Tuesday, March 5, 2024
HomeHot SpringsMust-Visit Hot Springs in Florida - Best Natural Springs in Florida

Must-Visit Hot Springs in Florida – Best Natural Springs in Florida

Welcome to a hidden gem in the heart of Florida – a world where the natural beauty of more than 700 springs captivates visitors year-round. Far from the usual beach crowds and theme park bustle, these springs offer a serene and unique escape.

Table of Content show

Nestled atop Florida’s vast underground aquifer, these springs form the largest collection of their kind on Earth, showcasing nature’s splendor in the Sunshine State.

Every spring in Florida is a window to a fascinating underwater world. The constant flow of about 800 billion gallons of water through the limestone bedrock creates these natural marvels, each maintaining a refreshing temperature of around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

This crystal-clear water isn’t just a treat for the eyes; it’s a gateway to exploring vibrant ecosystems right beneath the surface.

Dive into these hot springs to discover a world teeming with life. Watch manatees glide gracefully, turtles paddling leisurely, and a myriad of fish darting among rock formations and aquatic plants. These springs aren’t just about the wildlife; they’re a testament to Florida’s rich ecological tapestry. 

Here, you can encounter the elusive greater siren, spot a loggerhead musk turtle, or even catch a glimpse of an alligator from a safe distance.

List of Best Hot Springs in Florida

1. Ichetucknee Springs State Park
2. Alexander Springs Recreation Area – Altoona, Florida
3. Warm Mineral Spring Park in North Port, Florida
4. Weeki Wachee Springs
5. Blue Spring State Park – Orange City, Florida
6. Little Salt Spring
7. Rainbow Springs State Park – Best Natural Springs in Florida
8. Cypress Springs – Vernon, Florida
9. Hot Mud Hole Spring
10. De Leon Springs State Park
11. Fanning Springs Park – Gainesville, Florida
12. Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
13. Ginnie Springs Outdoors – High Springs, Florida
14. Wakulla Springs State Park
15. Juniper Springs Recreation Area – Silver Springs, Florida
16. Three Sisters Springs – Crystal River, Florida
17. Madison Blue Spring Park – Lee, Florida

1. Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Visit Website | Google Map Location

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a natural oasis spanning 2,241 acres in northern Florida. Known for the Ichetucknee River, the park boasts nine vibrant springs feeding into a turquoise river.

Photo by: floridahikes

Read Also: Best Hot Springs in New Mexico You Must Visit (With Maps)

Here, you can immerse yourself in activities like tubing, snorkeling, and wildlife viewing. This park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering sightings of manatees, otters, and a variety of birds.

Location and Accessibility

The park sits an hour north of Gainesville and 90 minutes west of Jacksonville. With no public transport available, driving is your best bet. It features two main entrances: the South Entrance for tubing and river activities, and the North Entrance, leading to the Blue Hole.

How to Reach There

Accessing Ichetucknee Springs State Park requires a car. Once there, utilize the park’s shuttle and tram services. These services, costing between $7.50 and $12.50, are essential for navigating the park, especially for tubing along the river.

Nearby Attractions

While the park itself doesn’t offer camping, you’ll find budget-friendly hotel options within a 20-minute drive. These accommodations make exploring the park a cost-effective addition to your Florida journey.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

The best time to visit is between May and September, with summer temperatures ideal for water activities. Remember, summer can be busy, so consider a midweek visit. In winter, the park is quieter and perfect for hiking and wildlife watching. With only three trails, hiking here is more about wildlife spotting than challenging treks.

Don’t forget to bring bug spray and use reef-safe sunscreen. For accommodation, plan for a short drive to nearby hotels, as there’s no camping in the park itself.

2. Alexander Springs Recreation Area – Altoona, Florida

Visit Website | Google Map Location

Alexander Springs Recreation Area is a pristine natural retreat nestled in the Ocala National Forest. Known for its broad and gently sloped spring pool, the area remains a constant 72°F, perfect for year-round enjoyment.

