Econfina River State Park: A Nature Lover’s Playground

The Econfina River State Park is a Florida State Park, located at 4384 Econfina River Road, Lamont, Florida, occupying 3,377 acres on the Gulf of Mexico. The Econfina River runs through Taylor County, south of US 98 at the end of County Road 14. This is considered to be in the North Central Travel Region of Florida, off of the beaten path.

Florida offers mild winters and warm to hot, humid summers. Many tourists enjoy the area for its warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. Summer temperatures tend to be in the low 80s Fahrenheit, which is mid 20s on the Celsius scale. The migrating “snowbird” tourists enjoy the comfortable winter temperatures between the high 40s to the high 50s Fahrenheit.

The Econfina River flows through pine flatwoods, palm and oak forests, to pine islands dispersed among the salt marshes. The park features a new system of marked trails to optimize the nine miles of horseback, hiking and biking paths. Outdoors folk looking forward to getting back to the basics may be pleased to learn that a considerable portion of these trails are unimproved. Equestrians planning to use the trails must first register with the park office. The natural beauty of the park may also be taken in while drifting along the river in a kayak, canoe or boat.

Fishermen enjoy catching red bass and bream on the Econfina River. Generally the catch is said to be good year-round, while locals will tell you April to May and September to November yield the largest rewards. Scallops, clams, crabs and oysters may also be found in the shoreline grass beds. Bird watchers also enjoy the park.

The boat ramp is always open for easy access to the Gulf and the saltwater flats fishing. Park visitors using boats there should bring correct change for the $5 boat ramp fee, which is paid using the honor box. The ramp is at the park entrance, 2.2 miles before the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico. This means the ramp provides access to both fresh and salt water. There’s also a picnic area to be found near the boat ramp. There is no admission fee charged to enter the Econfina River State Park itself. Hours of operation are from 8:00 AM to sunset, including holidays.

Binoculars and bug spray are good provisions to pack for a trip to the park. Visitors should be aware that there is a copious population of mosquitoes there, as well as alligators, white-tailed deer, black bears, river otters, turtles, bald eagles and other birds to name a few.

There are two small rental units available for accommodations. Reservations may be made with Ms. Bonnie at 850 584 3026.

Those thinking of coordinating other points of interest on a trip to Econfina River State Park may wish to consider a side trip to Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park, which is approximately 30 miles from Econfina River. This attraction commemorates one of the last battles of the Civil War, the 1865 Battle of Natural Bridge. It’s located north of US 98, at the intersection of State Highway 260 and Old Park Road, northwest of Econfina River State Park.

About 10 miles south of that historic site, may be found the San Marcos De Apalache Historic State Park. This notable location marks the site a stone fort built in 1739. The original stones were used to build a hospital in which yellow fever victims were housed back in the 19th century. These are just two possibilities for interesting side trips.

Travelers looking for an inspiring trek through forests, relaxing time spent on a river observing wildlife or reflecting on the beauty of the Gulf of Mexico will be pleased to consider Econfina River State Park as their destination for a rewarding getaway.