Florida’s natural springs are a hidden gem, offering crystal-clear waters, stunning scenery, and a chance to escape the heat. From swimming to kayaking, these springs provide an unforgettable outdoor experience.
In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the best natural springs in Florida, complete with insider tips and must-see attractions. Get ready to dive into a world of natural wonder and adventure!
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Not only freshwater springs but Florida is also blessed with beaches with the clearest water, some amazing hot springs, and tide pools. Instead of spending a day in crowded amusement parks, you can visit some of the best hot springs in Florida to heal your body and soul.
Did you explore the gorgeous pretty springs in Ocala National Forest? You should visit here for some great memories in your lifetime.
Table of Contents
Best Natural Springs in Florida
1. Ginnie Springs in North Florida
Located at southwest of Jacksonville, Ginnie Springs is one of the best clear springs in Florida. Scuba diving and snorkeling gears are available for rentals. Did you yet check out the gorgeous springs near Jacksonville? You should!
You can also rent a kayak and paddleboard and explore the springs. Want to just relax? Rent a tube and float down the Santa Fe River and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding areas.
The green shady trees lining the bank of the Santa Fe River make Ginnie Springs more blissful. The combination of clear turquoise water and sandy limestone at the bottom is a paradise for divers and snorkelers.
The main highlight of this spring is the 1,000 feet of subterranean passages underneath a 50-foot head spring that opens a new world of 30,000 feet of passages.
Ginnie Natural Springs has one of the best campgrounds in Florida with all amenities for RVers. It boasts volleyball courts, a playground, picnic areas. Enjoy a lovely weekend with your families.
Address: 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, Florida
2. Rainbow Springs – Dunnellon
It is the oldest and one of the largest springs to go in Florida. The cultural history, natural beauty, clear water, and limited shallow areas make Rainbow Springs State Park a popular natural spring in Florida to swim and snorkel.
But before indulging in a refreshing dip, visitors are encouraged to walk through the moss-covered Cypress trees to discover the world of floral gardens, incredible waterfalls, and five main gorgeous springs.
You can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, tubing, canoeing, and kayaking in Rainbow Springs. You can also explore the hiking trails and if you are lucky enough, you can even spot fox squirrels, turkeys, and deer.
It is a family-friendly spring in Florida where you can relax with your kids. Your kids can enjoy the large rope-off area for swimming with a dock and stairs. Jump off of docks or swing off of ropes that are tied to tree limbs. The spring water stays at a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
Address: 19158 SW 81st Place Road, Dunnellon, Florida
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3. Royal Springs
Address: 20051 157th Lane O’Brien, FL 32071
Royal Springs is one of the most stunning natural springs in Florida. I had the pleasure of visiting this spring on a recent trip, and I was blown away by its beauty. The water is crystal-clear and a vibrant shade of blue, with plenty of fish and other wildlife swimming around. The surrounding forest is lush and green, with towering trees providing shade and shelter from the sun.
One of the best things about Royal Springs is that it’s relatively quiet and uncrowded. Unlike some of the more popular springs in Florida, you won’t have to jostle for space or deal with loud crowds. This makes it a perfect spot for a peaceful day of swimming, kayaking, or simply lounging by the water.
If you’re planning a trip to Florida and want to experience the natural beauty of the state, I highly recommend adding Royal Springs to your itinerary. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
4. Three Sister Springs – Crystal River
For a unique experience to swim with manatees, Three Sister Springs must be on your bucket list. Undoubtedly, it is a thrilling as well as a fun experience to observe these gentle giants from a close distance. You can take a tour and an expert guide will introduce you to these endangered species.
You can rent a canoe, kayak, or snorkeling gear from Hunter Springs Park or Kings Bay Park and explore the pristine wonderland by yourself. If you are looking for natural springs near Tampa, go for it. The water of the Three sister Springs is so clear that you can see through it.
Just about 78 miles north of Tampa, Crystal River can only be accessed by boat. Many tourists visit this spring as a day trip from Tampa. Enthusiast divers can also visit Kings Spring which has an underwater cave to explore. It is also the largest spring in Crystal River that span 75 feet across.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the springs without getting wet, walk along the boardwalk at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, which offers 57 acres of wetlands to explore.
Crystal River is also known as ‘water lover’s paradise‘. The combination of water activities, nature, and wildlife makes Three Sister Springs one of the most beautiful springs in Florida.
Address: 123 NW HWY 19, Crystal River, Florida
5. Ichetucknee Springs State Park – Fort White
This natural Florida spring is located in Ichetucknee Springs State Park on the Ichetucknee River. It is one of the best springs in Florida for tubing.
