10 Most Beautiful Natural Springs in Orlando to Visit This Year
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the name of the place Orlando? Be it a child or an adult everyone is crazy to visit theme parks and beaches. It comes as no surprise that not everyone knows about springs in Orlando.
More than 700 freshwater springs near Orlando, Florida are swim-worthy and picnicking with friends and family. Springs in Orlando are crystal clear and you can go for a swing, canoeing, tubing, kayaking, and hiking. The water is so relaxing and therapeutic.
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Springs near Orlando are so adventurous and refreshing compared to the crowd that amusement parks witness every day. Natural springs are formed when the groundwater flows out through a natural opening in the ground. The top springs in Central Florida are incredibly soothing.
It is the most incredible and least-explored place on Earth. But I can guarantee that if you know its beauty you’ll surely love to add it to your bucket list.
If you want to create magical memories different from others then come and visit the beautiful natural springs near Orlando. You can also explore the oranges groves in Orlando, they are equally gorgeous.
Being a native, I’ve created a list of the 10 best springs near Orlando to go to this weekend. All these are within two and half hours’ drive from downtown Orlando.
What is The Best Springs Near Orlando?
Summer, winter, or autumn, springs in Orlando, Florida are always accessible and great to visit. Most of the springs are located in the northern part of Florida, north of Tampa, and near the Gulf of Mexico. Springs in Tampa and Orlando are clean, and a lot of fun to do.
Here’s the list, if you’re visiting during the hot summer months, always remember to visit early and reward the empty spring to yourself.
1. Alexander Springs
Address: Ocala National Forest
Distance from Orlando: 1 hour 6 minutes
Fees: $6 per person
One of the best springs near Orlando called Alexander Springs, which is one of the 27 first magnitude springs, put out over 64 million gallons of water each day. The bewitching fact about the place is that the place has a water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. It attracts a lot of people with their families and kids all year round.
I would rate this as one of the best springs in Orlando for swimming. The gentle slope, the sandy beach with sparkling crystalline water makes it perfect for swimming for all age groups.
You can also go canoeing, kayaking, biking, camping, fishing, scuba diving, or a walk around the nature trails. The clear water allows you to use your snorkeling gear and underwater camera.
This is a couple-friendly Florida vacation spot where people engage with others and embrace adventure.
Tip: Stay aware of alligators.
2. Wekiwa Spring State Park
Address: 1800 Wekiwa Cir. Apopka FL 32712
Distance from Orlando: 23 minutes
One of the top hidden gems in Florida springs near Orlando lies Wekiwa Springs State Park, the oldest tourist attraction spot. It is one of the closest springs near Orlando, and you can either engage in some wild adventure or sit back and admire the beauty of the surrounding. There is a big swimming area where you can simply float and soak some sun.
The most famous adventure is kayaking on Wekiva Island. Kayak rentals are available here. It is a 35-minute trip to the island with gorgeous natural views. This oasis is a must-visit and you can go for a snorkel with marine life, or paddle up Rock Springs Run. Blooming purple flowers make this place mesmerizing and you can also see white-tailed deer, bobcat, or Florida black bear.
The water temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit and it produces 43 million gallons of water a day.
- Reach early in summer months before 8 am. The park has to limit entries.
- Stay aware of alligators
3. Blue Spring State Park
Address: 2100 W. French Ave. Orange City FL 32763
Distance from Orlando: 50 minutes
This is one of the best natural springs near Orlando with manatees. Blue Spring State Park is worth visiting. It is the largest spring on the St. John’s River which is best to visit in the summer season. In winter, swimming and paddling are not allowed because there is a lot of manatee in the water. You can also encounter Florida scrub jays and osprey’s birds and lush greenery around.
Hiking, scuba diving, fishing, riverboat riding, and a cool dip in 72-degree water are all fun and adventurous. If you are looking for spring with manatees near Orlando, this is for you. It is so clean and refreshing that it feels like the stress evaporates from the body.
This is one of the pretty springs in Ocala National Forest. It is surrounded by woodland and it is home to many flora and fauna. Thousands of tourists from the country visit here in winter to enjoy the warm water bath. This is one of my favorite natural springs near Orlando for tubing where I feel I’m close to nature and wildlife.
