While Florida might be notorious for its scorchingly hot summers, but 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, these springs hover around the 70-degree mark in the summer months making them the ideal place to cool off whether you’re looking for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, scuba diving or even swimming with mermaids and manatees.
5 of the Best Natural 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.
In the spring and summer months, swimmers, divers, and snorkelers enjoy the 73-degree water along the St. Johns River.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Deemed a National Natural Landmark, tubing down the Ichetucknee river is a right of passage for every Floridian. While tubing is the number one activity along the river, Floridians also snorkel, picnic, canoe, swim and hike. The park is equipped with tables and grills within picnic areas as well as a full-service concession with food, beverages, and other supplies.
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. 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. You can also take advantage of riverboat tours year round and glass bottom boat tours when the water is clear.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Perhaps one of the most famous parks in all of Florida, Weeki Wachee Springs State Parks earned their claim to fame (and best natural springs in Florida) in 1947 with the introduction of the “The Mermaids of Weeki Wachee.” 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, canoeing, river boat cruises, kayaking and more.
The park is located on U.S. 19 at the intersection of SR. 50, just North of Spring Hill and South of Homosassa Springs.
Rainbow Springs State Park
North of Tampa, the Rainbow Springs State Park offers man-made waterfalls, headsprings, and the crystal clear Rainbow River. 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.
Do you have a favorite natural spring in Florida? Which is it and why?