Wildlife and Nature

From white-tailed deer to alligators and shorebirds to bald eagles, the rivers, lakes, beaches, trails, and natural areas of Wakulla County are havens for wildlife watching. Check out some of the prime spots for viewing various species so you can make the most of your trip.

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is one of the natural crown jewels of the region, so it comes as no surprise that it’s also an excellent destination for guests who are hoping to spot some indigenous wildlife during their visit. The world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs that anchor the park make an inviting place for humans to gather while the swamps that surround the springs also attract a variety of different bird species as well.

Mashes Sands Park

The beach at Mashes Sands Park just south of Panacea on the Ochlockonee Bay features a diverse ecological environment due to the meeting of the shoreline so close to the lush southern forests that abut it. Because of this, the park is home to a wide variety of animals, including several types of shorebirds and amphibious reptiles. You might even be able to spot some marine life such as manatees or dolphins in the water.

Ochlockonee River State Park

Along with the St. Marks River, the Ochlockonee River is one of the most vital aquatic conduits that runs throughout Wakulla County. It has long fostered an ideal habitat for many unique species of wildlife in the area. In addition to a boat ramp that provides easy access to the river, the park features numerous nature and hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the quiet parts of the park to search for wildlife. Be on the lookout for the rare red-cockaded woodpecker, which is among the most sought after finds for birding enthusiasts, and frequents the woods surrounding the river.

Wakulla State Forest

Wakulla State Forest is a thriving mixture of different ecosystems, including pine-hardwood forest, depression marsh, and sandwood. There are several different marked trails that are suitable for hiking or horseback riding. A trip through the trails of the Wakulla State Forest may net you a glance of a bobwhite quail, red-shouldered hawk, fox squirrel, or white-tailed deer.

Otter Lake

Wildlife enthusiasts flock to Otter Lake in the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge for the unspoiled beauty of swaying cypress trees lining a stunning lake. It’s a great place to have a picnic, and it’s also a favorite spot to see alligators, bald eagles, and many other species of birds.

There are simply too many incredible opportunities for wildlife watching in Wakulla County to see them all in a day trip. Check out our accommodations options to find the perfect base for you and your family to explore our natural wonderland and see many of the animals that call Wakulla County home.