Ichetucknee Springs State Park is home to a spring-fed river, lush cypress canopies and cool swimming holes located in North Florida approximately 20 miles south of Lake City. A National Natural Landmark whose Indian name means “beaver pond,” the park contains eight major protected springs that bring water to the Ichetucknee River. It is one of Florida’s 33 first-magnitude springs, creating a run ideal for tubing, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The park is also a great destination for hiking, birding and wildlife viewing.
Under a contract with the Florida Park Service, Cape Leisure manages a host of activities on the crystal-clear waters of the Ichetucknee River, including river tube and paddling rentals, together with related transportation services. We also offer restaurant and retail services.
Challenge: Increase visitor offerings and make the park more guest friendly.
Strategy: With limited retail, food, and beverage offerings initially available, Cape Leisure first completed a $120,000 renovation of the main concession facility, creating a large air-conditioned indoor space to greatly expand retail and food services for park guests. This included enclosing the building’s open breezeway to create ticketing stations to sell tram transportation tickets to tubers, a service the Florida Park Service asked Cape Leisure to assume at the onset of the concession contract. These efforts set the stage for expanded services at the park for the public to enjoy the beauty and natural Florida environment within Ichetucknee Springs State Park.
With tubing historically the biggest draw in the park, and tube rentals available only through roadside vendors outside the park, Cape Leisure negotiated with the Florida Park Service to allow us to purchase the largest tube provider outside the park, bringing their assets and expertise into the park in 2017. This strategy greatly improved the guest tubing experience by simplifying and speeding the process of renting a tube and getting to the river. Cape Leisure added canoe, kayak, and standup paddleboard rentals within the park, retrofitting an abandoned on-site building as a base for a 120-boat Paddling Adventures rental fleet.
For environmental considerations, we agreed to eliminate tube access on the shallow, ecologically sensitive upper Ichetucknee River, with little objection from visitors who appreciate our commitment to preserving Florida’s natural settings.
We continue to invest in the offerings at Ichetucknee. Cape Leisure recently purchased five additional tram tractors and trailers to replace aging state-provided trailers, enhancing safety and reducing wait times for tubers. The company also renovated its Ichetucknee General Store retail space in 2022 and expanded marketing initiatives.
Talk to us and see how a partnership with Cape Leisure can solve your hospitality management needs.