Photo by: wanderingfloridatrails

Surrounded by a lush mix of maples, sweetgum, and cabbage palms, it offers a tropical escape. With clear waters and a sand bottom, it’s an ideal spot for swimming and observing small fish.

Location and Accessibility

Located between Astor and Altoona, east of SR 19 and west of the St. Johns River and CR 445-A, this recreation area sits in the northeast corner of Lake County. The region’s dense forest and clear waters make it a picturesque destination.

How to Reach There

Driving is essential as the area lacks public transportation. Alexander Springs is easily accessible by car from northern Florida, about an hour from Gainesville and an hour and a half from Jacksonville.

Nearby Attractions

While the area doesn’t offer camping, there are affordable hotel options within a 20-minute drive. These make staying nearby convenient and budget-friendly.

Best Hot Springs in New Mexico You Must Visit (With Maps)

The best times to visit are spring and autumn for ideal weather and fewer crowds. Summer brings more visitors, so plan for camping. The campground has 67 sites for tents and RVs up to 35 feet, with a dump station and hot showers available.

Book your camping spot in advance through Recreation.gov or try your luck with first-come, first-served sites. Remember, pets are allowed in the campground but not in the day-use area. For anglers, a spring in Florida Freshwater Fishing License is required.

Read Also: Arizona Hot Springs and Resorts – Natural Hot Springs in Arizona

The park’s concessionaire offers canoe and kayak rentals, groceries, and essentials. Swimming, scuba diving, and non-motorized boating are popular activities here.

3. Warm Mineral Spring Park in North Port, Florida

Google Map Location

Warm Mineral Springs Park is more than just a natural spring; it’s an ancient treasure trove dating back to the Ice Age. The depths of this 30,000-year-old sinkhole reveal a remarkable underwater archaeological site.

Photo by: giovanny_torres_08

Exploratory dives in the 1950s unearthed the well-preserved remains of prehistoric hunters, along with the intriguing discoveries of saber-toothed tigers, giant sloths, tortoises, and even camels.

This spring’s mineral-rich waters, consisting of 51 minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, sulfur, and nitrogen, make it one of the most mineral-rich natural springs in the United States.

As you immerse yourself in its warm embrace, you become part of a rich history of wellness seekers drawn to its healing benefits.

Location and Accessibility

The spring itself is encompassed by a picturesque landscape, featuring lush trees and inviting grassy areas. It’s an oasis of relaxation in a suburban setting.

How to Reach There

Admission fees apply, so be prepared to pay $15 per adult non-resident (pricing may vary). Once you arrive, you can proceed directly to the spring, changing rooms, and other facilities.

To reach Warm Mineral Springs Park, follow directions to North Port, Florida. The park is well-marked and easy to find within the community. Warm Mineral Springs Park is conveniently located in North Port, Florida, making it easily accessible for visitors. Situated amid a residential community, the park offers ample parking space, a gift shop, shower rooms, and restrooms for your convenience

Nearby Attractions

While Warm Mineral Springs Park is a captivating destination on its own, there are other attractions in the area worth exploring. You can plan a visit to nearby Sarasota, known for its cultural offerings, beautiful beaches, and vibrant arts scene.

Additionally, you might want to explore the Myakka River State Park, a stunning natural preserve that’s home to diverse wildlife and offers opportunities for hiking, boating, and wildlife watching.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

  • 1. Warm Mineral Springs Park is renowned for its warm and mineral-rich waters. While snorkeling might not be suitable due to limited visibility, it’s an ideal place to relax, float, and soak in the benefits of the minerals.
  • 2. Consider bringing a pool noodle to enhance your relaxation experience, as many visitors use it to float leisurely in the spring.
  • 3. Admission fees apply, so be sure to check the latest pricing information before your visit.
  • 4. Lifeguards are on duty to ensure your safety, making it a family-friendly destination.
  • 5. Warm Mineral Springs Park offers a unique blend of history, wellness, and relaxation, making it an excellent day trip destination for those seeking a soothing and enriching experience in the heart of Florida.

