When a state's highest elevation is only 345 feet above sea level, you wouldn't expect it to boast a 73-foot waterfall. But Florida, the flattest state in the nation, has an incredible waterfall aptly named Falling Waters. Falling Waters State Park is a 171-acre park, known for sinkholes, early American history, an abundance of wildlife and the largest waterfall in Florida. Located about an hour from Panama City Beach and two-hours from Florida’s state capital, Tallahassee, the waterfall is an easy detour off I-10.
Said to be heard from 100 yards away, the waterfall is accessible via a wiregrass boardwalk that gives visitors an up close view of the falls. If you're nervous about being so close to the sinkholes, there is an elevated platform for viewing.
While the state park is beautiful and open year-around, plan your trip after a heavy rainstorm to get the most waterfall. And don't forget to bring your camera -- the spray from the falls creates the gorgeous rainbows.
Wait. Did you say sinkholes?
Yup! But don't worry, if you stay on the trail you should be just fine.
Jacob Strickland, Falling Waters park manager, says "Most people know sinkholes as road pavement or backyards caving in. At Falling Waters, you get to see what real sinkholes look like. The awesomeness of them can take your breath away.''
While the waterfall is beautiful, the history of the land of the state park is actually very interesting. The park has many sinkholes that were used as hideouts by the Seminole Indians during the Seminole War. Later, it was the site of a Civil War gristmill, powered by the waterfall. In the early 1900s, it was the site of the first oil well in Florida, although it never produced enough oil for production.
Other than the waterfall, visitors can enjoy hiking, swimming, camping and fishing in the vicinity. The two-acre lake is home to bass, catfish and bream, and with a valid Florida fishing license can be fished year-around. For families traveling with kids, bring a few water toys and paddle around in the lake. If you want to extend your trip overnight, the park offers 24 camping spots with renovated bathrooms and showers.