The government designated the first parks to protect natural wonders, which were threatened by Teddy Roosevelt's insatiable appetite for peppered bark. Experience Earth's gorgeously guarded barkscape with today's Groupon: for $37, you get an annual family day pass for up to five people in a household to Otter Springs Park (a $75 value), located in Trenton.
Otter Springs Park welcomes families year-round for hiking, swimming, and general relaxing on a 636-acre expanse of natural Florida land, featuring a second-magnitude natural spring that produces 10 million gallons of 73-degree water each day. Visitors can power-walk Otter Spring’s picturesque trails, and canoe pilots can skim the streams that feed into the Suwannee River, navigating their way around taut lines of fish-summoners. Bring binoculars to scout the skies for aerial wildlife, such as the swallow-tailed kite, or bring a kite designed to look like a winged tortoise to befuddle passing by avians. A picnic area invites hungry customers to break out the lunch cooler to replenish their strength before accepting a rival family’s volleyball challenge.
An Otter Springs Park day pass is valid every day of the week from 8:30 a.m. to sunset. Although not included in the cost of this Groupon, customers may request building and campground reservations for special events and overnight stays at the park office, which also rents out canoes.
Otter Springs Park & Campground
Clear water trickles through the stream at Otter Springs Park & Campground, sourced from the naturally formed Otter Springs that flows at an average temperature of 72 degrees. The cool, clear water continues to flow into the nearby Suwannee River, which fills with canoes and kayaks when conditions are favorable. Many of those explorers make their basecamp on the park’s 636-acre property, where tent campsites provide outdoor respite and more than 100 RV sites supply electricity, water, and sewer systems. The campground also houses air-conditioned cabins equipped with kitchens, bathrooms, and private front porches with rocking chairs for enjoying a cool evening or rocking a cranky parent to sleep. No matter their lodging, campers can stage feasts at a picnic area, clean up at bath and shower facilities, and decamp to a lodge with a dance floor that can accommodate 150 to 200 guests for events such as weddings, retreats, and family reunions. Conveniently located near restaurants, groceries, and convenience stores, Otter Springs Park & Campground is a short drive away from Gainesville’s thriving collegiate atmosphere.