4. Weeki Wachee Springs

Visit Website | Google Map Location

Weeki Wachee Springs, a captivating blend of natural beauty and whimsical charm, is where fantasy meets reality. Home to the legendary live mermaids, this enchanting spring boasts clear, 72°F waters year-round.

Photo by: weekiwacheesprings

It’s not just about the mermaids; as the site of the deepest known freshwater cave system in the U.S., Weeki Wachee offers a unique peek into Florida’s underwater wonders.

Location and Accessibility

Nestled in Hernando County, Weeki Wachee Springs is a jewel on Florida’s Nature Coast. It’s part of a springshed that extends across Hernando and Pasco counties, contributing to the Weeki Wachee River’s vibrant ecosystem. How to Reach There

Reaching Weeki Wachee Springs is straightforward. Located just a short drive from major cities like Tampa, it’s easily accessible by car. There’s no direct public transportation, so driving is your best option.

Nearby Attractions

Beyond the springs, explore the Weeki Wachee River which stretches 7.4 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. The surrounding area offers a mix of urban and natural landscapes, perfect for day trips and exploring Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Welcome to a hidden gem in the heart of Florida – a world where the natural beauty of more than 700 springs captivates visitors year-round. Far from the usual beach crowds and theme park bustle, these springs offer a serene and unique escape.

Nestled atop Florida’s vast underground aquifer, these springs form the largest collection of their kind on Earth, showcasing nature’s splendor in the Sunshine State.

Every spring in Florida is a window to a fascinating underwater world. The constant flow of about 800 billion gallons of water through the limestone bedrock creates these natural marvels, each maintaining a refreshing temperature of around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

This crystal-clear water isn’t just a treat for the eyes; it’s a gateway to exploring vibrant ecosystems right beneath the surface.

Dive into these springs to discover a world teeming with life. Watch manatees glide gracefully, turtles paddling leisurely, and a myriad of fish darting among rock formations and aquatic plants. These springs aren’t just about the wildlife; they’re a testament to Florida’s rich ecological tapestry. 

Read Also: Best Hot Springs in Southern California to Soak In (With Maps)

Here, you can encounter the elusive greater siren, spot a loggerhead musk turtle, or even catch a glimpse of an alligator from a safe distance.

5. Blue Spring State Park – Orange City, Florida

Visit Website | Google Map Location

Blue Spring State Park, the largest spring on the St. Johns River, is a vibrant hub of natural beauty and wildlife. With its crystal-clear, 73-degree waters, this park is not only a scenic spot for swimming and snorkeling but also a vital refuge for the West Indian Manatees, especially during winter.

Photo by: bluespringstatepark

Location and Accessibility

Situated in Orange City, Blue Spring State Park is an accessible retreat nestled along the St. Johns River. The park’s location makes it an easy drive from nearby cities, offering a quick escape into nature.

How to Reach There

Driving is the most feasible way to reach the park, with no direct public transportation available. It’s conveniently located within a short distance from major urban areas, making it a perfect day-trip destination.

Nearby Attractions

Beyond the spring, visitors can explore the St. Johns River or take a historic tour of the Thursby house. The park’s natural trails and diverse wildlife provide ample opportunities for exploration and photography. 

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Plan to visit early, especially during peak seasons, as the park frequently reaches capacity. Water activities are closed from mid-November to March to protect the manatees. For a unique experience, consider staying overnight in the park’s cabins or camping sites.

Remember, swimming or diving with manatees is strictly prohibited to ensure their safety. For a guided experience, riverboat tours and canoe rentals are available, offering a different perspective of this majestic natural spring.

6. Little Salt Spring

Google Map Location

Little Salt Spring, a window into ancient history, is a unique underwater archaeological site in Sarasota County, Florida. This spring, with its anoxic waters, has preserved rare organic materials dating back to the Late Paleoindian and Early Archaic periods, around 9,500 – 7,000 years ago. It’s a pivotal site for understanding the early human history of the southeastern United States, holding artifacts like a 12,000-year-old wooden stake.

