Incredible Freshwater Springs in Florida

Grab a canoe for a peaceful afternoon at Rainbow Springs
Grab a canoe for a peaceful afternoon at Rainbow Springs | © RSBPhoto / Alamy
Photo of Karina Castrillo
22 April 2021

The freshwater springs scattered throughout the Florida peninsula promise snorkeling, swimming, manatee spotting and, of course, sparkling waters. Your trip will be enhanced by the year-round temperate climate in The Sunshine State. And if you hit the right spot, you might even see a mermaid or two. No, really. Ready to take the dip? Here are the best freshwater springs in Florida.

Rainbow Springs State Park

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Rainbow Springs State Park is the source of the Rainbow River in North Central Florida.
© Rainbow Springs State Park
Rainbow Springs is a local favorite. The scenic waters have a blue-green hue and are bordered by vegetation. They’re also home to wading birds and turtles. The river also served as an important source for Native Americans, and relics such as stone tools and mammoth fossils have been found here.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Park, Theater
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Weeki Wachee city in Florida known for mermaids show and crystal clear waters.
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Settle in for a live mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs, a major attraction for families. The Weeki Wachee mermaids perform several musical numbers and activities underwater, including eating and drinking. The park also offers educational wildlife shows and a riverboat cruise.

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

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PONCE DE LEON, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - Oct 18, 2018: A short flight of stairs descends into the Spring Run at Ponce De Leon Springs State Recreation
© Wirestock, Inc. / Alamy
A dip in these springs may not bring immortality, but the area is nonetheless named after Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who led the expedition to find the Fountain of Youth. At a constant 68F (20C), the waters provide a refreshing escape from the Florida summer heat.

Ginnie Springs

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underwater Ginnie Springs Florida fresh water spring cavern scuba sport diving High Springs, FL, fla, divers at cave mouth
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Perched on the south side of the Santa Fe River, Ginnie Springs has clear-blue water that draws in scuba divers and snorkelers who explore the limestone bottom and caves. You can spot turtles, wading birds and other wildlife near the area, while the bubbling string of springs along the river is perfect for tubing and kayaking.

Blue Spring State Park

Natural Feature, Park
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Swimming area on the Blue Spring Run in Blue Spring State Park, near Orange City_CY0AJ3
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A designated manatee refuge, Blue Spring is home (from November through March) to a population of West Indian manatees. Though visitors may not swim here during the winter season, there are plenty of opportunities for manatee viewing. Swimmers, snorkelers and certified scuba divers are welcome to take a dip during the summer months.

Silver Springs State Park

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Florida, South, Silver Springs, State Park, Silver River, glass bottom boat, Chief Micanopy, nature, natural scenery, water, palm trees, sightseeing v
© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 18+ / Alamy
You may not be able to swim in this artesian spring, but it’s worth a visit for the epic sunset reflections and natural beauty. You can stroll along the river or go kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding. You can also take a glass-bottom boat ride – perfect for spotting fish, alligators and manatees.

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

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Wakulla Springs State Park spring boil cypress trees fall colors Florida
© M Timothy O'Keefe / Alamy
Among the deepest and largest freshwater springs in Florida, the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs feature a network of underwater caves; swimmers have plenty of water to explore here. The grand spring is near the Wakulla River, home to alligators, turtles and other wildlife.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

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MAY 22, 2013, ELLIE SCHILLER HOMOSASSA SPRINGS, FL: The Fish Bowl observatory at this Florida state park lets guests see underwater wildlife.
© Phil Lowe / Alamy
You may not be able to swim here, but there’s plenty of wildlife watching to do, as the springs are a magnet for manatees and fish. The forested area surrounding the waters is also home to the bald eagle, the red fox and many other native Florida species.
These recommendations were updated on April 22, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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