The 16 Best Springs in Florida

-The state of Florida is a goldmine in terms of springs that contain beautiful clear/blue water that you can swim, freedive, snorkel, SCUBA dive, or kayak/canoe in. Florida has 33 first magnitude springs within its borders. Below, we have listed a few of the more popular springs in terms of recreational activities. Please keep in mind that we did not rank these in any sort of order in terms of which ones are the best/nicest. They are simply listed at random.

  • Ichetucknee Springs

Ichetucknee

Photo Credit: @kelly_delvalle (instagram)

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is located in Columbia Florida. The main attraction at this 2,241 acre state park is the 6 mile long Ichetucknee river and the massive blue spring that feeds it. Various springs that boil up from the aquifer feed this river, however, the one at the head of the river is the one that attracts the most people. The most popular activity at this spring/river is river tubing. Tubes may be rented at several vendors in the area and people can swim, tube, snorkel, jump from trees, jump from the limestone outcroppings, search for items that people have lost along the way (gopros, sunglasses, iphones, etc) etc in this beautiful crystal clear water. This state park also offers opportunities for hiking and camping. Experienced and certified cave divers are allowed to dive within the complex labyrinth of caves that meander beneath the spring.

  • Ginnie Springs

ginni.png

Photo Credit: @kelly_delvalle (instagram)

Ginnie Springs is located on the Santa Fe River in High Springs Florida. This spring is privately owned (you must pay to enjoy this spring) and has crystal clear water that is a constant 72-degrees. This spring/river offers ideal opportunities for river tubing, swimming, snorkeling, cave diving, SCUBA diving, jumping from trees, kayaking, canoeing, etc. There are also places to camp, picnic, and play volleyball!

 

  • Blue Springs

Blue

Photo Credit: @kelly_delvalle (instagram)

Located in Central Florida, Blue Springs State Park covers 2,644 acres of raw wilderness amongst central Florida’s urban sprawl. The main attraction is the blue spring which has pale-blue waters. There is an elevated observation deck to enjoy the view of this magnificent spring. This spring attracts SCUBA divers and cave divers from all over the world. You can watch as the divers disappear into the dark blue hole. The enormous spring pumps over 100 million gallons of water every day to the surface. This massive spring is also known for its winter gathering of manatees, which travel up the St. Johns River. During the winter, hundreds of manatees amass atop of the blue spring to enjoy the crystal clear waters. This state park allows camping, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and more!

  • Rainbow Springs

Rainbow

Photo Credit: @annaclarajuul (instagram)

Rainbow Springs is located in southwestern Marion County and is the fourth largest spring in Florida. This spring used to be privately owned and people would have to pay to see it. Apparently, there wasn’t a lot of money to be made as a privately owned tourist attraction, so the state bought the property in 1990. Now, the spring is popular for swimming and snorkeling. Visitors can also rent tubes and go tubing down the rainbow river, however tubes are not allowed in the headspring. This state park offers opportunities for camping, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, picnicking, gardens, kayaking, tubing, and exploring!

  • Wekiwa Springs

Wekiwa

Wekiwa Springs is located at the headwaters of the Wekiva River in Apopka, FL. This is a very popular attraction to central Florida due to its close proximity to Orlando, so get there early because the parking lot fills up! The spring, which emits 42 million gallons of water to the surface per day, is the main attraction. The spring has a small 20 ft deep cavern at the source of the spring which opens up to a larger cave. Unfortunately SCUBA/cave diving is strictly prohibited. There are thirteen miles of trails on this state park that offer opportunity to hike, bike, camp, and horseback ride. The spring is popular for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and canoeing.

  • Peacock Springs

Peacock

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park was recently renamed to honor the world renowned diver, photographer, cinematographer, explorer, and adventurer Wes Skiles. This State park is 733 acres in size and has two major springs, six sinkholes, and a spring run. Peacock springs, which is often times covered in duckweed, attracts cave divers from all across the world to explore the 33,000 feet of passages that lie beneath it. This park houses one of the longest underwater cave systems to ever be discovered in the United States. SCUBA divers must be cave/cavern certified to explore these routes. Swimming in Orange Grove Sink and Peacock Springs are popular activities during the summer months. This state park also offers opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, hiking, camping, exploring, biking, etc.

  • Silver Springs

Silver

Photo Credit: @kelly_delvalle (instagram)

Located in Marion County, Silver Springs is considered “Florida’s Original Attraction”. Silver Springs is the largest artesian spring in the world and contains beautiful crystal clear water. In 1971 it was designated as a national natural landmark. It was founded in 1852 and was a privately owned and operated amusement park with rides, animals, concert stages, and the ever so popular glass bottom boat tours. Later, environmental issues began to arise and the state purchased the property. Now, Silver Springs State Park is one of the most highly visited state parks in Florida. It is famous worldwide because of the many Hollywood movies that have been filmed there. This state park offers glass bottom boat tours (to view the incredibly diverse aquatic animal populations living there), hiking, kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, biking, and camping opportunities.

  • Weeki Wachee Spring

Weeki Wachee

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is located in Spring Hill, Florida. It is most famous for its mermaid performances (they are just people hired to dress up as mermaids) that have been delighting visitors since 1947. People also have the opportunity to take river boat cruises, canoe, kayak, or swim in the Weeki Wachee River. The first magnitude Weeki Wachee Spring is surrounded by a 400 seat submerged theater that is used for viewing the “mermaids.” This 530 acre state park also has animal shows that give an educational look at the domesticated birds and reptiles.