Photo by: fpan_southwest

Location and Accessibility

Situated in North Port, southern Sarasota County, and about 10 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, Little Salt Spring is a remarkable site. However, it’s important to note that this spring is not open to the public, being managed exclusively by the University of Miami for research purposes.

How to Reach There

Given its private nature and location within an academic research area, direct access to Little Salt Spring is not available for general visitors. The spring’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, however, makes the surrounding region an interesting area for exploration.

Nearby Attractions

The region around Little Salt Spring offers a glimpse into Florida’s rich ecological and cultural heritage. The Gulf of Mexico and nearby Warm Mineral Springs, formerly known as Big Salt Spring, are notable sites for those interested in natural and historical explorations.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

While Little Salt Spring itself is not accessible to the public, understanding its significance is crucial for anyone interested in the archaeological and ecological history of Florida. The spring’s preservation of ancient human artifacts provides a rare insight into early human life on the Florida peninsula, making it a site of immense academic and historical value. For those visiting the region, it’s a reminder of the deep and complex history that lies beneath Florida’s waters.

7. Rainbow Springs State Park – Best Natural Springs in Florida

Google Map Location

Rainbow Springs State Park, a stunning natural haven, is renowned for its picturesque springs and tranquil ambiance. As one of Florida’s most scenic springs, it offers crystal clear waters that maintain a refreshing 72 degrees year-round.

Photo by: rainbowspringsstatepark

Read Also: 12 Best Hot Springs in Washington State Mapped | Complete Guide

The park, encompassing 1,000 acres of lush forests, is a perfect blend of history, nature, and recreation.

Location and Accessibility

Located near Dunnellon, just an hour and a half northwest of Orlando, this park is a serene escape from the bustling city. Its accessibility makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a nature retreat.

How to Reach There

The park is easily reachable by car from Orlando and other major cities in Central Florida. The journey offers a scenic drive, transitioning from urban landscapes to the tranquil beauty of natural Florida.

Nearby Attractions

Apart from the park’s allure, the surrounding area of Dunnellon and Central Florida provides additional opportunities for exploration and enjoyment, with various other natural and historical sites.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Due to its popularity, Rainbow Springs State Park often reaches capacity on weekends and holidays, so plan to arrive early. Note that when the park is full, waiting in line within the park or on adjacent roads is not permitted. 

For a more relaxed visit, consider coming on a weekday or non-holiday. The park permits pets on a six-foot leash,

Though they’re not allowed in the water. Activities like tubing, paddling, swimming, and hiking along the trails are popular here.

Canoe and kayak rentals are available, letting you explore the serene waters at your own pace. Remember, annual passes are best purchased online or on weekdays.

8. Cypress Springs – Vernon, Florida

Visit Website

Cypress Springs, a hidden gem in Vernon, Florida, is a paradise for paddlers and nature lovers. This breathtaking cold spring, set amidst cypress and tupelo trees, offers crystal-clear waters that stay around 68 degrees year-round.

photo by: pureflorida

It’s a prime spot for kayaking, snorkeling, or using an underwater scooter, with visibility up to 100 feet. The spring’s diameter is about 150 feet, and it reaches depths of up to 29 feet, providing a serene environment for exploration and relaxation.

Location and Accessibility

Cypress Springs is nestled near Panama City Beach, 30A, and Destin. However, it’s uniquely accessible only by watercraft, making it a secluded and tranquil destination. The spring lies on Holmes Creek, adding to its secluded charm.

How to Reach There

The best way to visit Cypress Springs is by driving from nearby cities like Panama City Beach. Once at Holmes Creek, you’ll need to use a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard to reach the springs. Boat rentals are available from local outfitters like Coldwater Outfitters.

Nearby Attractions

While Cypress Springs itself is a standout attraction, the surrounding areas of Panama City Beach, 30A, and Destin offer additional activities and sights. These include beaches, nature trails, and other springs, making the region a hub for nature enthusiasts.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Plan to bring sunscreen, drinks, and lunch for a day out on the springs. Fishing is also an option along Holmes Creek. Remember, the spring is only accessible by small boats, so plan your trip accordingly.