There are nine natural springs that fed the Ichetucknee River. Blue Hole Spring is the largest one among these 9 springs and is popular for divers looking to explore the underwater wonderland.
You can enjoy a relaxing float down the six-mile gentle river. Swimming, kayaking, and canoeing are also popular in this scenic destination. 68 million gallons of water flow through the springs daily, and you can even feel the push-back when swimming.
The tame Blue Hole trail, Tressle Point trail, Pine Ridge trail are some popular trails that you can hike. During your visit, you can spot some native animals, including beavers, turtles, wood duck, wild turkey, otters, and wood ducks.
Read Also: Top 15 Best Budget Hiking Boots
Tip: Being a popular natural spring in Florida, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is crowded during holidays and weekends. Try to visit this place on a weekday and go early.
Opening Time: 8 a.m. to sunset
Entry Fee: $6 per vehicle
Address: 12087 Southwest US 27, Fort White, Florida
6. Wekiwa Springs State Park
Located in Apopka, just 15 miles north of Orlando, Wekiwa Springs State Park is one of the best springs in Orlando. It has long been a destination for families, campers, college students, and local Floridians seeking the delightful experience of swimming and snorkeling.
Unfortunately, neither scuba diving nor jumping is allowed in Wekiwa Springs due to the shallow depths. On the other hand, it is a perfect kid-friendly natural spring near Orlando.
The spring water comes from the underground cave and the water temperature remains around 72 degrees year-round.
Visitors can rent kayaks and canoes to explore more of the park by paddling on the Wekiva River. If lucky, you may find some native wildlife such as otters and wild birds.
With so many activities and so much wildlife to see, it’s no wonder that Wekiwa Springs is one of the best natural springs in central Florida.
7. Silver Glen Freshwater Springs in Florida
Silver Glen natural springs is one of the best springs in Florida. The blue-green water is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Scuba diving is not allowed in this Florida spring to protect wildlife.
The aquamarine waters of the spring contrast with the encompassing quaint forests of pines, oak, and cedar trees making it a picturesque place that you shouldn’t miss while visiting Florida.
The spring is connected to Lake George, one of the best lakes in Florida. It results in a variety of freshwater and saltwater fishes along with manatees seeking comfort from the cold waters in the winter season.
Located in Ocala National Forest, Silver Glen spring is a remarkable archeological site in Florida. If you have got sharp eyes, you will spot fossilized snail shells embedded within the middens along the shores.
Tip: Try to reach early as capacity is limited here.
Address: 5656 E. Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, Florida
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8. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Spring Hill
If you are looking for the best springs in Florida for families, you cannot go wrong with Weeki Wachee Springs. From the fantastic mermaid show, and wildlife shows to relaxing boat cruise this natural Florida springs has multiple attractions to enjoy with your whole family.
You will find kayaks and canoe launches nearby. Weeki Wachee is one of the deepest springs in Florida. Kayaking, canoeing is a great way to enjoy the scenery. You can take a dip to cool off in the crystal clear water, and enjoy swimming and snorkeling but only in the Buccaneer Bay.
Don’t miss Buccaneer Bay, the adjacent water park fed by a first-magnitude spring. This Florida water park has amusements and slides for all ages.
Address: 6131 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee, Florida
9. Devil’s Den Spring – Williston
Another central Florida spring, Devil’s Den is an underground prehistoric springs in Florida located in the rural part of the north of Ocala. For the most unique experience, you must visit this Florida hidden gem.
Lying in a prehistoric cave, Devil’s Den Spring is 120 feet in diameter and 52 feet at its deepest part. The temperature of the spring remains 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making it one of the best natural springs in Florida.
Devil’s Den Springs is a heaven for snorkelers and scuba divers. You can look through the clear aqua water and see the fishes swimming around you. Lucky people can spot turtles too.
The best view of this spring is the karst window that allows the outer sunlight to shine through. If you don’t want to get wet, just enjoy this view and take as many pictures for your Instagram feed.
Cabins are available for lodging along with tent and RV camping.
Note: If you cannot swim, you are not allowed to dive or snorkel in the spring. Avoid visiting during busy summer weekends as the capacity is limited.
Entrance Fee: $15/person(snorkeling and scuba diving charges extra)
Opening Time: 9 am – 5 pm daily(except Christmas Day)
10. Alexander Springs – Altoona
Located in Ocala National Forest, Alexander Springs is one of the best springs in Florida for kayaking and tubing. This place is not only for water activities, you can hike and watch wildlife before plunging into the spring.
Timucuan Trail is a popular 1.1-mile loop trail adjacent to Alexander Springs. This scenic trail is surrounded by semi-tropical vegetation used by the native Indians. Timucuan trail is mostly shaded with half boardwalk and half non-boardwalk.
