Cool Day Trips

Falling Waters State Park

Falling Waters State Park Entrance Sign

About Falling Waters State Park

Falling Waters State Park is located on the panhandle of Florida in a town called Chipley. If you are traveling on Interstate 10 it’s exit 120 and from there it’s only 3 miles south.

There is some evidence that this park dates back to 450-100 AD although that is uncertain. Most recently (19th & 20th Century) is where you will find the most evidence of existence. There is evidence of a civil war era gristmill and an oil well.

The park was obtained in 1962 by the Florida Board of Parks and Historic memorials. It later leased the property to the Florida Park Service for it’s management.

What Does It Offer?

Falling Waters State Park features hiking, Geocaching, a butterfly garden, picnic tables, a small beach, primitive camping, a butterfly garden, and of course the falling waters.

Camping

Upon paying the entrance fee you will follow the road straight until you reach the parking area. If you were to make the first right you would enter the camping area. There are 24 campsites with water, electric, picnic tables, and grills. Pets are welcome if you bring their vaccination papers.

Falling Water Pavilion

From the parking area, you can see a picnic area with tables and bbq’s, the bathrooms, and a playground. On the edge of the parking area is some kind of stage. I’m not really sure what that is all about but I guess if you come with a group it’s a great way to address them.

There is also a road that leads off the far corner of the parking lot. It’s a dirt road that will take you to another small parking lot. This parking lot is used for access to the beach area if you are not interested in walking the trails. More on this area in a bit.


Upon our arrival, we made use of a shaded picnic table to have a little snack and drink some water while looking the place over and getting our camera ready. Behind the picnic tables was a covered pavilion with picnic tables. This pavilion can be rented for the day which would make for great family reunions.

After our snack it was off to the trails. The first thing we came upon was the bathhouse. The bathrooms were clean and well maintained. The butterfly garden was a short distance from the bathrooms on the left side of the trail.

Falling Water Sign

As you follow the paved then boardwalk type trail you came upon your first sitting area. It was a squared out wooden area with benches. Now if you are a Geocacher I will say there might just be a cache in this vicinity…lol…hint/hint.

From the squared-off bench area, you will have a choice of ways to go. One way will take you to the upper waterfall overlook, one to the lower waterfall overlook and one to the sinkhole overlook. There is also a handicap accessible path you can take.



At one point in the trail you will be able to continue on to the waterfall or climb a set of stairs and head to Turtle Lake. This is the long way to the lake. Ask me how I know…lol. You can access the lake and swimming area from the second parking lot I spoke about earlier.

The waterfall is Florida’s highest. It’s part of a 100 foot deep 20-foot wide cylindrical sinkhole. The water drops 73 feet then disappears into a cave at the bottom of the sinkhole.

Falling Water View

Leaving the sinkhole and backpedaling a bit will take you back to the steps I talked about earlier. Of course we had to continue our exploring and head up the stairs. Once at the top you are on the Winegrass Trail which leads you to the lake/beach.

Most of this trail is a boardwalk but as you near the lake/beach area it turns to grass/dirt. As you enter this part of the trail you can just follow it around to the beach area.

The Beach

The beach area is a small sandy area with a roped off area that you can swim in. There is a building with bathrooms behind the beach which were clean on the day we were there.

If you continue around the beach area on a small trail, there were two picnic tables on the side by the lake. On the day of our visit, the tables were sitting in very tall grass. There was a couple fishing from one of the tables. One thing to note is you will need a Florida freshwater fishing license to fish here.

Primitive Group Camping

Turning around and heading away from the beach lead us to a primitive group camping area. There were numerous picnic tables and a large fire pit in the middle.

Walking away from the primitive group camping area leads you back to a second parking lot. This is the one I was talking about earlier. If you just wanted to go to the beach area this is the parking lot you would use. To access it you would drive straight in from the entrance booth, drive through the main parking area and enter a small road off the back of the main parking area.

Pros

  • Picnic Areas
  • Covered Pavilion For Rent
  • Easy Nature/Hiking Trails
  • Primitive Camping
  • Florida’s Highest Waterfall
  • Clean & Well Maintained Facilities

Cons

  • Florida Freshwater Fishing License Needed To Fish

Final Thoughts

This park is a great way to spend the day with your family. They offer a little bit of everything. Pets are welcome in most areas but need to be leashed. If we were ever in the area with friends and/or family and were looking for a cool place to picnic, hike, check out some nature, and swim we would not hesitate to come back here. We enjoyed it and think you would too.

Date of Visit: May 30th, 2020
Cost As Of Above Date: $5 Per Vehicle
Pet Friendly: Yes, Must Be Leashed

Have you ever been to this park? If so, what were your experiences? Let us know in the comment section below.






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