Less crowded than other tourist spots, Cypress Springs offers a more secluded and intimate experience with nature. Be aware that the area is private property, managed in partnership with Northwest Florida Water Management and Nestle Water Company, ensuring its long-term preservation. For an eco-friendly and memorable adventure, Cypress Springs is an ideal choice.

9. Hot Mud Hole Spring

Hot Mud Hole Spring, set deep in the Gulf of Mexico, is one of Florida’s unique geothermal springs. Unlike typical springs, this hot spring, with a history of health and wellness, is characterized by its underwater garden in a crystalline basin.

Historically emerging onto a tufa and sandstone plateau, the spring’s waters once flowed at 119 degrees and were a site for communal and therapeutic bathing.

Location and Accessibility

Located miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, Hot Mud Hole Spring is not readily accessible to the general public. It’s primarily a destination for scientists, fishermen, and experienced scuba divers due to its deep underwater location.

How to Reach There

Accessing Hot Mud Hole Spring requires a boat and scuba diving equipment, making it a challenging destination for most visitors. It’s a journey more suited for specialized expeditions rather than casual tourism.

Nearby Attractions

While the spring itself is remote, the Gulf of Mexico offers a variety of attractions, including fishing, marine wildlife observation, and other diving opportunities for those with the necessary experience and equipment.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Before planning a visit to Hot Mud Hole Spring, it’s crucial to recognize the limitations and requirements for such a trip. This spring is not a typical tourist destination due to its remote underwater location and the specialized equipment needed for access.

Read Also: Best Hot Springs in Hawaii That You Can’t Miss – List & Map

As a historical site, it offers a unique glimpse into the past but is more suited for educational and research purposes than recreation.

10. De Leon Springs State Park

Visit Website | Google Map Location

De Leon Springs State Park, once revered by the Mayaca Indians as “Healing Waters,” is a treasure trove of natural beauty and history. Featuring a 72-degree year-round spring, it’s a haven for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Visitors can also explore trails in a lush subtropical forest, boasting an ancient bald cypress tree. Its rich history is evident in the preserved ruins of a water-powered sugar mill and the countless shells left by Native Americans.

Location and Accessibility

Located just north of DeLand on US 17, De Leon Springs State Park is about an hour from Orlando. This park, steeped in history and natural charm, is easily accessible by car. Turn west onto Ponce De Leon Boulevard from US 17 and follow for 0.8 mile to reach the entrance.

How to Reach There

The best way to visit De Leon Springs State Park is by car, making it a convenient day trip from Orlando or the St. Johns River area. The drive offers a scenic route through Florida’s natural landscapes.

Nearby Attractions

The surrounding DeLand area offers additional attractions, including historical sites and natural parks. Visitors can extend their exploration beyond the park to enjoy more of what Central Florida has to offer.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Before visiting, it’s crucial to understand the park’s historical significance. Besides its natural springs, the park is a former plantation site with a deep historical background, including interactions with Native Americans and a role in the Civil War.

Its name, “Healing Waters,” reflects the historical reverence for its springs. Visitors can also indulge in a unique dining experience at a make-your-own-pancake restaurant inside a historic sugar mill.

The park produces 19 million gallons of water daily, maintaining a constant temperature of 72 degrees, making it an ideal spot for year-round recreation.

11. Fanning Springs Park – Gainesville, Florida

Google Map Location

Fanning Springs Park, offering a blend of historical significance and natural beauty, is a must-visit destination. With its crystal-clear 72-degree waters, it’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and paddle boating.

The park is steeped in history, from early Paleo-Indian inhabitants to its time as a bustling resort. Today, the park features a playground, volleyball court, and a boardwalk through a cypress swamp, ending with a stunning view of the Suwannee River.

Location and Accessibility

Located 40 miles west of Gainesville, near the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, Fanning Springs Park is easily accessible by vehicle from U.S. Highway 19 or by boat from the Suwannee River. It’s an ideal spot for a serene getaway close to Gainesville.

How to Reach There

The park is a short drive from Gainesville, making it a convenient day trip. Visitors can also enter by boat, offering a unique approach via the Suwannee River. This accessibility caters to both land and water travelers.

