The glittering, crystal-clear waters of North Florida’s natural freshwater springs are one of the state’s most compelling tourist attractions. The gorgeous turquoise and azure-blue waters of the natural boils and aquifers are perfect for a cooling swim in the heat of the day, or snorkeling and scuba diving in the caves underground. The State Parks that surround the springs offer wonderful opportunities for boating and canoeing through the natural beauty of the area, hiking down shaded trails, or discovering the amazing birds and wildlife that call North Florida home.
North Florida is home to the largest collection of natural springs on the planet, and wherever you turn you can find a hidden pool or swift-flowing stream to explore. Some springs, however, stand out from the rest, and whether you are looking for a family-friendly place to relax and swim, or an adventurous day diving into deep caverns or taking on white-water rapids, these five North Florida springs offer unique, exciting and truly special experiences.
Hours: 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days
Location: 2100 W French Avenue, Orange City FL 32763
Camping: $24 per night, plus tax, plus a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee. Includes water and electricity.
Cabins: $95 per night, plus tax, plus a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee.
Blue Spring State Park along the banks of the Santa Fe River is a truly special spot. Blue Spring itself boasts delightful 72-degree waters, perfect for a refreshing dip. The real standout feature of the Blue Spring run though, is its magnificent manatee population. Over 485 manatees call this stretch of water home during the winter months, making it an astonishing place to get up close to one of nature’s most fascinating creatures.
Snorkeling and scuba diving are available in the spring, while shaded trails in the State Park are perfect for hikers and explorers. Kayaking and canoeing are readily available, with several launch points along the river.
Hours: 8 a.m. - Sunset, 365 days
Fees: $2 per person. Children under 6 are free
Location: 19158 SW 81st Place Rd., Dunnellon FL 34432
Pristine parkland, sapphire-blue waters and centuries of fascinating history await visitors at Rainbow Springs State Park. Although the springs modern history is obvious, with man-made waterfalls and ornamental gardens evidence of a time when it was a private tourist attraction and mining operation, humans have lived near the fresh waters of Rainbow Springs for over 10,000 years.
These days, visitors come to walk the trails through verdant, mossy hammocks, discover the amazing birds and wildlife that call the State Park home, and go tubing down the Rainbow River.
Location: Ginnie Springs Outdoors, LLC, 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643
The exquisite natural beauty of Ginnie Springs is genuinely breathtaking, with some of the clearest fresh spring water in the whole of Florida. 200 acres of gorgeous park and forest lining the banks of the Santa Fe River, and the springs offer an amazing array of activities for adventurous nature lovers, from stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing and tubing to snorkeling and cave diving. Shoals of colorful fish and turtles offer something for nature lovers, while the shaded Springside campsites are a wonderful way to get in touch with the natural environment.
Ginnie Springs is the perfect spot for visitors looking to discover the beauty of the world around them while not sacrificing a little bit of luxury. Amenities include volleyball courts, covered pavilions, playgrounds, and even wifi-access, alongside wooden decking and entry stairs to every spring.
Hours: 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle. $2 Pedestrians, bicyclists, and extra passengers.
Location: 8300 NE State Road 6, Lee FL 32059
Hidden amidst verdant pine and hardwood forest, this unbelievably picturesque spring is a breathtaking oasis of crystal-clear waters and pure natural tranquility. Voted the No. 1 swimming hole in the entire country by USA Today, Madison Blue Spring is certainly one of the finest of the North Florida Springs and is a haven for families and nature lovers looking for a beautiful setting for picnicking, canoeing,and swimming.
The freshwater spring rises into a limestone basin just a stone’s throw from the Withlacoochee River and offers great opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and cave diving, as well as some delightful shaded nature trails for hikers and birders. The river itself is a great spot for paddling and tubing, with canoes, kayaks, and tubes all available for hire nearby.
Hours: 8 a.m. until sunset
A tram and shuttle service is offered by our park concessionaire.
The cost of tram service is $5.50 plus tax per person.
The cost for shuttle service is $7.50 plus tax per person which also includes tram service.
Location: 12087 SW U.S. Highway 27, Fort White FL 32038
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is probably the best tubing spot out of all of the North Florida springs or State Parks. The 2,669 acres of State Park is a haven for wildlife, and home to a number of gorgeous natural springs and freshwater boils (including the wonderful Blue Hole), but the real draw of this amazing little slice of paradise in North Florida is tubing the six-mile stretch of the Ichetucknee River. Rent tubes nearby, or bring your own, then lie back and relax as you float downriver under the canopy of shaded hammocks. This is without a doubt one of the best ways to see North Florida’s natural beauty at its very finest.