Get out into wild Florida with a visit to Santa Fe Swamp! The Santa Fe Swamp WMA is a wildlife and environmental conservation area just minutes away from our North Central Florida B&B. Visitors to the conservation area enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, fishing, and more.
There are endless reasons to come and enjoy the rewards of a Florida getaway. One is a chance to get out and see some of the Sunshine State’s rich and resplendent wildlife.
The Starke/Hampton Lake area offers a number of opportunities to do so, with a variety of lakes, state forests, and conservation areas to explore. One such popular location is the Santa Fe Swamp WMA.
What is a WMA?
WMA stands for “Wildlife Management Area.” Florida has more than 5.8 million acres of WMA land across the state. WMA’s are conservation areas overseen by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in partnership with other governmental or private landowners.
The lands are managed for both conservation and recreation, making them more rugged and with fewer amenities than parks. This also means more habitat and more wildlife.
Santa Fe Swamp
Santa Fe Swamp is a floodplain swamp whose waters feed 8 miles of the upper Santa Fe River. During wet years, most of the ares stays underwater. Except for a service road along the eastern border, the swamp has no roads. There are 4 parking areas, however, and a number of trails.
Visitors to the Santa Fe Swamp WMA take advantage of the undeveloped land for hiking, biking, and horseback running. Wildlife photographers and birders enjoy the unspoiled nature of the area and its many wild inhabitants. The swamp provides habitat for everything from salamanders to alligators, bald eagles to wild turkeys, turtles, muskrats, bobcats, and squirrels.
In fact, a great many come to Santa Fe Swamp to hunt. Only primitive weapons, like bow and arrow or muzzleloaders are allowed. Hunting of white-tailed deer, feral hog, wild turkey, gray squirrel, and eastern cottontail rabbit is allowed during their respective hunting seasons.
Directions to Santa Fe Swamp
Santa Fe Swamp WMA conservation area is less than 15 minutes drive from Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast.
1. Take SW 71 to US-301. Turn right onto US-301 and prepare to turn left onto State Hwy 221 in a little over 500 feet.
2. Stay on 221 for about 2 miles, (it will merge with SW County Road 18).
3. Now turn right onto State Highway 325/Prospect Ave and follow it for around 3 and a half miles (it will turn into County Road 1471).
Access to Santa Fe Swamp is via the second left after SE 73rd St. The green address marker is 18011. This is a restricted road, you’ll need to use one of the provided parking areas.
A map and brochure with more information on Santa Fe Swamp can be found online at: myfwc.com.