Holmes County Home Page

  • Canoeing/Kyaking & Paddle Sports
  • Diving
  • Biking & Hiking
  • Wildlife Watching
  • Swimming

  • Holmes Creek
  • Econfina Creek
  • Vortex Spring
  • Choctawhatchee River
  • Lake Victor
  • Pine Log State Forest
  • Ponce De Leon Springs State Park



Canoeing/Kayaking & Paddle Sports

Holmes Creek                  Holmes Creek

Holmes Creek begins in Alabama and flows through areas with high sandy banks and beautiful hardwood swamps until its confluence with the Choctawhatchee River.  A popular canoe trail for beginning paddlers begins three miles north of Vernon at Cypress Springs and continue downstream for 12 miles to Live Oak landing off of CR 284.  Access points along the way give paddlers options for shorter trips.

Econfina Creek Canoe Trail

On this scenic canoe route, expect to pass by high limestone walls, sand bluffs and lush vegetation.  Experienced paddlers will find the upper portion of this remote and swift flowing creek to be a satisfying challenge.  Paddlers will pass by Blue, Williford, Pitt and McCormick springs. 

The lower section, from the canoe livery to SR 388 has a slower flow that makes it more suitable for casual canoeing.  Free public canoe put-in and take out facilities are provided at Scott's Road, Walsingham Park and SR 20.


Preparing for a Dive               Vortex Spring

Vortex Spring Inc. is the largest diving facility in the state of Florida.  Owned and operated by Divers, it is recognized as one of the best and safest diving and camping resorts in the country.  Accessibly located on a 360-acre playground of rolling hills and majestic pines, the spring produces approximately. 25 million gallons of crystal clear water per day at a year-round temperature of 68 degrees.

Conveniently located close to the spring, the dive shop offers a complete line of diving equipment. In addition, the shop provides quality equipment repair, as well as a very complete section devoted to rental gear necessary for safe cave exploration.

The spring basin is 50 feet deep at the mouth of the beautiful ledge-like cavern.  The room is well lit from surface light and Catfish, Freshwater Eels (harmless), Redhorse Suckers, and a school of very rare and exotic"Shadow Bass " will be your constant companions.

The lighted campgrounds offer picnic tables, grills, water, electricity, R. V. dump stations and modern bathrooms with showers. Vortex Spring offers group lodging in their newly remodeled 75-foot long "Pinewood Lodge " which includes air conditioned rooms, showers, kitchenettes overlooking Otter Creek.

Choctawhatchee River & Holmes Creek
            Water Management Area

Choctawhatchee River and Holmes Creek feature some of the best fishing available anywhere for catfish, gar, bream and bass.  The Choctawhatchee River passes through Holmes County and forms the border between Walton and Washington counties before flowing into Choctawhatchee Bay.  In addition, hunting opportunities include large and small game with archery, muzzle loading gun and general gun seasons throughout the county.

Lake Victor

Trophy largemouth bass are taken annually in the spring and early summer from this 130-acre Fish Management Area.  The impounded lake is also productive for channel catfish, and for bluegill (bream) and redear (shellcracker) fishing from mid-May to July.

Sandhill Ponds

This cluster of natural lakes in neighboring Washington and Bay counties provides good largemouth bass fishing in the spring and summer.  Many of the lakes range in size from 200 to 400-acres and most are accessed by un graded and unmarked sand roads between Chipley and Panama City.

*There are plenty of other "fishin' holes " and secluded hunting locations around Holmes County, but, we won't tell you where to get the big ones until you come for a visit!

Biking & Hiking 

Econfina Creek
Bike Trails      Water Management Area

The Florida Trail Association plans to extend its blazed hiking trail across much of the water management area, but there are short hiking trails available at two public parks (Pitt Spring and Walsingham Park) and in some of the primitive camping areas.  The Panama City Flyers Cycling Club and the Northwest Florida Water Management District are developing a public off-road bicycling trail north and east of Walsington Park.

Pine Log State Forest

Over 14 miles of hiking trails include almost nine miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail, the four-mile Dutch Tieman Trail, the two-mile campground Loop Trail and the nine-mile Crooked Creek Trail.  The Dutch Tieman Trail and the Crooked Creek Trail are open to both hikers and off-road bicycles. Some sections of the trails may be closed during hunting season.  Please check at the Environmental Center for maps and other information.

Ponce De Leon Springs State Park

Nature trails are also available at the Ponce De Leon Springs State Park, located in Ponce De Leon just off Interstate 10.  The park charges a small admission, however, the park includes two nature trails, a crystal blue spring for diving and swimming, covered picnic facilities including grills, and clean utilities.

Wildlife Watching

Don't Shoot!

Water Management Areas

Along the numerous springs, rivers and creeks in this region, it's easy to spot several varieties of turtles, sunning themselves on exposed logs.  Keep an eye out for signs that beavers have been at work - dams and chewed wood are reliable indicators. 

Typical bird species found in these river habitats in spring and summer include Mississippi and swallow-tailed kites, broad-winged hawks, Acadian flycatchers, summer tanagers, American Eagles, and prothonotary and hooded warblers, to name just a few.  Owls, pileated woodpeckers and red shouldered hawks may be seen year-round.  These bird-rich habitats also host deer, otter and many species of reptiles and amphibians.

While visiting, look for fox squirrels, a variety of woodpeckers and bobwhite quail in the upland pine forests. Deer, squirrels, opossums and raccoons are typically found throughout the county as well as turkey, and a number of summer breeding species.

Wildlife watching is most active in the following areas :

  • Choctawhatchee River & Holmes Creek
  • Falling Waters State Park
  • Pine Log State Forest
  • and many other regions in the area.

Ponce De Leon Springs & State Park

Nature Trail

Located in Holmes County is Ponce De Leon State Park and recreation area. This 443-acre park provides two nature trails, picnic tables, seasonal guided walks as well as self-guided tours.The waters of the two main boils of the spring produce fourteen million gallons of crystal clear water daily at a year round temperature of 68 degrees.

Many families bring their children to the springs for a great family outing to include swimming, a picnic and outdoor games. Recently, the park expanded to include larger picnic areas in order to accommodate birthday parties and family reunions. The picnic areas include above the ground cooking grills.

The grounds are maintained daily and include clean public facilities and provisions for handicap access throughout the park.


Blue Water & Cypress Trees
Crystal Blue Waters


Everyone enjoys a dip!
Public Swimming Area


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