liked
– So much to do here with the museum, bell carillon and craft area. Volunteers in the craft area are very personable and do a super job explaining their crafts. The blacksmith shop was of particular interest and the volunteer endeavors to make every visitor a memento.
– State Park is very clean and well maintained, probably one of the best we’ve been to in FL
– Hiking/biking trails.
– Spacious sites, many with lots of privacy.
– Big Shoals State Park is a few miles away and definitely worth a visit.
What We Didn’t Like
– No sewer hookups
– Very few 50A sites. Since we’ve been here in the cooler weather it wasn’t a problem.
– A substantial drive to nearest retail area.
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