Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park
Address: 18532 180th Street
Live Oak FL 32060
Hours and Fees: The Park is open 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year. However, divers have more restrictive hours. The fee is $4 per vehicle and $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, and extra passengers.
Photography: This is mostly a hardwood central Florida forest with very few openings. While light conditions in the forest interior are not as dim as other denser forests, photography can be a challenge.
Policies: Well-behaved pets on a 6-foot leash at all times are welcome. Some restrictions apply. Divers must met a minimum level of certification to be allowed in the underwater cave system.
Scuba Diving Snorkeling Swimming Bird-Watching Hiking
Nature and Hiking Trails Interpretive Exhibits Restroom Facilities (Porta Potti)
Parking Picnic Pavilion
Other Wildlife: Deer, Raccoon, Coyote, Gray Fox.
Habitats: Central Florida Hardwood Forest.
Wes Skiles Peacock State park is a special place in several ways. It has an excellent and well-signaled trail system that trace a network of sinkholes, springs, karst openings, caves, and passages underground. With approximately 33,000 feet of surveyed underwater passages, it is one of the longest underwater cave systems in the continental United States. In fact, this State Park’s main attraction is scuba diving cave diving in the crystal clear water of the Florida aquifer. Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park has two major springs, a spring run, and six sinkholes, all in near pristine condition. The most popular are Orange Grove sink and Peacock Springs, which are also suitable for snorkeling or swimming. Some of the springs and sinkholes may be covered in duckweed in part of the year but underneath of the layer of duckweed, there is always crystal clear water.
- Plan your Trip: The park is suitable for a day visit as there are no camping grounds. This park is well-known by the amazing sink-holes, springs, and caves for scuba-diving. The trails are well signaled and are great for a pleasant nature walk and birding. Most non-scuba-diving visitors came for a nature walk, picnic, and swimming during the hot summer months.
- The best time to visit: Anytime of the year is suitable for divers worldwide who come to explore the underwater tunnels and caverns. In general fall and spring are the best seasons to go hiking in Florida. It’s not too hot or too cold. The tradeoff is that the water in springs will be a bit chilly. The hot and humid summer months are great for visits that involve spending most of your time in or near the water.
- What to do there: Around the springs, four major plant communities are represented in the mature forest stands. An award winning nature trail leads visitors on a path tracing the twisting tunnels of the caves far below their feet, educating hikers along the way. Swimming in Peacock Springs and Orange Grove Sink are popular activities during the summer. Grills and pavilions are available for picnicking. The springs months are ideal for bird-watching and wildlife observation. It coincides with the beginning of the breeding season for many animals and the arrival or passing of migratory birds. Visit the springs and sinkholes throughout the park along well-signaled trails.
- Where to look for birds:
North Florida hardwood forests. This is a habitat regularly found on higher elevations, making it a dry habitat. Birds regularly associated with North Florida Hardwood Forest include Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Gray Catbird, Summer Tanager, and Northern Cardinal, Piliated, Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, White-eyed and Blue-headed Vireos, and Red-Bellied Woodpecker. During the winter months Tropical Gnatcatcher, Yellow-rumped, Palm Warbler Warblers can be seen at this park.
- Where to look for Mammals: Mammals are likely to be sees along the trail at the park, though are always unpredictable. The White-tailed Deer is the mammal most likely to be seen during a visit to Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park.
- What to wear and bring. Despite being warm for most of the year, winter nights can reach freezing temperatures in Central Florida. Check the forecasted temperatures and dress accordingly.
- Warning: The summer months are known to have many mosquitoes along the trails. Dogs are notorious for being infested with ticks. Insect repellent with Deet is recommended.
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