So it’s Florida in July — and its freaking hot (no kidding, right?). Swimming in Florida’s beautiful gulf coast this time of year really does not provide the refreshment you get from jumping into Florida’s natural springs —>> Not to mention the reports of “FLESH EATING BACTERIA” that have plagued waters of Florida’s Gulf coast!
Well, its time to beat the heat and find some great natural springs to explore! I found a GEM of a video on Youtube that shows you the BEST 5 springs to visit in Florida — not to mention the author added “with Campgrounds” === right up my alley. Great job, Campsite Videos!
#5 Wekiwa Springs State Park – Apopka, FL
With emerald springs feeding the Wekiwa River and lush tropical hammocks, this unique park just minutes from Downtown Orlando is perfect for observing abundant wildlife or cooling off on a summer day.
#4 – Blue Springs State Park – Orange City Florida
Refreshing 72 degree waters of Blue Spring greet visitors at this gem along the St. Johns River.
Conservation measures can produce astounding results. In 1970, two years before Blue Spring State Park was established, researchers tracked 14 manatees in the spring run. By 2005, after years of park improvements and manatee protection efforts, wintering manatee numbers exceeded 200 and by 2018, that number skyrocketed to a record 485.
Besides “sea cows,” fish abound in the spring run, and these attract a variety of wading birds, ospreys, eagles and kingfishers. To see the park’s wonders, one can hike along the spring run or on the 4.5-mile Pine Island Trail. One can also launch a canoe or kayak, rent one at the park or take a guided river boat cruise.
#3 Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park – High Springs, FL
Gilchrist Blue Springs is one of the newest addition to Florida State Parks!
The park contains a collection of natural springs, including a large second magnitude spring that produces an average of 44 million gallons of water per day. This spring, known as Gilchrist Blue, has outstanding water clarity and discharges water through a shallow spring run about one-quarter mile to the Santa Fe River. The other named springs on-site are Little Blue Spring, Naked Spring, Kiefer Spring and Johnson Spring, which provide scenic vistas and photographic opportunities.
The most significant ecological habitats include the spring run stream and floodplain communities. The main spring run is renowned for its support of a diversity of wildlife species including turtles, fish and invertebrates. Redbreast and spotted sunfish, largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish in can be observed in waters with unparalleled visibility.
Paddling, snorkeling and swimming are all popular at the park. Pavilions are available, and a concession stand provides food and beverage service, and paddling equipment rentals. Other popular activities include camping, hiking, nature study and picnicking.
- Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is located in Gilchrist County about 5 miles to the west of High Springs, FL off NW 182nd Ave. (CR340) in the north central part of the state along the Santa Fe River.
- The park is located 25 miles south of Lake City and about 20 miles to the northwest of Gainesville.
#2 Rock Springs at Kelly Park – Apopka, FL
Kelly Park features a free-flowing natural spring (Rock Spring – 68 degrees Farenheit year round) issuing from a vertical rock bluff. Rock Springs Run, a clear, swift creek, is popular with tubers.
The Wekiva – Rock Springs Run Canoe Trail connects this park with Wekiva Springs State Park via Rock Springs Run, which flows approximately 10 miles from Kelly Park to the Wekiva River just below Wekiwa Springs.
The park features a full-service concession, picnic pavilions and playground. Tent and RV camping are also available at this park. Kelly Park’s Camp Joy for group camping is just next door.
This park fills up quickly on summer weekends, and closes when it reaches maximum capacity, so plan to arrive early. A favorite activity is floating or “tubing” the spring run. Bring your own, or rent tubes from private outfitters located just outside the park.
#1 Rainbow Springs State Park – Dunnellon, FL
The history of Rainbow Springs dates back centuries to a time when native peoples regularly visited this lush spring.
Although the modern era has seen the land shaped by both enterprising developers and the loving hands of local volunteers, the draw of the beautifully serene park endures. When swimmers take their first dip in the sapphire-blue waters of Rainbow Springs, they become part of a story that stretches back over 10,000 years, when humans first visited this place.
Ornamental gardens, man-made waterfalls and sloping hills are visible reminders of the springs’ more recent past, when the land was home to a mining operation and a privately-owned tourist attraction. Take a walk through lush, mossy hammocks and then cool off in the springs—it’s a time-honored tradition.
Jesse Erickson is an Editor with The Big Guava. He loves to travel Florida’s Beautiful Gulf coast experiencing the BEST to see, do, eat & drink! He is committed to sharing the very best of his finds with our audience.