Tip: Arrive early because parking is limited
4. Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
Address: 5390 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 3269
Distance from Orlando: 2 hours
Fees: $15-$22 per person
Just a medium drive away lays a gorgeous and different spring in Orlando, Devil’s Den, which is perfect to click a thousand likes on an Instagram photo. This is an underground spring inside a cave that looks like a broken roof. Looking down to the crystal blue water underneath is quite an exciting moment itself! The temperature of the water is 72 – 73 degrees Fahrenheit.
Its beauty is mesmerizing and it has a link to the Rainbow River. You can go scuba diving, or snorkeling, inside the cave. Remember, this unique Florida spring is one of the most dangerous springs in Florida, and not more than 10 people are allowed inside. Swimming and children under 6 are not allowed to drive here. For a lifetime experience, you must visit this awesome spring.
The cave is draped with vines and from up the sunlight peeks into the water and the reflecting looks divine.
- Don’t bring any personal items with you down into the cave
- You can bring your camera at your own risk. I suggest getting a GoPro
5. Ginnie Springs
Address: 7300 Ginnie Springs Rd, High Springs, FL 32643
Distance from Orlando: 2 hours 7 minutes
Fees: $15 – $20 per adult/ $5 per child
One of the gorgeous clear and crystal blue springs in Orlando, Ginnie Spring. These caves are popular among people who want to drive, hike, swim, SUPs, kayak, or canoe. Along the bank of the river, Santa Fe lays a “true slice of pure Florida”. With a limestone bottom, this underwater cave is my favorite.
The water temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit. You can swim and relax in the Florida sun and enjoy college guys playing around. If you are visiting Orlando in a day, spend some time at Ginnie Springs with a lot of fun. You can even camp here. On the camping site, you can party with your friends and enjoy the night there. The water here is darker therefore, you can’t see deep inside the water.
I would suggest going for a tube run which is an hour’s walk from this place. You can escape the crowd and enjoy nature.
- Not open for 24*7 hours. Check their official website before visiting
- Crowded by college kids
6. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Address: 6131 Commercial Way Weeki Wachee FL 34606
Distance from Orlando: 1 hour 40 minutes
Fees: $13 for adults, $8 for children
To bring fun to your weekends, Weeki Wachee Spring State Park is a perfect day trip from Orlando and has a lot of things to do. This park is an amazing spring in Orlando to kayak with slides and a lazy river. You’ll be amazed to see the best world-class underwater theatre, mermaid shows, and wildlife demonstrations. These 538 acres of beautiful natural oasis welcome people all over the states.
This natural spring near Orlando also allows a boat tour for aged people. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a great place to spot manatees in Florida in winter. I would suggest getting up early in the morning and coming to the place because it gets crowded with time. I love floating on the Weeki Wachee River and enjoy the chilling vibe.
There is a spot called Hospital Hole, a deep sinkhole that is the best part of Weeki Wachee Spring State Park. Don’t forget to visit this.
Tip: You can get your inflatable kayak but the authorities won’t transport your kayaks back to the starting point. If you paddle with another person, someone can go back on the shuttle to get the car.
7. Kelly Park/Rock Spring
Address: 400 East Kelly Park, Apopka, Florida, 32712, USA
Distance from Orlando: 40 minutes
Fees: $3 for car of 2 people, $5 for 3-8people
Kelly Park is a natural park well known for hiking and camping. This is the best spring in Orlando for camping which gives you a chance to witness greenery all around. 8.5 miles outside Kelly Park lies Rock Springs which is 4 degrees colder compared to other beaches. Bring your inflatable tubes because it is a 25 minutes float from the start.
This place is surrounded by a lot of pine and oak trees which makes it perfect for a picnic spot. For paddling and fun activities, walk 2 minutes to go to Kelly Park’s Camp Joy. You can encounter little blue herons and tri-colored herons foraging along the banks of the river. Exploring this mesmerizing spring near Orlando is one of the best budget-friendly things to do in Orlando.
Tip: During storms and lighting swimming is not allowed
8. Rainbow Springs State Park
Address: 19158 SW 81st Pl Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432, USA
Distance from Orlando: 1 hour 20 minutes
Fees: $2 per person
One of the cleanest springs close to Orlando is Rainbow Spring State Park. This is the first magnitude spring which includes a series of small vents that expel over 400 million gallons of water per day. The swimming hole depth of 5-18 feet makes it a popular Florida spring for snorkeling, tubing, and paddling. This historic park is the fourth largest spring in Florida.
As the name suggests this is a perfect place to get natural red yellow and green shade pictures when the sun hits the water. This place is covered with gorgeous gardens, picture-perfect waterfalls and you also may encounter foxes, squirrels, deer, and turkeys. Early inhabitants believed that this was sapphire water that had all the healing powers.
