Holmes Creek provides among the most diverse habitats and richest variety of fish and mollusks in the Choctawhatchee River basin. Its lower reach swells with azure springs, increasing average flow and providing distinctive stream havens for fish, reptiles and mollusks. A major summer congregation area for the federally protected Gulf sturgeon is just below the Holmes Creek confluence with the Choctawhatchee River.
Holmes Creek is also richer in freshwater snail species than any other river in the Florida Panhandle. Three as yet unnamed species of snails were found to be endemic, or confined, to the creek, Choctawhatchee and Chipola river drainages.
About a mile below the Highway 276A bridge, is Burn-Out Spring, the first significant spring source of the creek. From there on, are dozens of springs, seeps and sand boils worth exploring. The largest, Cypress Spring, is a second magnitude spring (74.8-748 gallons per second). Beckton Spring is also notable for its pristine habitat.
Holmes Creek is a state-designated canoe trail and may be accessed by several public boat landings. The District recently improved the canoe launch at Cotton Landing with pavilion and picnic area. Call the District Lands Division for a brochure, (850)539-5999.