10 Incredible Natural Springs near Tampa

When Will McLean wrote this famous composition, ” The beauty of Florida below me as thermal air currents..” many folk artists were inspired by it. He wasn’t lying about the magnificence of Florida. Even though the place is filled with tourists vouching for the sea beaches, it is time for us to experience the best Florida springs near Tampa.

These incredible, less populated spots are the hidden gems of Florida. The Sunshine State is one of the most beautiful landscapes of America, adorned with beaches, springs, wildlife, oak forests, etc. This summer, it’s time for you to get into the car and explore the best natural springs near Tampa, where the real fun waits for you!

best springs near Tampa, Florida

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Here is a list of the most beautiful springs in Tampa Florida:

Weeki Wachee Springs

It is a nature lover’s delight and is very famous for its iconic mermaid show. They perform in the aquamarine water that flows from a first-magnitude spring. The entire place is in beautiful shades of blue and green. It has also been discovered as the deepest known freshwater cave system in the United States. It is known as one of the best springs near Tampa and a perfect place to lose yourself in the lap of nature.

Weeki Wachee Springs | best natural springs in Tampa
Weeki Wachee Springs – PC: Flickr

Boat cruises and the unique opportunity to swim in the clear waters at Buccaneer Bay. Weeki Wachee Springs also provides you an opportunity to fulfill your adventurous dreams. Kayak and paddleboard rental facilities are available at the Weeki Wachee State Park ( reservations have to be made previously to avail of this facility).

Swimming is not permitted in the main spring. Only in the designated swimming area at Buc Bay, one can enjoy swimming. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by adults at all times.

  • Address: It is located in Spring Hill, Florida, at the intersection of S.R.50 and Hwy 19 and lies 2 hours west of Orlando.
  • Distance: It is a roughly 1-hour drive from Tampa.
  • Fee: Adults need to pay $13 while children aged 6-12 must pay $8 to enjoy one of the most beautiful natural springs near Tampa.

Tip: Never miss the famous mermaid shows and while out kayaking with kids, use proper safety gear.

Silver Springs: Best Springs Near Tampa

One of America’s largest springs with beautiful and crystal clear waters, it has been a top hit among couples looking for a romantic getaway in Florida. It has been a landmark for tourists searching for the best natural springs near Tampa area, since the 1870s.

Best springs near Tampa, Florida | Silver Springs
Silver Springs

Silver River, a 4.5-mile stream that flows east from the springs to the Ocklawaha River, is adorned with beautiful and protected banks along with wild jungle compliments to its beauty. The entire area is about 4,000 acres and has surrounding sandhill forests.

Many recreational activities may also be found like hiking, camping, paddling across the beautiful river, a trip to the museum, etc. It is one of the best springs near Tampa to kayak. One can bring their own kayak or rent it at the site. Special glass bottom boats are also available to have a glimpse into the underwater world.

  • Address:  1425 N.E. 58th Avenue. Ocala FL 34470, lies this beautiful spring.
  • Distance:  It is an estimated drive of 1hour 39 mins from Tampa.
  • Fee: $8, per vehicle needs to be paid by the tourist.

Tip: One must be very aware of surroundings because this place is home to wildlife.

Fanning Springs

It is one of the most blue-green-colored springs close to Tampa, with ancient oaks adding to its beauty. This freshwater spring has been attracting many tourists, for all seasons. Not only Fanning Springs is famous for being one of the most popular springs around Tampa, but it is also producing 65 million gallons of water every day, making it a second-magnitude spring.

Fanning Springs around Tampa
Fanning Springs

Tourists can enjoy the majestic live oaks and have picnics with their children in this beautiful scenery. Many animals can also be seen across the park-like white-tailed deer, gray squirrels, barred owls, etc. There are many adventure sports available like the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail allows you to paddle through the River of Springs, scuba diving is also allowed at Fanning Springs for underwater fun.

  • Address: It is located at 18020 N.W. Highway 19.
  • Distance: It is an estimated drive of 2h 21 mins from Tampa.
  • Fee: Tourists have to pay $6, per vehicle.
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Tip: One can choose to visit the Fanning Spring Community Church nearby.

Wekiwa Springs

Located just 97 miles northeast of downtown Tampa, this natural spring can be an amazing day trip from Tampa. This whole place is a diverse area enriched with beautiful plants and wildlife; one of the best springs in Tampa for camping. This is a part of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical area. This spring is an unincorporated area in Seminole County, Florida.

