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O’Leno State Park and River Rise Preserve

May 15, 2020 by Corey A Edwards

O'Leno State Park River Sink

The Santa Fe River Sink at O’Leno State Park

Looking to get out, away from the crowds, and soak up some of Florida’s natural beauty? O’Leno State Park and the nearby River Rise Preserve offer hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, sinkholes, and even an underground river!

O’Leno State Park has the distinction of being one of Florida’s first state parks, developed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The park is located along the banks of the Santa Fe River, about 45 minutes west of our north Florida inn, Hampton Lake Bed and Breakfast.

Interestingly, the Santa Fe River disappears underground into the Bellamy Cave system as it passes through the park. The river flows through limestone passages, some 140 feet below ground, before reemerging three miles away in River Rise Preserve State Park.

The River Sink, where the Santa Fe disappears below ground, is located about a half mile downstream from O’Leno State Park’s main parking area. When river levels are low, the sink resembles a simple pond. When water levels are high, however, the sink swirls down and around in a counter clockwise direction.

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Explore Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

May 17, 2019 by Corey A Edwards

Paynes Prairie Preserve STate ParkLooking to get out into the great outdoors during your North Florida adventures? Great idea! Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast is surrounded by a number of parks and recreation areas, such as Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.

Florida is a natural wonderland, lush with unique and vibrant flora and fauna and Paynes Prairie Preserve is a great place to see some of it. The preserve is home to wide and sometimes surprising variety of species. Along with the expected alligators and deer, Paynes Prairie Preserve is also home to herds of wild horses and bison!

Birders, in particular, will find a lot to love at the preserve, with almost 300 different species of birds. Black cormorants, blue herons, white ibis, belted kingfisher, snail kites, anhinga, and many others. can be found here throughout the year.

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Explore Santa Fe Swamp WMA Conservation Area

October 26, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Florida's Santa Fe Swamp WMAGet 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.

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