Many people come to Florida for the theme parks or the beaches, but the Sunshine State has an endless supply of outdoor excursions. One severely overlooked activity is visiting the collection of springs that can be found up and down the state. These springs bring out fun opportunities to kayak, picnic, or simply lounge on a tube in Florida's natural lazy river.
Each spring has its own special traits that are worth checking out. Some like Jeannie springs is known for its party-like atmosphere, while Weikiwa has a more family-friendly tone. So if you're looking for a bit more adventure than a day at Disney World, here are the ten best-hidden springs in Florida that you need to check out.
10 Blue Springs
This gem can be found just a short drive north of Orlando. The Blue Springs State Park has an incredible number of amenities to enjoy from hiking and fishing to paddle boarding and scuba diving. Of course, the most popular activity is simply taking dive into the spring's crystal clear blue waters. If you're lucky, you can even swim with the manatees, who like to visit during the winter months.
It's a perfect 72 degrees year-round, which means you need to get here early before they reach capacity.
9 DeLeon Springs
This little water hole doesn't get as busy as Blue Springs, but it comes with all the same features. It's in Volusia County near the east coast of Florida. De Leon Springs has layers of history from its days as a grist mill during the Civil War. You can check out the historical landmarks fastened about this area, or you can enjoy a day out in the sun boating or swimming. It costs about six dollars to park your car, but then the day is yours to spend at this quaint Florida spring.
8 Rainbow Springs
Rainbow Springs is surrounded by forestry, so don't be surprised if you seem some wildlife. The sapphire blue waters enclosed by this lush greenery make it this place a mesmerizing hidden gem. Most visitors came here to snorkel, tube, or canoe, but if you feel like hiking, you'll probably run into a waterfall or two. There's even a nearby restaurant to get a quick lunch, although picnics are always welcome.
7 Three Sisters Springs
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This clandestine spectacle can only be accessed by the waterways. As a unit of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Three Sister's Springs can be found by boat or paddleboard, but you have to find your way there yourself through King's Bay.
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There is a walkway trail you can hike to explore the scene from a higher vantage point and you'll more than likely see a manatee amongst the other swimmers.
6 Manatee Springs
If you're not here for a day of swimming, you can always walk the 800-foot boardwalk that surrounds Manatee Springs. In this exquisite forest, you can engage with its active wildlife which you can visit by foot or bike. It's never too hot or too cold, so people flock to this tropical obscure pool from January to December.
This spring usually hosts manatees year-round, giving meaning to its name. This gorgeous oasis is known for its unique kayaking views and for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with sea cows.
5 Silver Springs
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Silver Springs, which is located just south of Gainsville, looks like something out of a fairy tale. It's been a natural Florida marker since the 1870s and has since been listed as a natural landmark. Like most springs, their outdoor activities range from kayaking to tubing, but this fantastical refuge has one more thing to offer.
You can take a tour in one of their clear bottom boats for an exclusive tour of the bottom of Silver Springs. You'll definitely see the typical fish or two, but this site is the former home of Native Americans; you never know what kind of relics might be lying beneath the surface.
4 Ichetucknee Springs
This concealed spring station can be found north of Gainsville. Ichetucknee Springs is a bit more rigorous than the others mentioned on this list; there are essentially eight springs altogether that congregate at the Ichetucknee River. In the springs, it's not uncommon to see beavers, otters, or even wild turkey roaming about.
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Blue Hole Spring (or Jug Hole) is also attached to Ichetucknee River. It's a well-known underwater world that divers will frequent for its cave system that lies forty feet underground.
3 Ginnie Springs
Ginnie Springs is the where you want to go if you're looking for an outdoor party scene. This water haven is sheltered by tall an extravagant forestry, making it a prime location for a wild retreat. People come here to float in colorful inner tubes, float down the covered channels in kayaks, or to take part in the events that go on here. Their first-ever brew fest is taking place in 2019 where over twenty Florida breweries are coming to offer libations to Ginnie Springs guests.
Admission to Ginnie's is about $15 for an all-day pass and you can rent out water sports equipment.
2 Wekiwa Springs
This family-friendly sector is a great substitution for an expensive day at Disney. It's a part of Orlando's metropolitan area (just a few minutes from downtown) and invites guests in for only a small parking fee. It's open 365 days a year, but parking spots fill up fast.
This private escape is a favorite amongst the locals, where many families still gather for a day of picnics, swimming, and trail exploring. The wildlife can be seen through nature hikes, bike, and even horse-back rides!
1 Devil's Den
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Devil's Den is the famous dry spring that is encompassed by a cave that formed when the roof over a subterranean river collapsed. The water sits at a 72-degree temperature year-round and gets its name from the vapor that rises from the water during the colder months. The smoke forms near the entrance of the cave and early inhabitants said it looks like smoke coming from Hell's chimney. Thus, it is aptly named Devil's Den.
This underground spring is highly coveted by SCUBA divers. In fact, this hidden Florida spring is strictly reserved for those who want to snorkel or SCUBA dive. It's open seven days a week and costs $15 on the weekday and $20 on the weekend.