Tourists are attracted to the abundance of wildlife and it is one of the most popular springs in Tampa, during the summer season. One can swim in the beautiful freshwater spring, as it is very well known in the area as the best swimming springs near Tampa. The spring water is very refreshing and open to all tourists. The constant temperature of the water is at 74 degrees, which can be very soothing on a hot summer’s day.

Wekiwa Springs
Wekiwa Springs

More exciting experiences like birding, camping, bicycling, picnics, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, etc. are available for the guests. Kayakers can paddle along the Wekiwa River and Rock Springs Run. It is a great opportunity to relax in a naturally beautiful setting, maintained strictly to offer great attractions.

  • Address: It is located at 1800 Wekiwa Cir. Apopka FL 32712
  • Distance: It is a smooth drive of 1 hr 50 mins. from Tampa.
  • Fee: $6, per vehicle needs to be paid at the counter.

Tip: Gators are known to surround the waters, so one must be aware if they are paddling in the Wekiwa River. Tourists must be careful to not bring alcohol to the spring, or else they will be fined.

Ichetucknee Springs

Tampa is one of the top growing cities in Florida. You will find plenty of natural springs in this state. Ichetucknee Springs is such a delight for wildlife lovers and promises a weekend getaway in the cooling waters of Ichetucknee. Considered to be one of the great springs in Tampa, the waters are best enjoyed by canoeing or kayaking. It is Florida’s best springs near Tampa to kayak and paddle.

It takes about two hours to float down and a shuttle will be provided to help one reach the parking spot. An area of attraction throughout the entire year remains the Snorkel Blue Hole, which has a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit, all year.

Best springs near Tampa | Ichetucknee Springs
Ichetucknee Springs

The whole place is filled with the natural sounds of animals like turtles, birds, beaver, and wood ducks. Ichetucknee Siltsnail, Santa Fe Cave Crayfish, and beautiful species of butterflies can also be found. Tourists can also find a park forest filled with greenery of longleaf pines if they follow the trail. It is one of the best places to kayak with manatees in Florida.

  • Address: It is located at 12087 S.W. U.S. Highway 27 Fort White FL 32038.
  • Distance: It is one of the springs near Tampa, a drive of 30 mins.
  • Fee: Every vehicle needs to pay $6 at the counter.
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Tip: While floating, one must take the north entrance towards the south of Ichetucknee River. If kids are present, life jackets are a must for them. Keys and cell phones must always remain water-proof. Tobacco and alcohol are restricted in the area.

Homosassa Springs

It is one of the springs near Tampa, which is very famous for its beautiful picnic locations since the 1900s. Captive animals like the alligators, Key deer, flamingos, black bears, still find a place here. Homosassa Springs remain one of the most beautiful natural springs near Tampa, which aims at protecting the animals of nature.

Even though swimming is not allowed at Homosassa Springs, the cool waters have been attracting many tourists because it is filled with wildlife. Fresh and saltwater fish still remain in the natural spring and increase their beauty.

Homosassa Springs
Homosassa Springs

One can also go hiking along the trails, birding, and wildlife viewing here. Guides are available for a better understanding of the history of this place. River safari adventures are also available for tourists.

  • Address: At 4150 S.Suncoast Blvd, lies this spring.
  • Distance: It is a drive of 1 hour from Tampa.
  • Fee: Adults need to pay $ 13 and children $5; kids who are aged 5 and less may be admitted free of cost.

Tip:  If one is visiting in the months of January to March, they should enjoy watching the Florida manatees which swim through the river during this time.

Juniper Springs: Best Natural Springs in Tampa

This spring is located in the Ocala National Forest, east of Ocala, Florida. The dazzling blue waters of the springs make it one of the most beautiful springs in Florida. Tourists get the opportunity to kayak in the most accessible springs in Tampa to kayak.

Gators and turtles might be seen extensively in this area, and tiny fish at times might nip your feet in the spring waters. Flora life is in the magnificent shades of natural green; palms, oaks, cypress, wild blackberry shrubs, can also be seen.

Juniper Springs
Juniper Springs – PC: Flickr

One has to make sure that they do not carry any disposal bags in the area. Security maintains a tight check and it is important to preserve one of the most beautiful springs in Tampa. Snorkeling and swimming are also allowed and the Juniper Springs Millhouse generates fresh clean energy for the spring. The campground is very popular among visitors with numerous shady sites to keep the warm sun away.

