Dixie at a Glance
|Coastal Cities||Horseshoe Beach|
|Popular Spot||Nature Coast State Trail|
|Sandy Beaches||400 feet|
|Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail||2 sites|
|State Parks & Lands||Acres|
|Manatee Springs State Park||2,448|
|Big Bend Seagrasses State Aquatic Preserve (Taylor, Jefferson, Levy, Wakulla)||945,000|
|Big Bend Wildlife Management Area (Taylor)||71,903|
|Lower Steinhatchee Conservation Area (Taylor)||5,378|
|Upper Steinhatchee Conservation Area (Lafayette, Taylor)||23,368|
|St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
(Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor)
|Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge (Levy)||51,984|
|Bays & Inlets|
|Deadman's Bay, Horseshoe Cove, Suwannee Sound|
|Rivers & Paddling Trails|
|Steinhatchee, Suwannee Rivers, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway|
Dixie County is a rural county with several very small towns, 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 teaming with fish, shrimp and shellfish attract thousands of shorebirds.
Three of the Dixie's borders 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, historic sites, horseback riding, in-line skating, mountain biking, road bicycling, running, swimming, walking, dayhiking, and wildlife viewing, is managed by FDEP's Greenways and Trails. It highlights a historic train trestle trail that crosses through Dixie, Gilchrist, 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. On the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and as a Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve, it carried cargo and lumber between 1889 and 1922.