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Florida is a magnificent state and home to some of the loveliest springs in the U.S., often surrounded by lush parklands. Locals and tourists love spending quality time at these springs all year round for a valid reason.
These beautiful Florida springs offer a vast range of breathtaking activities for visitors. Whether you are looking for a nice swim time, boating, canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding, these springs have it all.
But how and why are there so many springs in a single state? Well, Florida sits on an aquifer. As such, fresh water is bubbling beneath the ground almost everywhere – northern and central Florida has more of these than any other part of the state.
This healthy smattering of springs is certainly worth anyone’s visit. But, with so many of them to choose from, it’s only fair we take away some of the legwork. Here’s a list of some that will make your visit worth every second.
- Best Springs in Florida to Visit
- 1. Silver Glen Springs
- 2. Madison Blue Springs
- 3. Rainbow Springs
- 4. Ginnie Springs
- 5. Gilchrist Blue Springs
- 6. Three Sisters Springs
- 7. Rock Springs
- 8. Wakulla Springs
- 9. Ichetucknee Springs
- 10. Wekiwa Springs
- 11. Weeki Wachee Springs
- 12. Homosassa Springs
- 13. Ponce de Leon Springs
- 14. Alexander Springs
- 15. Silver Springs
- Is It safe to swim in hot springs?
- What is the best spring to visit in Florida?
- What should I bring for a spring visit to Florida?
Best Springs in Florida to Visit
1. Silver Glen Springs
Silver Glen Springs holds a special place in Florida as it’s also an archaeological site. The environment around the springs was once a village. But today, this is a popular tourist attraction for folks looking for the best natural springs in Florida.
Many different activities are possible at Silver Glen Springs in Florida. People come here to swim and sunbathe, especially during the hot summer.
Other activities besides swimming include boating, hiking, and fishing. However, getting a freshwater license to fish downstream is best. There are also picnic sites with tables and pedestal grills to enjoy.
As for boating, you can book a kayak or canoe on-site and take that incredible trip, solo or as a group, down the famous Silver Glen Run. But you should note that boats must stay out of designated swim areas.
Best places to stay near Silver Glen Springs
- Big River Marina and Lodge
All Big River Marina and Lodge rooms have air conditioning and WiFi. The lodge is about 9 miles (14.8km) from Silver Glen Springs, and all rooms have patios overlooking the river. Other stunning attractions like Eustis Historical Museum, Ferran Park, and Eustis Square are about 30 miles (50km) from the springs.
- Idle Awhile Resort
Stay at the Idle Awhile Resort, just under 10 miles (15.6km) from these amazing springs, with views of the Georgetown River. All rooms have a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, and WiFi throughout the resort.
2. Madison Blue Springs
Madison Blue Spring State Park is where you want to be if you’re searching for clear freshwater springs in Florida. This is one of the best Florida springs for swimming and attracts many visitors annually.
It is another example of a crystal-clear spring where you can see its many inhabitants, which makes it quite captivating. For instance, the spring is home to catfish and turtles you might see swimming around. Folks with diving experience can spend time exploring the underwater caves.
The Madison Blue Spring has ample space for swimmers to enjoy taking a dip. And surrounding this spring are nature trails perfect for hikers and adventure seekers. If you prefer not to go swimming, there are also boating, canoeing, or kayaking options.
You can book a guided tour anytime for the best experience on these springs. The 3-Hour Manatee Encounter by Kayak is an excellent choice.
Best places to stay near Madison Blue Springs State Park
- Super 8 by Wyndham Madison
- Best Western Plus Madison
Stay at Best Western Plus Madison stunning hotel while touring Madison Blue Springs State Park and experience the best service. The hotel has an outdoor pool and stylish rooms with a flat-screen TV, AC, and WiFi.
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3. Rainbow Springs
Did you know one of Florida’s most beautiful waterways is near Dunnellon? The Rainbow Springs in Rainbow Springs State Park is the head spring for Rainbow River. Rainbow Springs is the place to be when you want to enjoy nature, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. Folks also spend time swimming, paddling, snorkeling, and tubing.
There are spots to set up a picnic and grill to make your experience quite fulfilling. It’s also possible to hike the trails and camp in the area with family and friends. There’s a canoe/kayak launch, picnic pavilion, restroom facilities, campgrounds, restaurants, and gardens.
Best places to stay near Rainbow Springs
- The Gator Den
Find amazing accommodation at the Gator Den, 4.3 miles (about 7 km) from Rainbow Springs State Park. There’s a restaurant and bar available for all guests. You can also access WiFi and free parking as a guest.