Nearby Attractions

Besides the spring itself, the park’s location near the Suwannee River offers additional opportunities for exploration, including canoeing, kayaking, and bird watching. The area’s rich history provides a backdrop for educational and recreational activities.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Fanning Springs Park is a historical site, once home to Paleo-Indians and a fort during the Second Seminole War. The park provides facilities like an ADA chairlift for spring access and has pet-friendly areas, though pets are not allowed in the swimming or cabin areas.

The park’s cooler winter months offer a quieter experience, while the summer brings livelier crowds. Plan your visit for a unique blend of history, nature, and recreation at this Florida state park.

12. Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring

Google Map Location

Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring, a hidden underground oasis in Florida, is a natural wonder unlike any other. This ancient, water-filled sinkhole, ensconced within a dry cave, boasts stunning aquamarine waters and ancient, stalactite-lined walls.

Once feared as a portal to the underworld, today it’s celebrated for its ethereal beauty and unique diving experience. Whether snorkeling or scuba diving, visitors are treated to a surreal encounter with Florida’s prehistoric past, surrounded by ancient fossils and year-round 72-degree waters.

Location and Accessibility

Situated in the small town of Williston, Devil’s Den is accessible by car. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking an extraordinary natural phenomenon tucked away from Florida’s typical tourist spots.

Read Also: Best Natural Hot Springs in Montana – Resorts & Maps

How to Reach There

A drive to Williston, Florida, is the most straightforward way to visit Devil’s Den. The spring is conveniently located for visitors coming from various parts of Florida, making it a feasible day trip for nature and adventure enthusiasts.

Nearby Attractions

In addition to the spring, the area around Williston offers other attractions, including natural parks and historical sites. Visitors can extend their adventure beyond Devil’s Den to explore more of what the region offers.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Devil’s Den is a privately owned site, open year-round except on Christmas. Snorkeling is available on a first-come, first-served basis with a two-hour limit due to its popularity.

Scuba diving is also offered, with a unique opportunity for night dives by prior arrangement. Remember, if you’re scuba diving, you need an open-water certification and a buddy. The park’s rule for all divers is to leave any fossils undisturbed.

This spring is not just a diving spot; it’s a journey into Florida’s prehistoric landscape, offering a unique glimpse into the state’s natural history.

13. Ginnie Springs Outdoors – High Springs, Florid

Visit Website | Google Map Location

Ginnie Springs Outdoors, a 200-acre natural water park nestled in the forests of north central Florida, offers a unique blend of adventure and tranquility.

This privately owned park boasts seven pristine freshwater springs, each maintaining a constant 72 degrees, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and cave diving.

Renowned for its crystal-clear waters and diverse aquatic life, Ginnie Springs is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike. From the iconic Ginnie Spring to the quieter Devil’s Eye, each pool offers a different experience.

Location and Accessibility

Located in High Springs, Florida, on the Santa Fe River, Ginnie Springs Outdoors is easily accessible by vehicle. It’s a short drive southwest of Jacksonville, making it a convenient retreat for both locals and visitors. How to Reach There

The most direct route to Ginnie Springs Outdoors is by car. The park’s proximity to major Florida cities makes it an ideal destination for a day trip or a longer camping stay.

Nearby Attractions

Besides the springs themselves, visitors can enjoy the scenic Santa Fe River by canoeing or tubing. The area is also rich in wildlife, offering opportunities for bird watching and nature photography.

Read Also: Best Natural Hot Springs in Wyoming | Mapped & Ranked

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Ginnie Springs Outdoors is popular, especially during summer and on holidays, so expect crowds and plan to arrive early. The park prohibits pets and jet skis, ensuring a peaceful environment.

It offers both primitive and electrical campsites, along with a country store, gift shop, deli, and dive shop for rentals. Certified divers can explore unique underwater caves, and snorkelers can enjoy the springs’ beauty without needing extensive gear.

