The Visitor’s Guide to Florida’s Natural Springs

The United States has many treasures and many of them can be found right here in Florida. People flock to our popular tourist attractions to experience the best the sunshine state has to offer, but the next time you’re looking to cool off under the Florida sun, we recommend venturing inland to visit one of our countless natural springs. Sitting at a cool 72 degrees all year-round, there are hundreds of beautiful springs in North and Central Florida for you to explore. Can’t wait to jump in? Keep reading, because we’ve put together a list of our top five favorite Florida springs for you!

Top 5 Florida's Natural Springs

TOP 5 Florida Springs

  1. Silver Springs 

A little history lesson, Silver Springs became a commercial distribution center for Central Florida in the 1850s. Twenty years later, Hullam Jones and Phillip Morrell placed glass under a rowboat and started Glass Bottom Boat Tours, Florida’s oldest attraction. These tours are 30 minutes long, $13 a ticket and available until 6 pm daily. Today, the spring also offers Extended Glass Bottom Boat Tours that run for an hour and 30 minutes, with tickets ranging from $20 to $25. 

While known for their boat tours, Silver Springs has countless activities, like a two-hour guided paddling adventure that ranges from $30 to $70. They also offer Shuttle Service from Ray Wayside Park for a full-day paddle rental, with prices ranging from $15 to $60 and hours until sunset. There are also plenty of dining options at SpringSide Restaurant, with vegan and vegetarian options. They also have sweet treats, ice cream, and baked goods at Paradise Treats! 

  1. Ginnie Springs

Since 1971, this privately-owned spring has been known for hosting many college students from UF, FSU, and UCF. It’s conveniently located in Gilchrist County and is connected south of the Sante Fe river. This spring is also very popular for scuba diving adventures, with prices ranging from $24 to $32. Or you can float your worries away and go river tubing — it takes about one hour to complete and it’s perfect way to experience the relaxing side of these action-packed springs. You can even keep the fun going when you secure a camping spot for $8 to $30. A general admission ticket costs between $15 to $20, depending on the season.

  1.  Weeki Wachee Springs Park

Known for dazzling mermaid shows, Weeki Wachee Springs Park is one of our favorites around. The attraction’s founder, Newton Perry, invented an air hose supplying oxygen for the mermaids to use underwater. There is an 18-seat theater built into limestone six-feet below the water for the audience to watch every second of the action, plus five locations throughout the park for you to grab a bite to eat before your next adventure. You can also enjoy river boat tours, paddling, picnicking, and swimming while visiting the freshwater springs.

  1. Warm Mineral Springs Park

It is rumored that Warm Mineral Springs Park is home to the fountain of youth Ponce de Leon was trying to find on his trip to Florida — this is your chance to find out if the legends are true. This area in North Port contains many archaeological remnants like bones and artifacts from Native Americans. The only park with a warm water mineral spring at 85 degrees year-round, visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the high-mineralized springs, spa services and bring pool noodles to swim around in the swim “donut”.

  1. Ichetucknee Springs

Located in Fort White, Ichetucknee Springs is open from 8 a.m. until sunset every day. These springs have a rich history, including phosphate mining in the early 20th century that left behind pits that still exist today. Fast forward to the 50s, when tubing hit peak popularity — especially for students from Gainesville. A Spanish mission site was also found here in the 17th century, but these days there are many activities to take part in during your visit, including birdwatching, paddling, geo-seeking, hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, tubing and more! Admission is $6 per car. 

More Florida springs to enjoy include Crystal River, De Leon Springs, Fanning Springs, Gilchrist Blue Springs, Ocala National Forest, Salt Springs, Springs State park, Silver Glen Springs, Sisters Springs, Suwannee River, and Wekiwa Springs State Park. However, there are important things you need to do before and during your visit. Make sure to go through this list to see some essentials of visiting Florida springs. 

10 Dos and Don’ts When Visiting Our Natural Springs

1. DO bring sunscreen. 

The sun rays are strong! It’s called the sunshine state for a reason — the Florida sun is no joke, so, stay safe this summer and apply sunscreen frequently. 

2. DO bring the proper equipment.

Make sure to bring correct hiking shoes, insect repellent, waterproof phone cases, snacks, and towels. You can also bring your own tubes to float along the spring, however, at some springs you can rent tubes. Make sure to wear the correct clothes for either hiking or swimming. If you want to hit the water to escape the sun, you can also bring in your canoes, floaties, and diving equipment to enjoy. 

3. DO stay alert for any surprises. 

Wildlife is full of surprises. Make sure to be alert to your surroundings and act accordingly. Always make sure to read the rules before entering the springs or trails.

4. DO lock your belongings.

Make sure to secure your items away in a locker or your car. It’s not smart to go into the springs and leave your items unattended outside the water. 

5. DO explore! 

There are endless opportunities for you to get out and explore Florida’s natural wonders. Go snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, fishing, hiking, and camping to make the most of your time in the great outdoors! Make sure to check on the spring’s website before to see what activities are not allowed. 

6. DON’T interact with wildlife. 

No matter how cute the animal is — do not touch! Some wildlife that you might see include manatees, snakes, and alligators. It can be dangerous for you and the animal when you try to feed or touch them, so it’s best to observe their beauty from a distance.

7. DON’T bring animals or pets. 

In a lot of springs, pets aren’t allowed as they can vulnerable to wildlife, especially alligators. Even if pets are allowed, it’s a good idea to leave them at home to avoid any potential run-ins with the local animal residents. 

8. DON’T litter.

Make sure to stay mindful of conserving nature. The springs are beautiful and we can keep it that way if we avoid littering and make sure all of our trash ends up in a trash can at the end of the day. Pollution is harmful to us humans, nature, and wildlife.

9. DON’T forget to check the weather.

Florida weather is famous for turning on a dime — you never know when a storm can crash your plans for a sunny day at the springs. Make sure to check your weather app before you make the drive over.

10. DON’T leave children unattended.

At some springs, children aren’t allowed, so check the spring’s rules before arriving so you don’t have to change your plans last minute. If you do bring the whole family, make sure to stay alert since it’s easy to fall on the slick surfaces or into swimming areas. Pro-tip: Make sure children have the right floaties for the springs!