Dixie County was created in 1921 from the southern portion of Lafayette County. “Dixie” is a common nickname for the southern United States.
You can search the Florida coast up or down but you won’t find more reliable saltwater fishing than what exists between Cedar Key and Steinhatchee. That’s the Dixie coastline and Suwannee Sound. Expect to catch redfish, cobia, sea trout, offshore grouper and more. Marinas can put you and your boat on the water or professional guides await your call.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 864 square miles (2,240 km2), of which 705 square miles (1,830 km2) is land and 159 square miles (410 km2) (18.4%) is water.
Things to do in Dixie COunty
Every mile of the Suwannee River in Dixie County offers great fishing opportunities. Bigmouth Bass, Catfish and Red Belly are among the numerous fish in their pristine river. Year-round saltwater fishing is found off the Dixie coast line between Cedar Key and Steinhatchee. Sea Trout, Redfish, Cobia, Mackerel, and Grouper are abundant in their coastal waters. Professional guides are available at both Suwannee and Steinhatchee.
In Dixie County you will find several delightful, little-known springs accessible by boat as well as car. When spring-hopping in northern Florida, be sure to stop in at Gornto Springs, a County Park located in the north east section of Dixie County. Right on the border of the county is Fanning Springs, a state recreational area with full swimming and diving facilities and the home of Red Belly Day. Also close by is Manatee Springs in Chiefland. During the winter months, manatees are often viewed at these springs.
Birding spots abound in Dixie County. The Swallow-Tailed Kite is seen here May to Sept., very often in the Lower Suwannee Wildlife Refuge. Red-Tailed and Red-Shouldered Hawks are common sights as are Ospreys and the American Kestrel. American Bald Eagles are often seen and very often nesting along the river. At the forest edges you will see Titmice, Vireos, Chickadees, Flycatchers and Martins along with at least eight different Woodpeckers. Sandhill Cranes frequent the area during the winter months.
Wading and shore birds are common at all times and warblers migrate through during the spring and fall.
For decades, Dixie County has been known as one of Florida’s finest hunting territories for white-tailed deer, turkey, wild hog and small game.
This is still true today due to three types of hunting enviro-systems: (1) Private hunt clubs which foster wild game on thousands of acres of wilderness; (2) State-managed wildlife areas where games species are encouraged and (3) Federal wildlife refuges which offer high quality seasonal hunting on a quota basis.
Dixie County is bordered on three sides by water so boating opportunities are numerous.
Excellent marina facilities are located at the Suwannee River, Suwannee at the Gulf, Horseshoe Beach and at gulf-front Steinhatchee.
Public boat ramps are available on the Suwannee River and the Steinhatchee River. Boaters and fishermen can put in at Gornto Springs, Hinton Landing, Yellow Jacket Landing, Purvis Landing, Pine Landing and Jena.
Public boat ramp access for the Gulf of Mexico is available at Jena, Rocky Creek, Horseshoe Beach, Shired Island and Suwannee.
Their new Nature Coast Greenway and the Suwannee to Shired Wilderness Trail offer great adventures to hikers, bikers, horseback riders, 4x4ers, and RVers. World class photo opportunities and beautiful vistas lie around every corner.
The NEW Nature Coast State Recreational Trail is now open! The Trail extends from Cross City to the Suwannee River (approx 14 miles).
The Suwannee River
promises spectacular scenery and easy downstream canoeing and kayaking. Several marinas and campgrounds now rent canoes but most paddlers bring their own. In the Lower Suwannee region, tributaries such as Salt Creek, Monden and Shingle Creeks are definitely worth exploring. The Shire Island area and the Nowhere coastal creeks also offer paddling surprises.
A great spot for divers is the historic City of Hawkinsville underwater State Park located near the Nature Coast Greenway bridge across the Suwannee River. The City of Hawkinsville is a paddleboat that lies in swallow water. It is accessible by boat only.
Fanning Springs is considered a great open water dive with its crystal clear water and nearby Manatee Springs offers cave diving for certified divers.
For Gulf diving, bring your spear gun. Grouper and flounder are just two of the many fish to be bagged.
Nature Coast State Recreational Trail
The Nature Coast State Recreational Trail is now open from Cross City to Chiefland and Trenton. A distance of approx. 22 miles to either city. The smooth pavement is suitable for bicycle, rollerblade, walking or running. Motorized vehicles are not permitted.
The most beautiful section of the trail has to be where it crosses over the Suwannee River in Old Town. Many people start their trip on Highway 349 in Old Town and bicycle over to Fanning Springs.
The State of Florida has purchased the old Train Depot in Cross City and is currently renovating the building for a railhead. Restrooms and pavilion are complete and work is continuing on the main building.
Facilities are also available at Fanning Springs State Recreational Park. Fanning Springs is located about half way between Cross City and Chiefland and Trenton. Bring your swimming outfit, the water is always 72 degrees.