- Terravida Cottage
Find comfortable accommodation at the Terravida Cottage. This property has a sun terrace and a sitting area. There’s WiFi and private parking for guests. Plus, Gainesville Regional Airport isn’t too far, at 29 miles (47 km) from the property.
4. Ginnie Springs
Along the Santa Fe River, you come across the lovely Ginnie Springs, among Florida’s most stunning clear water springs. These amazing natural springs are where you want to be while enjoying different water sports activities.
Folks from far and wide come to Ginnie Springs for tubing, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Here, several springs make up the Ginnie Springs that open into caves, so bring your diving gear.
Apart from daily activities, it’s possible to camp near Ginnie Springs. You can find essential amenities like picnic tables, toilets, and grills at the campground. There’s also an area set aside for games like volleyball.
Best places to stay near Ginnie Springs
- High Springs Country Inn
Stay at the High Springs Country Inn, only 6.6 miles (10.7km) from Ginnie Springs. This hotel offers accommodation with cable TV and WiFi in all rooms.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Alachua
You can also stay in Alachua, near Ginnie Springs, and book into the Hampton Inn & Suites. This hotel offers rooms with air conditioning and WiFi access to make your stay here as comfortable as possible. Guests get to partake in an American breakfast or buffet.
5. Gilchrist Blue Springs
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is home to the beautiful Gilchrist Blue Springs. For many years, the State of Florida later purchased this private park. Visitors can enjoy time in 6 natural springs, including the Gilchrist Blue Springs.
Water from these springs flows into the popular Santa Fe River. Here, folks love to spend time swimming and sunbathing. It is also a popular place to bring your small boat, paddleboard, kayak, or canoe. And as they’ve put it, pristine waters and lots of fun for solo and family travelers await.
Besides the springs, you’ll also see some amazing wildlife in the region’s most renowned ecological habitat – the spring-run stream community. Here, you can see various fish species, turtles, and aquatic invertebrates. It’s an awesome place to be at.
Best places to stay near Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
- Rum Island Springs Cabin
Rum Island Springs Cabin is a pet-friendly cabin near Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park. It offers air-conditioned rooms and a kitchen. Plus, there’s a living and dining area. The cabin is just a few minutes ‘ drive from Poe Springs Park and O’Leno State Park, great tourist attractions in the area.
- High Springs Hideaway
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6. Three Sisters Springs
Imagine the most crystal-clear waters you’ve ever seen. Crystal River is home to the Three Sisters Springs with the cleanest waters.
It’s possible to see straight through these springs in Florida and even catch a glimpse of manatees swimming about. But you must time your visit since manatees are prevalent when it gets cooler. As such, winter months, Nov-March, is the best time to be here.
One state park rule is that no vehicles or motorized automobiles are permitted. The only way to access the Three Sisters Springs is by paddle boarding, canoeing, or kayaking.
Best places to stay near Three Sisters Springs
- Retreat at Crystal Manatee
Spend time at the Retreat at Crystal Manatee, which offers visitors great accommodation options. This property is 7.5 miles (12km) from Three Sisters Springs and Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
- Hampton Inn Crystal River
Enjoy luxury accommodation at the Hampton Inn Crystal River. This hotel is near Crystal River City Center and has a swimming pool. All rooms have WiFi and AC.
7. Rock Springs
If you prefer cooler free-flowing springs, head to the Rock Springs Run State Reserve. The waters in this Florida Rock spring can reach 68°F, perfect during the hot summer months.
Visitors to Rock Springs get blown away by the calm environment. The magnificent waters are welcoming, so you can swim and do different outdoor activities.
At Rock Springs, taking out your canoe and floating about watching the beautiful nature is possible. Folks also enjoy hiking, horseback riding, biking, and camping.
Best places to stay near Rock Springs
- Motel 8 Rock Springs
You can book yourself a room at the Motel 8 Rock Springs. This place has rooms with free WiFi and air conditioning. There’s also an on-site business center with photocopying services.
The hotel allows pets onto the property and has ample parking space. And if you love golfing, the property is just around 6 miles (just under 10 km) from White Mountain Golf Course.
- Baymont by Wyndham Rock Springs
Find accommodation at the Baymont by Wyndham Rock Springs when touring springs in Florida. Besides offering free WiFi and daily continental breakfast, the hotel has fitness and business centers. Their rooms also include a cable TV, a coffee maker, and a microwave if you need to warm your dinner or anything.