The park’s diverse offerings, combined with its historical significance, make Ginnie Springs Outdoors a must-visit destination in Florida.

14. Wakulla Springs State Park

Visit Website | Google Map Location

Wakulla Springs State Park, home to one of the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs, is a natural wonderland waiting to be explored. The park’s crystal-clear waters, with a refreshing temperature of 70 degrees, offer a delightful escape from the Florida heat.

As you take a dip in these sapphire waters, you might encounter manatees, alligators, and a diverse range of wildlife. The historic lodge, a charming relic of old Florida, adds a touch of elegance to your visit. Wakulla Springs is not just a place; it’s a living testament to thousands of years of history.

Early Native American communities once thrived along its shores, and Hollywood filmmakers recognized its pristine beauty, using it as a backdrop for iconic movies like “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

Today, you can swim where mastodons once roamed and embark on guided boat tours that reveal the secrets of this ancient spring. Keep your eyes peeled for alligators, manatees, and various bird species that call the park home.

The 1930s Spanish-style lodge is a treasure trove of period furniture, original elevators, and colorful painted ceilings depicting Florida’s wildlife and scenes from the past.

Location and Accessibility

Wakulla Springs State Park is conveniently located just twenty minutes south of Tallahassee, making it an accessible getaway for both locals and visitors. It’s a glimpse of the “Old Florida” that’s easy to reach.

How to Reach There

Getting to Wakulla Springs State Park is straightforward; simply take a scenic drive to the park entrance. It’s a short journey that promises a memorable experience.

Nearby Attractions

While at the park, you can enjoy riverboat tours that offer glimpses of wading birds, anhingas, and grebes, providing fantastic photographic opportunities.

The park is a haven for birdwatching, with songbirds and various species inhabiting its forests during late fall, winter, and spring. Additionally, you can explore biking, hiking, and equestrian trails, or take a refreshing swim in the spring.

Read Also: 8 Best Natural Hot Springs in Virginia to Soak – Mapped & Ranked

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Wakulla Springs State Park is a popular destination, so consider arriving early, especially during busy times. The park doesn’t permit pets, ensuring a tranquil environment for all visitors.

It offers diverse amenities, including swimming areas, picnic spots, and the option to rent equipment for various activities. The Friends of Wakulla Springs, Inc. (FOWS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the park’s preservation and educational efforts.

Come and experience the timeless allure of Wakulla Springs State Park, a hidden gem in Florida’s natural landscape.

15. Juniper Springs Recreation Area – Silver Springs, Florida

 Google Map Location

Juniper Springs, nestled in Florida’s Ocala National Forest, offers a unique subtropical oasis. Known for its crystal-clear springs and rich history, it dates back to the 1930s when the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed its facilities.

The area boasts a mix of tiny bubbling springs and massive ones gushing from the earth, all under a canopy of palms and oaks. It’s an ideal spot for nature lovers, with amenities like swimming areas, picnic spots, campgrounds, and trails.

Location and Accessibility

Located on State Road 40, Juniper Springs lies between Ocala and Ormond Beach. It’s easily accessible by major highways, making it a convenient destination for a day trip or longer stay.

The area is well-maintained, with clear signage and facilities designed for accessibility, including restrooms with hot showers and a variety of picnic and camping amenities.

How to Reach There

From I-75, take Highway 40 east through Ocala and Silver Springs for about 36 miles. From I-95, take the Ocala/Silver Springs Exit, then Highway 40 west for roughly 37 miles. The entrance to the recreation area is on the north side of Highway 40.

Nearby Attractions

Beyond Juniper Springs, the Ocala National Forest offers a plethora of activities. Nearby attractions include other natural springs, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing areas. The region’s rich biodiversity and scenic landscapes provide ample opportunities for photography, birding, and nature exploration.

Important Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Entry Fees: $12 per person, with an annual day-use pass available for $75. Many areas now require online payment, so downloading the Recreation.gov app is advised.
  • Activities: Include swimming, picnicking, hiking, canoeing, and visiting the Millhouse. Kayak rentals are available at $60 for tandem and $50 for single kayaks, including equipment and shuttle service.
  • Campground Reservations: This can be made at 1-877-444-6777 or online. Juniper Springs Campground offers shaded sites with basic amenities but no full hookups.
  • Contact Information: For current status updates, call the gatehouse at (352) 625-3147.

