Recently we took a few days to get away with our dogs and explore some more of Florida along the Suwannee River and surrounding areas. Needless to say, we arrived at Ichetucknee Springs State Park in the early morning when it was near freezing temperatures (no, really, it was just above 30 degrees). I am not sure if we were the only ones in the park or not - but we decided that it might be better to return a little later in the day and see if the temperatures got a little warmer and the sun was able to shine into the spring water. With all the rain we have been having this winter, the water levels are high on the rivers in this area (Suwannee, Santa Fe, Ichetucknee) - and that often makes the spring water 'dirty' because the darker water is intruding into the area where the spring is located.
The first stop was at the south gate which is located on Highway 27. That's where all the tubers get out of the water. The water is over most of the stairway - and there is no one around but us and the dogs. Maybe this gives you and idea, it's cold, dark, and lonely at this time of year! The tubing season is closed in the winter but you can still rent kayaks and canoes.
Next stop was to drive around to the North Gate - which is probably a 10 minute or so drive from the south gate (maybe longer, I wasn't watching the clock on this one). We took the trail that leads to this particular spring in the front - they had several people getting ready for a dive into the springs - lot of cave diving in this area. These divers were wearing 'dry suits' - I guess that way you don't get wet at all - I've not googled to see exactly what the difference between a 'wet suit' and a 'dry suit' is - but they almost look like a person when hanging (have feet and all).
In some areas, the water is still clear and you can see through it - but in general it's just a chilly winter day.
If it had been warmer, we might have hiked a bit (dogs aren't allowed in the spring areas) and perhaps watched for more fish and turtles in the water. We didn't see any alligators, but then if they were there, the water was warmer than the air - so I don't think they would have been coming out to sun themselves as much as they do in the summer time.
The atmosphere here in the winter is totally different than the summer - so if you're looking to get away from it all, this park might be an option in the winter!