8. Wakulla Springs
Wakulla Springs is located in Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. The Wakulla Springs is the deepest and largest natural spring in the world, with fresh sapphire blue waters.
Surrounding the springs is around 12 miles (just over 19 km) of natural trails. You can hike these parts of the state park and enjoy a lush environment while watching out for local birds and other wildlife.
In addition, these springs are good for swimming. But if you don’t want to get wet, ride one of the glass-bottom boats – the springs are also great for canoeing, paddle boarding, and kayaking.
Some great places to stay near Wakulla Springs in Florida include;
- The Lodge at Wakulla Springs
Enjoy stepping into history when you stay at The Lodge at Wakulla Springs. This property is inside the state park and offers accommodation with fantastic views of the magnificent springs.
It has a restaurant, a bar, and ample free parking space. The Tallahassee Regional Airport is only about 16 miles (26 km) away.
- Magnuson Hotel Wildwood Inn
Head to Crawfordville and stay at the Magnuson Hotel Wildwood Inn. This hotel offers comfy guest rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, and a tennis court.
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9. Ichetucknee Springs
The Ichetucknee Springs is located in Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Surrounding the springs is a state park with wildlife, including wild turkeys, beavers, and limpkins.
Most folks who visit the Ichetucknee Springs enjoy warm-water tubing. It’s also a good place to swim and dive to explore life deeper in the springs.
Nine springs feed the Ichetucknee River, offering visitors a once-in-a-lifetime natural beauty experience. As you paddle down that bright turquoise river, the relaxing feeling you get through shaded hammocks, quiet nature, and forests of maple, cypress, and pine is out of this world.
Ichetucknee Springs is also perfect for paddling and kayaking. And there’s a place for canoe-kayak launch, a picnic pavilion, and restroom facilities.
Best places to stay near Ichetucknee Springs
- High Springs Country Inn
Stay at the High Springs Country Inn, only 6.6 miles (10.6km) from Ginnie Springs. This hotel offers accommodation with cable TV and WiFi in all rooms. There’s a 24-hour reception and dining room for all guests staying at the hotel.
- Grandy House Bed and Breakfast
Enjoy comfy accommodation in rooms with access to WiFi and air conditioning at the Grandy House Bed and Breakfast. The property is near the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost. Also, it’s about a 15-minute drive to Ginnie Springs.
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10. Wekiwa Springs
The Wekiwa Springs in Wekiwa Springs State Park are stunning emerald green springs worth visiting. These springs feed the Wekiwa River and are surrounded by lush land with many birds and wildlife calling the area home.
At Wekiwa Springs, visitors enjoy bird watching, horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking. Folks who love spending time on the water can swim, paddle, snorkel, or go fishing. There are also camping grounds nearby.
If you desire to connect with nature, these springs offer an incredible opportunity. There are miles and miles of exciting trails that you can explore and get yourself one with nature.
Best places to stay near Wekiwa Springs
- Hamptons Inn & Suites Orlando
Book to stay at the Hamptons Inn & Suites Orlando when visiting the Wekiwa Springs. The hotel has comfortable rooms with WiFi and air conditioning.
It has a swimming pool, an exceptional fitness center, and free parking. Plus, the rooms are family-friendly.
- Hilton Garden Inn Apopka City Center
Hilton Garden Inn Apopka City Center, offers accommodation with WiFi access, air conditioning, cable TV, and a large sitting area. There’s a restaurant and bar available for all guests. Orlando Executive Airport is around 14.9 miles (24 km) from the hotel.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Orlando, Florida
11. Weeki Wachee Springs
North of Tampa, you come across Weeki Wachee State Park, home to Weeki Wachee Springs. This is among the several springs in Florida that so dip and always attract divers.
The greater Weeki Wachee State Park receives visitors who come to enjoy the mermaid show. But you can also head straight to the freshwater springs and enjoy swimming.
The best thing here is that engaging in activities like paddle boating, kayaking, and canoeing in any part of the springs is safe. This means that you have more fun things to do in these springs than you can exhaust. Wildlife surrounding the springs includes alligators, owls, and the mighty bald eagle.
Good places to stay near Weeki Wachee Springs include;
- Cozy Cottage River House
As you visit the Weeki Wachee Springs, stay at the Cozy Cottage River House. This property offers accommodation, WiFi, and private parking.
- Pams Mermaid House
Enjoy riverfront accommodation at Pams Mermaid House, just 2.5 miles (4.1 km) from Weeki Wachee Springs. The property has rooms, a terrace, and free WiFi for all visitors.