Rainbow Spring State Park has the best hiking spots and lazy spots to lie down and watch the world running by.
9. Three Sisters Spring
Address: 601 Three Sisters Springs Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429, USA
Distance from Orlando: 1.5 hours
Fees: $12.50(in Summer), $20(in Winter) for adult.
Come here to explore all the natural trails like Lake Crystal, and wetlands. To come to this place you have to use paddle craft which is allowed from April 1 – November 14. In water, recreation is possible by only launching a vessel from any public boat ramps. You can also walk around the property along the Crystal River but extra fees are applicable.
Three Sisters Spring on Crystal River is one of the interesting swimming springs near Orlando.
- Never reach out to touch or interact with manatees.
- Wear a wetsuit if you plan to enter the water during the winter months.
- There is no water access to Three sister Spring from the Refuge, no access to land from the water.
10. Juniper Spring Recreational Area
Address: 26701 Florida 40, Silver Spring, Florida 34488, USA
Distance from Orlando: 1 hour 15 minutes
Fees: $6 per person
Juniper Springs is a freshwater spring in Florida near Orlando located in the Ocala National Forest. This is a small spring that looks like a swimming pool where you can try canoeing and kayaking. Climb up the Juniper Run through the Juniper Prairie Wilderness and get a beautiful view of the water and turtle floating on it.
This picturesque spring in Orlando is well known among photographers because of its amazing landscapes surrounded by pine forests, gum swamps, and cypress trees.
Tip: Be careful! you may spot an otter along the spring run or an American eel in the tape grass.
General Tips: Springs in The Orlando Area
To enjoy the fullest you need to prepare yourself before visiting any springs near Orlando therefore, remember to get the right swimming equipment. They are as follows –
- To see the spring water without hurting your eyes get a good quality mask and snorkel.
- It’s natural to get tired performing water activities therefore, bring a floating tube which will help you to enjoy the sun and relax in the water.
- It’s Florida and you need sunscreen. There is no way you can skip this therefore get a waterproof sunscreen and apply it to your whole body.
- After the relaxing bath, you need a towel to warm yourself. Get a lightweight dark color dry towel.
- You want to capture everything around you, but how? To make your memories evergreen get a waterproof camera like GoPro.
Be Careful while Exploring Springs in Orlando
It’s okay to have fun and explore the beauty of nature, but you should be careful and respectful at the same time. These Orlando springs are home to many flora and fauna. Therefore, it’s advisable to stay at the touristy spots and don’t go much deep, else you may not find a way to return.
There may be alligators or snakes in the water, so be careful while having fun. Follow the rules and regulations laid by the organization, remember, it is because of your safety. The above 10 are my favorite springs in the Orlando area that are very eco-friendly.
Almost every spring near Orlando are round accessible but if you don’t plan your visit then you might be a little looser. In winter, people come to these springs to see the manatees and swim. In summer, people come to escape the heat and enjoy the water away from the crowd.
Springs around Orlando allow a limited number of people, therefore, it is highly recommended to visit early to reserve your spot. Once we went to Devil’s Den around 10 am and had to wait for about one and half hours to get into the cave. Therefore, always plan early in the morning to escape this hustle.
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FAQ on The Best Springs Near Orlando
1. Are there any hot springs near Orlando Florida?
A: Yes, there is only one hot springs near Orlando, Warm Mineral Spring. This is one of the biggest hot water springs in the world and a major visitor attraction. It is rich in minerals that are beneficial for the health and mind.
2. What natural spring is closest to Orlando?
A: Just a drive away from Orlando lays some beautiful natural springs, such as Wekiwa Spring State Park, Ginnie Spring, Blue Spring State Park, Weeki Wachee Spring.
3. What is the best time to visit Orlando springs?
A: The best time to visit the springs in Orlando is from February to May. During this time the temperature is favorable and pleasant. The accommodations are cheaper and more affordable.
4. Are there alligators in Florida springs near Orlando?
A: Maybe. But alligators are not there in the swimming area; they can be there towards the river. Therefore, always be careful while you are exploring spring near Orlando.
5. What is the clearest spring in Orlando?
A: Rock Spring at Kelly Park is the clearest spring in Orlando. The temperature of the water is 68 degrees Fahrenheit and the water is crystal clear. With naked eyes, you can see the water.