Dixie County is a rural county with several very small towns and four paved roads that access a mostly undeveloped coastal wilderness on the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve. No long stretches of sand edge this secluded coast. Fresh and saltwater fish, boat or bird-watch along scenic estuaries. Natural salt marshes and tidal flats dotted with small islands, shallow water flats, and oyster bars teeming with fish, shrimp and shellfish attract thousands of shorebirds.
Three of the county's lines are defined by water - the Gulf of Mexico and the Steinhatchee and Suwannee rivers. The Suwannee River flows 266 miles from the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia through swamps, high limestone banks, hammocks of hardwood, and salt marshes to the very small fishing village of Suwannee (pop. 300) on the Gulf of Mexico. Suwannee is surrounded by the 53,000-acre Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest undeveloped river-delta estuarine systems in the country where freshwater fishing in the river and saltwater fishing in the gulf are popular.
Horseshoe Beach, an even smaller community settled in the early 1800s and owned by lumber companies until 1935, sports one of Dixie's two small public sand beaches. Here, visitors will find restrooms, picnic tables, 25 parking spaces, restaurant, full-service marina, ice cream shop, two churches, rental cabins, a waterfront park and a general store. Shired Island County Park claims the other sandy patches of beach featuring a boat ramp on the Gulf of Mexico.
The Nature Coast State Trail - an easy-use, paved, 32-mile ADA trail used for bird-watching, fishing, horseback riding, inline skating, mountain biking, road bicycling, running, swimming, walking, day hiking and wildlife viewing - is managed by DEP's Office of Greenways and Trails. It highlights a historic train trestle trail that crosses through Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties and over the Suwannee River connecting five small, rural towns: Cross City, Old Town, Fanning Springs, Trenton and Chiefland.
Dixie's other point of interest is the City of Hawkinsville, which is not a city, but an abandoned, sunken steamboat in the Suwannee River. Now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve, it carried cargo and lumber between 1889 and 1922.
November 19, 2021 - 9:48am
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.