Read Next: Top 10 Campgrounds in Florida That Adventurers Shouldn’t Miss

  • Address: It is located at 26701 Highway 40 Ocala National Forest, Silver Spring.
  • Distance: It is a 2hr 5mins drive from Tampa.
  • Fee: The entrance fee for this spring is $6.

Tip: Never miss the Juniper Run in Juniper springs, which is an incredible paddling experience. A visit to the Fern Hammock Springs is highly recommended for all tourists.

Silver Glen Springs

This place remains one of those springs near Tampa, which is the main attraction of Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area of Ocala National forest. This spring lies at the edge of the Big Scrub, alongside Ocala National Forest.

This is one of those freshwater springs near Tampa Florida, whose water flows directly into Lake George. Picnic spots, camping areas are flooded with tourists, especially during the summers. Bicycles and pets are not allowed in the area.

Read Also: 15 Incredible Florida Lakes You Must Visit

Silver Glen Springs
Silver Glen Springs – PC: Flickr

One can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and snorkeling in this peaceful spring. In the Recreation area, swimming can be enjoyed but boats are not allowed in the protected section. Many cabins are also provided for those tourists who want to spend the night.

  • Address: It lies near 5217 FL-19, Salt Springs, FL 32134.
  • Distance: It is roughly a 2hr 15mins drive from Tampa.
  • Fee: The entry amount is $6.
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Tip: Tourists should never miss the beautiful and unexpected oasis in the middle of the forest.

Alexander Springs

It is one of the most delightful springs in Tampa, shaped in the form of a pool. The entire place is beautifully surrounded by forests of maples, sweetgum, and cabbage palms. This place is lauded as the best swimming springs near Tampa. The blue-green spring waters are often filled with professionals enjoying photography with the crystal floor.

Alexander Springs near Tampa
Alexander Springs

Recreational activities like camping, canoeing, scuba diving, hiking, birding are enjoyed by the tourists. The best season to visit this place, according to locals is spring, but it remains most populated during summers. The crystal clear water of this spring remains at a constant 72-degree temperature. It is a dog-friendly springs near Tampa area, but your four-legged friends must be kept on a 6-foot leash.

  • Address: This spring is located between Astor and Altoona, along CR445 in the northeast corner of Lake County.
  • Distance: It is a drive of a minimum of 2 hours.
  • Fee: Park entrance fee remains $6 but tent camping is $21 per night.

Tip: One must be extremely careful of the raccoons, bears, and alligators which remain in the heavy woods. Children must be kept careful near the forest.

Rainbow Springs

It was previously known as Blue Springs. Tourists mainly flock to this place as it is regarded as one of the naturally blessed springs close to Tampa. The vast area for swimming is filled with little limestones and white sand. Many collect these beautiful stones as a souvenir from one of the best springs near Tampa.

Hiking is also popular and the walk through the beautiful artificial waterfalls is a must. Tourists can swim but only from 8 am to sunset time; this is restricted during thunderstorms or other bad weather conditions.

Rainbow Springs
Rainbow Springs – PC: Flickr

It is one of the many springs near Tampa to kayak, and canoes and kayaks can be easily found to rent. Turtles, herons, blue ibis are also a part of this beautiful spring area.

  • Address: It lies at 19158 SW 81st PI Rd, Dunnellon.
  • Distance: This spring is a drive of 1hr 36 mins from Tampa.
  • Fee: The entrance fee remains $2 for the tourists.

Tip: Security is very strict with litter. If one is caught disposing of waste, they shall be fined immediately; tourists must be careful to dispose of their waste in waste cans.

All of the above-mentioned beautiful springs near Tampa are famous tourists spots. These naturally adorned springs, surrounded by lush forests and exciting wildlife, makes it even more of an exciting adventure. Even though the Florida beaches are very famous but the springs in Florida near Tampa, have a quiet beauty of their own.

Visitors flock to these blue-green natural springs, especially in summers, with their kids. Most of these stunning springs around Tampa are short drives, which makes it a perfect weekend getaway from the hectic schedules of life.

There are a variety of attractions, in these springs, and you can choose any one of them, for your day off. This list of the best natural springs near Tampa will come as a blessing from the usual Florida heat.  The fresh, cool waters of the springs are the perfect choice for a hot summer day. Activities are also provided in abundance at these places, which one can enjoy. Wildlife, water sports, surrounded by beautiful waters are your chance at the perfect summer vacation!

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  1. Mark David says:

    This article is amazing although some of these springs are closer to a 3+ hour drive from Tampa.

    1. Thank you Mark. Yes, there are limited springs near Tampa but all of these are worth visiting.

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