Watermelon Pond is within the city limits of Newberry; 18 miles south of Gainesville. Relaxing trails wind through more than 4,000 acres of pastures, pinelands and shady hammocks overlooking glittering ponds ringed with marsh grasses.
Wild LIfe Viewing
Wildlife viewing is good year-round. Bachman’s sparrow, northern bobwhite, southeastern American kestrel, Sherman’s fox squirrel, gopher tortoise, eastern bluebird, sandhill crane and common yellowthroat can be seen here. Watermelon Pond and seasonal wetlands are home to a variety of wading birds.
Covered picnic tables are located at the northern entrance on 250th Street. A picnic spot is also available on the Blue Heron Loop overlooking Horseshoe Pond.
Hiking, Biking, Riding
Hikers, equestrians and off-road cyclists can explore loop trails for up to eight miles on the WEA. The trail system connects to the adjacent Goethe State Forest for an additional seven-mile loop. The two systems connect at a walk-through/ride-through entrance located north of the Goethe State Forest trailhead on CR 337. Bicycles and horses are restricted to designated trails or firebreaks. See the FWC Watermelon Pond Trail Map and link to the Goethe State Forest website to download their trail map
Watermelon Pond hosts archery and small game hunts. Quota permits are not required. Hunters must possess all appropriate licenses and permits. Check the hunt regulations and hunt calendar before you visit.