The Ultimate Florida Springs Guide

  • by Catherine Tortorici
  • April 18, 2022
  • 44529 views

The weather is heating up- it's the perfect time to take a cool dip in a crystal clear spring. In Florida has the most natural springs in the nation due to having the aquifer. Springs provide tons of recreational activities such as swimming, kayaking and diving. Jacksonville is a short drive away to many of these springs- Check out our list below for our top spots.

Silver Glen Springs

Silver Glen Springs is an Outstanding Florida Spring and a first-magnitude spring with a large, semicircular pool that measures 200 feet from north to south and 175 feet from east to west. This beautiful spot along the edge of the Big Scrub in the Ocala National Forest offers a spring run that pours out into Lake George, the largest of the St. Johns River Chain of Lakes.

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Rainbow Springs

Rainbow Springs State Park is one of the most popular State Parks in Florida. Located about 2 hours away from Jacksonville, it’s well worth the drive. As one of Florida’s largest springs, the headsprings of the Rainbow River originate in this beautiful 1,472-acre park. Rich in natural beauty and cultural history, it's a popular spot for swimmers, kayakers, tubers and campers.

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Silver Springs State Park

About an hour and a half from Jacksonville, Silver Springs State Park is one of the most beautiful springs in Florida. The 4,000-acre Silver Springs State Park encompasses not only the springs, but the entire 5-mile Silver River and surrounding forest. As one of Florida’s oldest attractions, the Glass Bottom Boats show the crystal-clear springs and the underwater life that lives below.

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Fanning Springs State Park

Located along the meandering Suwannee River, Fanning Springs is an inviting source of cool, clear crisp water that has attracted people for thousands of years. The springs not only offer the perfect 72 degree water to cool down on hot Florida days, it also offers an abundance of underwater wildlife to view such as musk turtles, bass, mullet, freshwater flounder, bowfin, and manatees during the colder days, just to name a few.

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The Santa Fe River + Over 20 Springs

The Santa Fe River is one of North Florida’s greatest treasures, loved and protected by many Floridians, and it’s only an hour and a half from Jacksonville.  Beginning at Lake Santa Fe, the 44-mile long river is well-known as one of the best Florida rivers to kayak or canoe. Dozens of famous springs and parks line the beautiful river, but some of the most wonderful discoveries are the unnamed locations and secret spots to be found.  

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Rock Springs 

Just under two hours from Jacksonville is one of Florida's most beautiful parks - Kelly Park & Rock Springs. Located in Apopka, FL Rock Springs is a second-magnitude natural spring that pumps out water at a rate of 26,000 gallons per minute. This large, free-flowing spring offers crystal clear, 68-degree water and is open to swimmers, tubers and kayakers.

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Fern Hammock Spring

Fern Hammock Springs is a hidden gem is less than 2 hours outside of JAX. This second-magnitude spring and is one of the most picturesque spots in St. Johns River Water Management District. The irregularly shaped main pool measures about 160 feet from east to west and 75 feet from north to south, with a depth of 2 to 6 feet. A wooden footbridge spans the spring pool near its center.

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Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River

Three Sisters Springs is a gem of Crystal River, FL. They have a boardwalk with multiple areas to view manatees in nature. The 57-acre refuge that surrounds the Three Sisters Springs is an example of a restored wetland habit. Visitors can explore hiking trails to view the Wetland, Lake Crystal, Magnolia Spring, and the scenic boardwalk that surrounds Three Sisters Springs.

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Madison Blue Spring State Park

Madison Blue Spring State Park is the place to be for swimming and cave diving. It is about 82 feet wide and 25 feet deep. Voted the No. 1 swimming hole in the country by USA Today, Madison Blue Spring is a family favorite destination and a fantastic place to spend the day.

*Effective April 11, 2022: Madison Blue Spring State Park is closed to swimming activities due to a spring brownout caused by rising river levels.

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Homosassa Springs

The Homosassa main spring is the largest in the Homosassa Springs Group, which includes nearly 30 springs. These springs form the head of the Homosassa River, which calmly flows west for 8 miles before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. The Homosassa Spring is filled with a variety of saltwater and freshwater fish species, but is perhaps best known for its historic value as a warm water haven for wintering West Indian manatees.

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Weeki Wachee Springs 

Weeki Wachee Springs is a unique spot. You can enjoy a classic mermaid show or check out the  deepest freshwater cave system in the country. Kids and adults have something to love here.

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Ichetucknee Springs

Ichetucknee Springs is a great spot for tubing and exploring. The 2,669-acre Ichetucknee Springs State Park is also a wildlife haven, where beaver, otter, gar, softshell turtle, wild turkey, wood duck and limpkin all find a home. 

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Ponce de Leon Springs

This spring is named after Juan Ponce de León, who led the first Spanish expedition to Florida in 1513 - as legend has it - in search of the fountain of youth.

This beautiful spring is named for Juan Ponce de León, who led the first Spanish expedition to Florida in 1513 - as legend has it - in search of the fountain of youth. Visitors can explore two self-guided nature trails and learn about the environment. Picnicking is a popular activity at the park; grills and pavilions are available. Anglers can enjoy fishing for catfish, largemouth bass, chain pickerel and panfish.

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Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs features 67 campsites, just be sure to make your reservation ahead of time! The water is a consistent 72 degrees so it is always refreshing. Manatees are drawn to the spring in the winter months.

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Three Sisters Springs

Three Sisters Springs is made up of 19 freshwater springs and is home of many manatee which you can see up close and personal while swimming. Located in Crystal River Florida, Three Sisters is just a short stretch across state and offers some of the most beautiful scenery and nature Florida has to offer. 

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