My friend and I took a nice morning paddle on the Santa Fe. We put in at St. Rd. 47. There is a park there right on the river with an easy launch. This section of the river isn't too developed yet and being a Sunday morning, it made for a very peaceful start to the trip. We were paddling upstream toward all the springs and the going was quite easy. We passed a small gator near the start and as things started to warm up we hit the highest density of turtles I've ever seen on a Florida river. We counted as many as 24 on a single log.
We were surprised when we hit Ginny Springs because of all the campsites on the river. The campgrounds must extend for nearly two miles. This increased the activity on the river with tubers, some boats and other canoes and kayaks. Once past this we were back in less developed areas and at lunchtime pulled in to a little park called Rum Island. There was a small spring there and a few picnic tables. We continued up river past Blue Springs, then Lily Springs and about a mile past this turned around came back to our put in.
We started around 9:30 and were out by around 2:30, so it was a very nice day trip. You'd probably have the river to yourself this time of year if you went in mid-week.
Small park with picnic tables.
Coming from I 75, get off at Rts.25, 20, 441 and head west. Turn south on Rt. 47 at Fort White and pull into the park after Rt. 47 crosses the Santa Fe.