5 Best Natural Springs in Florida to Visit This Summer

Whether you’re looking for springs for swimming in Florida, camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, scuba diving or even swimming with mermaids and manatees, natural freshwater springs in Florida are a beloved family outing and definitely worth the drive.

While Florida might be notorious for its scorchingly hot summers, thankfully it’s also plentiful in solutions for beating the heat.

One of the most popular options for cooling off on a hot summer day are venturing out to its plethora of more than 700 natural springs in Florida spread across the state.

Like natural swimming pools bubbling up through the Florida Aquifer, freshwater springs in Florida usually hover around the 70-degree mark in the summer months making them the ideal place to cool off.

Where to See Manatees in Florida

While manatees can be found throughout the state, we’ve shared some of the best springs in Florida where you can see and even swim with manatees this summer.

Best Natural Springs in Florida

The Best Springs in Florida to Visit this Summer

Blue Spring State Park

The largest spring on the St. Johns River, Blue Spring State Park is a popular gathering spot for manatees during the winter months.

In fact, you can observe hundreds of manatee from the observation deck, however, this is one state park where swimming with manatees during winter months is strictly off limits. 

Manatee at Blue Spring State Park
Manatee at Blue Spring State ParkEnjoy Blue

You can enjoy Blue Spring State Park tubing in the spring and summer months while swimmers, divers, and snorkelers enjoy the 73-degree water along the St. Johns River. 

As you can imagine, this Florida State Park is extremely popular year round and will reach maximum capacity quickly, both on weekdays and weekends.

We recommend making it a point to visit early.

Things to know before you go

As of May 10, 2021, Blue Spring State Park is currently open.

Due to an ongoing restoration project, the spring run is closed to kayaks, paddleboards and canoes until mid August.

There is a $6 fee per vehicle. Camping is available at $24 per night (plus tax and a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee). Fee includes water and electricity.



Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Deemed a National Natural Landmark, tubing down the Ichetucknee river is a right of passage for every Floridian.

Ichetucknee is known as one of the best springs in Florida for tubing, but this natural spring also offers the perfect opportunity for a snorkel, picnic, canoe, swim or hike.

Blue Hole at Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Blue Hole at Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Ichetucknee Springs State Park has a recreation area that is equipped with tables and grills within picnic areas.

There is also a full-service concession with food, beverages, and other supplies so feel free to plan to spend the entire day there.

The park frequently closes due to capacity so be sure to go early to avoid disappointment.

Things to know before you go

As of May 6, 2021, the north and south entrances of Ichetucknee Springs State Park are currently open for limited activities and services.

Verify before you go, but the tram, shuttle services, food services and tube rentals should be available on a limited basis.

Visitors may bring tubes, canoes or kayaks to the south entrance only. Hiking trails are open but restroom availability may be limited.

The education center and other buildings are still closed.

There is a $6 fee per vehicle. Usage of Tram and Shuttle also have fees of $5.50-7.50.


florida's best natural springs to visit this summer

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Located not far from the Florida state capital of Tallahassee, the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is home to the largest, deepest freshwater spring in the world.

It is also one of the best springs in Florida for swimming.

At the head of the spring is an observation platform for wildlife watching including alligators, turtles, manatees, deer and birds.

Swimmers are abundant in summer months while hikers take to the nature trails in fall, winter, and spring.

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Scuba Divers with their open water diving certification should explore Cherokee Sink.

If you’re looking to dive some underwater caves, certified cave divers should check out Emerald Sink or Clearcut Sink.

Be advised that recreational diving is not allowed in the Wakulla Spring swimming hole area.

You can also take advantage of riverboat tours year round and glass bottom boat tours when the water is clear. 

Things to know before you go

As of Oct. 5, 2020, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park and the Lodge are both open, however visitors must maintain social distancing of 6 feet apart.

Since ranger station transactions are contactless, please bring exact change in cash or use your credit card, annual pass or prepaid entry receipt.

There is a $6 fee per vehicle. Glass Bottom/River Boat Tours cost $5-8 and require a reservation.



Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Perhaps one of the most famous parks in all of Florida, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park‘s earned their claim to fame (and best natural springs in Florida) in 1947 with the introduction of the “The Mermaids of Weeki Wachee.”

Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

The 538-acre park features a first magnitude spring and a 400-seat submerged theater for watching the live mermaid show.

Mermaid shows occur daily at 11am and 3pm. 

The park is also famous for Buccaneer Bay, a family water park for all ages.

Looking for something a little less involved? The park boasts white sandy beaches, covered picnic areas, swimming, river boat cruises, kayaking canoeing and more. 

Weeki Wachee tubing is a relaxing way to spend a hot summer day – just don’t forget the SPF. Remember, water reflects harsh sun rays so you’ll be more exposed than you are used to.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

The park is located on U.S. 19 at the intersection of SR. 50, just North of Spring Hill and South of Homosassa Springs.

Things to know before you go

As of May 5, 2021, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m daily. 

Please note that the waterslides, kiddie pool and lazy river will be open only on weekends between March 22 to May 29, but will resume normal hours on May 29. 

Sadly, the Wilderness River Cruise is not yet open.

Both the mermaid show and the ranger experience are open, but seating is limited. 

You may want to arrive at park opening to secure your seats to the mermaid show.

Entrance fee is $13 for adults and $8 for children ages 6 to 12. Children aged five and under are free.


florida's best natural springs to visit this summer

Rainbow Springs State Park

One of Florida’s best natural springs near Tampa and in the Ocala National Forest, Rainbow Springs State Park offers man-made waterfalls, headsprings, and the crystal clear Rainbow River.

waterfall at Rainbow Springs State Park
Waterfall at Rainbow Springs State Park

Believe it or not, Archaeological evidence suggests that people have been using this spring for nearly 10,000 years!

Earning its place among the Best Natural Springs in Florida, Rainbow Springs is Florida’s fourth largest natural spring and it’s popular for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking.

You can rent canoes and kayaks on site. 

Rainbow Springs State Park
Rainbow Springs State Park

Things to know before you go

As of May 10, 2021, Rainbow Springs State Park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. You can rent canoes and kayaks and the campground is open. 

There aren’t many natural springs in South Florida, so Rainbow Springs State Park tends to get very busy, very fast.

Be aware that Rainbow Springs is very popular and they enforce strict capacity rules.

The park WILL CLOSE when it reaches capacity, and no one will be allowed to enter. If you enter but then leave, you will not be allowed to reenter until the following day. 

$2 per person entrance fee. Be sure to check the site for other fees.


So what do you think will you be putting some of Florida’s natural springs on your summer vacation bucket list this year?

Do you have a favorite natural spring in Florida? Which is it and why?

9 thoughts on “5 Best Natural Springs in Florida to Visit This Summer”

  1. These all look really cool. Next time I am in Florida I need to check them out. I am betting they would look even better in person.

    Reply
  2. We haven’t been to Florida in 20 years. I’d love to visit again just to see the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.

    Reply

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