Florida Paddling Trails Association

Jackson County Blueway Community

Options: Back 


Russ House - Marianna

Historic Russ House  Visitors Center, Marianna

Jackson County  was established in 1822 as Florida's third county.   Friendly small towns include Marianna, Sneads, Grand Ridge, and Alford.  Historic Marianna is known  for southern hospitality, ecotourism, and the state's only cave tours at Florida Caverns State Park. Marianna is steeped with history including a Civil War battle fought within  the town limits. Florida's governor during the Civil War, John Milton, is buried in the Episcopal church cemetery. The streets are lined with antebellum homes, large oak trees and friendly people. 

Stop by the Russ House Visitor's Center, located on the corner of Lafayette Street and US 90, to learn more about the area's attractions including the Spanish Heritage Trail and Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail.



Paddling Chipola River

Canoe, kayak and paddle board enthusiasts love to explore some of Florida's most beautiful paddling trails in Jackson County. Paddle the new Upper Chipola River Paddling Trail, a site on the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail. View wildlife, catch tasty fish,  and discover the natural bridge where Andrew Jackson crossed at  Florida Caverns State Park.  The original Chipola River Paddling Trail begins below Florida Caverns State Park at SR 166 (Yancey) Bridge  and flows 51 miles to it's designated end at Scotts Ferry on SR 71.  

Jackson County offers boaters, anglers and paddlers crystal clear, spring-fed Merritt's Mill Pond and the delightful cypress-ringed Ocheesee Pond.


                                            Merrits Mill Pond    



                                                  Ocheesee Pond  


Florida Caverns

Explore Florida Caverns State Park

Things to Do in Jackson County      
Blue Springs Recreational Area
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail

Battle of Marianna tour

Cave diving

Florida Caverns State Park     

Paddle or tube Chipola River, Spring Creek, Ocheesee Pond, Merritt's Mill Pond

Ski Compass Lake, Round Lake

Fish Lake Seminole

Tour the historic Russ House


Blue Springs Recreation Area




Upper Chipola River Paddling Trail Celebration

Florida's 51st Designated Paddling Trail


The Florida Office of Greenways & Trails joined Jackson County officials in celebrating the Upper Chipola River Paddling Trail as the latest addition to the Florida's Greenways & Trails System. Local and state officials gathered riverside on Friday, December 12th at Christoff Landing near Marianna.  As part of the ceremony, representatives from the Florida Paddling Trails Association recognized Jackson County as an official “Blueways Community.” Afterwards, paddlers experienced the new trail by paddling to Florida Caverns State Park. 

“Recognition of this new paddling trail will expand recreation opportunities and boost the local economy,” said Donald Forgione, Director of the Florida Park Service. “This is a highly scenic trail of clear springs and shady canopies that is sure to be popular.” 

As Florida's 51st designated paddling trail, this upper portion of the Chipola River begins at Christoff Landing, managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District. A convenient primitive group campground is nearby.  Home to abundant wildlife and excellent fishing, the river meanders about 4.5 miles through floodplain forests, past crystal-clear springs, and ends at the boat ramp within Florida Caverns State Park.  Log jams in the river have been adequately cleared by Jackson County officials to allow small fishing boats, canoes, and kayaks to safely navigate the waters.  It may also be possible (depending on water levels and downed trees), to paddle upstream to the historic Bellamy Bridge, the scene of colorful ghost legends.

 Jackson County is home to a wealth of excellent boating, fishing, and paddling waterways within a region of great biodiversity and outstanding wildlife habitat.


Citrus County Visitors & Convention Bureau

Join FPTA and advertise with us!