  • Fanning Spring

Fanning

Fanning Springs State Park is a 3,217 acre state park located along the Suwannee River in Fanning Springs, Florida (West of Gainesville). This spring produces 65 million gallons of cool, crisp, and clear water per day, making it a second magnitude spring. This water bubbles up from the aquifer forming a beautiful pool of blue water that has attracted people for thousands of years (yes, I said thousands). Visitors can enter the park by boat from the Suwannee River or by vehicle from US HWY 19. There is an overlook that is available that allows visitors to see the spring in its entirety. There is abundant wildlife within the spring, making it a nice place to snorkel or swim. Manatees make their way to this spring in the colder months. This state park has places to hike, camp, swim, snorkel, kayak, canoe, play volleyball, picnic, bike, and view the wildlife. The hiking trail that meanders through the cypress swamp is quite nice, so if you love hiking we highly recommend it.

  • Manatee Spring

Manatee

Located only six miles west of Chiefland, the 2,075 acre Manatee Springs State Park contains Manatee Spring, which is a first magnitude spring that produces 100 million gallons of crystal clear water per day that flows directly into the Suwannee River. This spring gets its name because of the large numbers of manatees that seek refuge in the spring during the winter months. The headwaters of the spring is popular for snorkeling, swimming, and SCUBA diving. People also like to kayak and canoe on the short stream that runs from the spring to the Suwannee River. This state park also offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and biking. 14 miles away is Fanning Springs State Park, so you could potentially explore both of these parks in one day!

 

  • Wakulla Spring

Wakulla

Wakulla Spring lies within Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, located 14 miles south of Tallahassee and 5 miles east of Crawford in Wakulla County. This spring is one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world and houses a diverse array of wildlife including manatees and alligators. Glass bottom boat tours are sometimes offered when the water is clear enough to see to a depth of 75 ft, which unfortunately rarely occurs in the present day. This spring attracts people because of the nice, cool, clear, refreshing water that bubbles up from the earth providing an excellent swimming hole. This spring is classified as a first magnitude spring and is a major exposure point for the Floridian Aquifer. The spring creates the Wakulla River, which is 9 miles in length and eventually dumps into St. Mark’s River. Wakulla cave is at the bottom of this spring, and is a branching flow-dominated cave that has developed within the Florian Aquifer. This 6000 acre state park offers opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, glass bottom boat tours, hiking, camping, biking, and wildlife viewing.

 

  • Homosassa Springs

Homosassa Spring is surrounded by the 150 acre Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Visitors can walk on the short nature trail to view the first magnitude spring and its variety of fresh and saltwater wildlife. From the park’s underwater observatory in the mainspring, visitors have the opportunity to see manatees every day of the year. The park is known for showcasing native Florida wildlife, including bobcats, manatees, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, otters, and plenty of other critters. Unfortunately this spring isn’t as adventure friendly as some of the others that let you swim, snorkel, hike, camp, etc., but nevertheless it is still cool that you get to see all of the critters that they have acquired over the years.

  • Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto is located in Williston, FL (SW of Gainesville) and is primarily a SCUBA diving destination, which features a large clear/blue water cavern located in a sinkhole. This particular cavern dive is very safe and contains guidelines, underwater lighting, and a submerged airbell. Blue Grotto descends 100 ft and is full of 72 degree Fahrenheit crystal clear water year-round. The only certification that you need to explore this cavern is an open water certification since the dive is considered to be extremely safe. There is also a “training pool” with a platform used for preparing for your dive. This site offers spots to camp as well.

  • Morrison Springs

Morrison

Photo Credit: @kelly_delvalle (instagram)

Located in Walton County, Morrison Springs is surrounded by the 161 acre Morrison Springs State Park. This massive, 250 diameter spring produces 48 million gallons of crystal clear water per day. This spring creates a beautiful swimming hole that is popular for swimming, snorkeling, and SCUBA diving. The water from this spring eventually flows into the Choctawhatchee River. At the bottom of this spring, there are 3 different cavities, one of which is 300 ft deep. SCUBA divers come from all around to SCUBA dive at this unique spring. There are also hiking trails on site, but unfortunately there is no campsites available.

  • Troy Springs

Troy

Located six miles north of Branford, lies the 2000 acre Troy Springs State Park and Wildlife Management Area. Troy Springs is considered a first magnitude spring and flows directly into the Suwannee River. The spring is 70 ft deep and is popular among SCUBA divers, swimmers, and snorkelers. Troy Springs is actually where I got my open water SCUBA certification, so I am rather partial to this particular spring. Nestled in the mud in the headwaters of this spring lies the ruins of a civil war era steam boat. This State park has a few hiking trails and grills available for public use.

  • Devils Den

Devils Den

Photo Credit: @kelly_delvalle (instagram)

Devils den is located near Williston, Florida. It is privately owned by a SCUBA diving training and recreational facility. It is not open to the public for swimming, but snorkeling and SCUBA diving is permitted. This unique “cave” is formed by a karst window, in which the roof over a subterranean river has collapsed which exposes the underlying water to the surface. The water temperature is a constant 72 °F and, in the cold weather, has water vapor that creates a visible plume erupting from the den (hence the name “devil’s den). The cave was opened to the public as a dive site in the early 1990s. There are 4 underwater passages that extend from the pool visible from the opening from 5 ft to 90 ft under the surface of the water. The passage named chamber 3 is 70 ft under water and was found to contain animal and human remains that date back to 7,500 B.C. This is a seriously cool place and it is certainly worth a visit!

 

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