12. Homosassa Springs
The famous Homosassa Springs is part of Homosassa Springs State Park. But did you know that it is actually a collection of 30 different springs? Quite the amazing factoid!
These springs rank among the largest and major springs in Florida. Here, you can find the first magnitude spring that feeds the Homosassa River.
One interesting thing about these springs is that they’re home to both fresh and saltwater marine life. And as you check out the marine life, you can also participate in numerous fun activities. These warm natural springs are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, paddle boating, and kayaking.
As for accommodation near Homosassa Springs, here are great choices;
- Riverfront Treetop Bungalow
Riverfront Treetop Bungalow is located in Homosassa and is a great place to book accommodation while visiting Homosassa Springs. It offers comfortable accommodation, an in-house restaurant, and private parking. Plus, free WiFi is accessible to visitors.
- TradeWinds Homosassa Marina Resort
Find good accommodation at the TradeWinds Homosassa Marina Resort. This is a deluxe Mediterranean-style villa with a private marina.
13. Ponce de Leon Springs
Ponce de Leon Springs is located at the De Leon State Park in Florida and were once healing waters for the Mayaca Indians. A De Leon State Park tour isn’t complete without spending time at the Ponce de Leon Springs in Florida. The chalky blue waters are perfect for swimming when you want to relax.
Hikers or nature lovers can also walk the two self-guided trails that cut through the hardwood forests. Also, you can spend time near the natural springs enjoying a picnic and grilling.
Best places to stay near Ponce de Leon Springs
- Best Western Crossroads Inn
Best Western Crossroads Inn is a non-smoking hotel offering excellent accommodation in the area. The hotel has spacious rooms and an outdoor swimming pool. The rooms boast free WiFi, a refrigerator, a coffee maker, and a microwave.
- Holiday Inn Express DeFuniak Springs
Stay at the Holiday Inn Express DeFuniak Springs, offering great room accommodation and a continental breakfast. The on-site launderette service, free parking, and proximity to several tourist attractions make it a worthwhile place to stay.
14. Alexander Springs
Florida has 27 first-magnitude springs, and Alexander Springs is among the most popular ones. This broad natural spring pool is clear, so you can see small fish darting about.
Spending time at Alexander Springs can be much fun since numerous activities are permitted. Canoes and small boats can float on these wide springs. Swimming or scuba diving is also possible if you bring your diving gear.
The springs surround a rich forest of sweet gum, maples, and cabbage palms, making it ideal for nature enthusiasts. Plus, you’ll have the best chance to see amazing animals, including turtles, alligators, raccoons, deer, and black bears.
Best places to stay near Alexander Springs
- The Saint Johns River House
Stay at the The Saint Johns River House while visiting Alexander Springs. The property has room accommodation, WiFi, and free bikes.
- CFvacay Rental
The CFvacay Rental has accommodation and outdoor water sports facilities. There’s also private parking and WiFi for guests.
See Related: Best Hot Springs in Utah & Resorts to Visit
15. Silver Springs
Did you know that Silver Springs in Silver Spring State Park is one of the largest in the US? To top that off, this natural spring is also the most popular in Florida.
Visitors enjoy viewing the underwater world while riding on a glass boat. This unique tour covers the largest spring, where you can see through the clear waters and spot fish.
There’s also plenty to do in this part of the country. Visitors can go hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. The park has a campground with a picnic area and playground for kids near these natural springs.
Places to stay near Silver Spring State Park
- Holiday Inn Express Silver Springs
In Holiday Inn Express Silver Springs, you get impeccable accommodation options, with free WiFi and neat air-conditioned rooms. Guests also enjoy a continental breakfast daily.
- Sun Plaza Motel
When visiting Silver Springs, you can book to stay at the Sun Plaza Motel. The motel has guest rooms and barbeque facilities. The motel also features a grade, spacious air-conditioned rooms, a private bathroom, and free WiFi access.
Is It safe to swim in hot springs?
Hot springs can have high temperatures, but the degrees vary. The best way to determine if a hot spring is safe to swim in is to ask the guides or state park rangers. Those with fair temperatures are safe to swim, and the heat is therapeutic for your body.
What is the best spring to visit in Florida?
The best spring to visit in Florida depends on what you’re looking for. Silver Glen Springs and Rainbow Springs State Park are great options for swimming. If you want to see manatees, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a must-visit.
What should I bring for a spring visit to Florida?
Bring your swimsuit, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, water shoes, and snacks. You might also want to bring insect repellent if you’re visiting during mosquito season.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.