Florida is typically known for its gorgeous white-sand beaches, but the abundance of natural springs found in the state are equally impressive.
Florida springs offer crystal clear, cool water that is perfect for swimming, tubing and kayaking. Below are five springs worth checking out.
This area features spring-fed rivers, lush canopies and cool swimming holes. Situated between Jacksonville, Gainesville and Tallahassee, the main draw is the park’s eight major crystal-clear springs that join to create the six-mile Ichetucknee River, perfect for tubing in the warmer months and canoeing/kayaking in the cooler months. The area is also home to 2,669-acre Ichetucknee Springs State Park, which is a wildlife haven where beaver, otter, gar, softshell turtle, wild turkey, wood duck and limpkin all find a home.
Location: 12087 S.W. U.S. Hwy 27, Fort White FL 32038
Rainbow Springs is only an hour and a half north of Tampa in Dunnellon. With its crisp, crystal clear water that flows into the Rainbow River, this is one of the most popular tubing destinations during the summer months. The adjacent spring is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and the hiking trails that surround the spring feature some of the tallest waterfalls in Florida.
Location: 19158 S.W. 81st Place Rd, Dunnellon FL 34432
Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River
The Three Sisters Springs Center is the official point of access to Three Sisters Springs, part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. This is a land-access point only. To access the water by kayak visitors will need to rent or launch a kayak from Kings Bay or Hunter Springs Park in Crystal River and make their way over the Three Sisters Springs. The trek is worth the effort. Those who prefer to skip the kayak can also walk the boardwalk at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, which is a great place to view manatee year-round.
Location: 123 NW Hwy 19, Crystal River, FL 34428
These springs, located in the Ocala National Forest, are a bit of a trek from Tampa, but worth the drive. Known for being one of the oldest recreation centers on the East coast, this place has it all. During the day, enjoy swimming snorkeling, picnicking, bird watching, paddling and hiking. Make a weekend of it by reserving one of their campsites.
Location: 26701 E Highway 40, Silver Springs, FL 34488
One of America’s largest springs, Silver Springs is best-known for their glass-bottom boat rides that let visitors experience the beauty of the crystal-clear water without getting wet. For those who are a bit more adventurous, these springs are also perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, bird watching, hiking and camping. There is also a museum on site where visitors can experience Florida’s rich natural history.
Location: 5656 E Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL 34488
By Karen Ring