16. Three Sisters Springs – Crystal River, Florida

Visit Website | Google Map Location

Three Sisters Springs, a unit of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, is a natural wonder in Florida. Known for its crystal-clear, turquoise waters, this location is a wildlife sanctuary, especially for manatees during the winter.

The springs are encircled by a boardwalk, offering spectacular views and opportunities for wildlife spotting. Though water access from the refuge itself is restricted, the area is renowned for its pristine beauty and ecological significance.

Location and Accessibility

Situated within an urban setting in Crystal River, Three Sisters Springs is uniquely accessible while preserving its natural state. Parking on the refuge is limited to handicapped vehicles, emphasizing pedestrian and eco-friendly access.

Read Also: Ojai Hot Springs (Ecotopia) in California – Read Before You Visit

How to Reach There

The most convenient way to visit is via the trolley service from City Hall, which is included with your admission ticket. This service enhances the experience by reducing traffic congestion and environmental impact near the springs.

Nearby Attractions

Crystal River offers a range of attractions, including kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling opportunities in areas adjacent to the springs. The broader region features hiking trails, bird-watching spots, and additional natural springs, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

  • Manatee Manners: When engaging in water activities like kayaking and snorkeling, it’s crucial to observe respectful practices around the manatees, ensuring their safety and well-being.
  • Seasonal Access: While Three Sisters Springs is open year-round, water access from off-site locations is unrestricted only from April 1 to November 14.
  • Conservation Efforts: The springs’ preservation as a wildlife refuge in 2011 marked a significant achievement in conservation, highlighting the area’s importance.
  • Visitor Information: For more details on planning your visit, contact the Three Sisters Springs Center, which manages land access and provides valuable information on the area’s wildlife and ecology.

Remember, a visit to Three Sisters Springs is not just about enjoying its breathtaking scenery; it’s also an opportunity to witness conservation in action and learn about the critical habitat of Florida’s manatee population.

17. Madison Blue Spring State Park – Lee, Florida

Google Map Location

Madison Blue Spring State Park crowned as the No. 1 swimming hole in the USA by USA Today, is a Florida gem. It features a first-magnitude spring with crystal-clear water, ideal for swimming and cave diving.

The spring forms a limestone basin, 82 feet wide and 25 feet deep, pouring into the Withlacoochee River. Surrounded by mixed hardwoods and pines, it offers a stunning backdrop for picnicking and wildlife viewing.

Location and Accessibility

Located in Lee, Florida, this state park is nestled among local farms, offering a serene escape from bustling city life. It’s accessible by car, with parking facilities available. However, the park is subject to frequent closures during high visitation periods, especially on weekends and holidays.

How to Reach There

Madison Blue Spring is within a manageable drive from Tallahassee and other major Florida cities. From Tallahassee, it’s a journey of discovery past the usual beach destinations, leading to this hidden natural wonder.

Nearby Attractions

The park’s location in Lee, Florida, puts it near other natural attractions, including the Suwanee River State Park. These areas provide additional opportunities for exploring Florida’s diverse natural landscapes.

Read Also: 7 Best Hot Springs in Texas You Must Visit | Natural & Mapped

Important Things to Know Before You Go

  • Admission: The entry fee is $5 per vehicle.
  • Swimming and Diving: The spring’s deep, clear waters are perfect for swimming. Diving is permitted, making it a haven for underwater enthusiasts.
  • Facilities: The park provides restrooms, changing areas, and picnic tables.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Snorkeling offers glimpses of the spring’s head, cypress roots, fish, and occasionally turtles.
  • Children’s Safety: The spring quickly deepens beyond the steps, so it’s less suitable for small children.
  • Parking: Note that parking along the road or in the entrance area during closures is prohibited and subject to law enforcement action.
RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Recent Comments

PHP Code Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com