When you’re done hiking, visit the beautiful Alexander Springs. The water of the springs is absolutely beautiful, crystal clear and a refreshing 72 degrees all year round. Enjoy swimming and snorkeling and explore the underwater world.
There are kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards available for rent. These are a great option for visitors looking to explore the lush hidden waterways of the St. Johns River.
Entrance Fee: $10/person
Address: 49525 CR 445, Altoona, Florida
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11. Peacock Springs
Address: 180th Street Live Oak FL 32060
Peacock Springs is a breathtaking natural wonder located in Suwannee County, Florida. This spring system comprises two main springs, Peacock and Orange Grove, along with several smaller springs and sinkholes.
The water is crystal-clear and a deep blue color, providing a perfect setting for swimming, snorkeling, and cave diving. The surrounding forest is lush and green, with plenty of wildlife to observe.
Peacock Springs is also known for its extensive underwater cave systems, making it a popular destination for experienced cave divers. Whether you’re an experienced diver or simply looking for a beautiful spot to swim and relax, Peacock Springs is definitely worth a visit.
12. Juniper Springs
Ocala National Forest is the home of a couple of natural springs in Florida. One of these is Juniper Springs located just a 3-hour drive from Sarasota. This stunning Florida springs is perfect for photography enthusiasts.
Although February in Florida is one of the best times to visit natural springs in Florida, Juniper Springs can be visited at any time of the year. The aqua blue water of this oval-shaped spring is a joy to swim and snorkel.
Kayakers can enjoy the scenic route of the 7-mile long Juniper Springs Run while the sunlight peeks in through the towering pines and oaks. It’s truly a magical experience that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Once you’re done with the water, explore the nearby nature trail that winds through the area. It’s a perfect place for nature lovers to spot turtles, alligators, deer, raccoons, and different species of birds.
Address: 26701 East Highway 40, Silver Springs, Florida
13. Madison Blue Springs
Madison Blue Springs is an excellent example of a beautiful northern Florida spring. The breathtaking view of the spring will leave you awestruck. It is a great destination for people looking for the best springs in Florida for swimming.
As you enter this state park, you can feel the essence of this place. This 150-foot deep blue water spring is surrounded by lush green pines and hardwoods. The contrast of the green forest and aqua blue color of this first-magnitude crystal clear spring offers incredible views.
Swimmers and snorkelers will definitely love this swimming hole in Florida. You can see different types of fish like catfish, sunfish, turtles, and aquatic creatures as well as stunning rock formations.
Experienced divers can explore underwater caves. Kayak and canoe rental services are also available in Madison Blue Springs. For a relaxing experience, float down the river with a tube.
Opening Time: 8 am – 5 pm
Entry Fee: $4 – $5 per vehicle and $2 for pedestrians
Address: 8300 NE State Road 6, Lee, Florida
14. Gilchrist Blue Springs – High Springs
What more to add to your list of the best springs in Florida? You should not miss Gilchrist Blue Springs. It is not a hot spring in Florida, rather the water is cold and perfect for a refreshing dip in hot summer.
Apart from the spring, you can go hiking and enjoy a picnic under the shade of the sprawling oak trees with your family. The water of the spring is crystal clear which is great for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. There is a wooden diving platform to jump into the water.
In conclusion, Florida’s natural springs are a must-visit for anyone planning a trip to the Sunshine State. With their stunning beauty and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, they truly are Florida vacation essentials. Whether you’re looking to swim, snorkel, kayak, or simply relax in nature, these springs have something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to experience the best natural springs in Florida on your next vacation!
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1. Are the natural springs in Florida safe for swimming?
A: It depends on the specific spring and the water conditions at the time, but generally, many of Florida’s natural springs are safe for swimming and are a popular recreational activity. It is always recommended to check water quality reports and any potential safety hazards before swimming.
2. Do I need a permit to visit the natural springs in Florida?
A: Some springs require permits for certain activities, such as camping or boating, while others may not require permits for simply visiting and swimming. It’s best to check with the managing agency of the spring you wish to visit for any permit requirements.
3. What is the best time of year to visit the natural springs in Florida?
A: The best time to visit the natural springs in Florida is during the spring and early summer months (March to June) when the weather is pleasant, the water is clear and the temperatures are comfortable for swimming and outdoor activities.
4. Can you swim in the natural springs in Florida?
A: Yes, swimming is a popular activity at many of Florida’s natural springs, as the clear and cool water provides a refreshing escape from the hot and humid Florida weather. However, it’s important to follow any posted rules or regulations and check for any potential safety hazards before entering the water.
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