- Kelsey Glennon
Most tourists will come to Orlando and splash around in wave pools, or float down lukewarm lazy rivers at crowded water parks. But smart, savvy travelers seek out Central Florida’s secret natural attractions — its springs. Due to Florida’s geology and climate, the state is home to the most natural springs in the country. Unlike popular geothermal or “hot” springs, Florida’s springs stay mild at 68-70 degrees F, as the water sits close to the earth’s surface in Florida’s aquifer. With almost a year-round climate calling for bathing suits, Florida’s natural springs are popular for cooling off, enjoying the outdoors, and experiencing nature’s wonders.
Wekiwa Springs is a popular recreational area for Central Floridians. You can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities at this state park, from horseback riding to camping, canoeing, and of course swimming in their well-maintained spring. In the summer months, the park is so busy it often runs out of parking space, so arrive early.
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1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, FL, +1 407-884-2009
Rock Springs at Kelly State Park is known for its tubing trail, Rock Springs Run, a meandering creek fed from the spring emerging from a rock bluff. This state reserve also boasts 17 miles of trails and recreational hunting opportunities.
Testing the chilly waters and getting ready to dive beneath the surface with @benjammin_sol and @wheresmarcos. I love exploring the underwater world. The unlimited visibility the springs grant their visitors makes it easy – I keep coming back for more. • • • • • #florida #kellypark #rockspringsrun #orlando #lovefl #floridasprings #America #vsco #vscocam #findyourpark #getoutstayout #optoutside #keepitwild #notasuck #moderndayexplorer #huffpostgram #discoverandescape
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30601 County Road 433, Sorrento, FL
Blue Springs is the largest spring along the St. John’s River. Its water stays at a crisp 73 degrees year-round, attracting Manatees during their mating season. Snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving are popular activities at this beautiful spring.
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2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL, +1 386-775-3663
De Leon Springs
Get an early start and head to De Leon Springs, where you can get a home-cooked breakfast before your day in the sun. On property is the historic Sugar Mill, now a restaurant serving make-your-own pancakes. This state park is named after Juan Ponce De Leon, the Spanish conquistador credited with being the first European explorer to land in North America. Activities include swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and boating.
601 Ponce De Leon Blvd, De Leon Springs, FL, +1 386-985-4212
If you’ve never been to Silver Springs, you’ve likely seen it in film. This crystal clear spring was the movie set for the cult classic Creature From the Black Lagoon and the James Bond film Thunderball, to name a couple. Besides being a minor attraction for film buffs, Silver Springs also offers glass-bottom boat rides, horseback riding trails, kayak rentals, and camping facilities.
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5656 E Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL, +1 352-261-5840
Juniper Spring is deep in the Ocala National Forest, and is home to a swimming area, campground site, and a network of trails. Juniper Springs is truly a jungle oasis shrouded in palms and live oaks with hundreds of tiny bubbling springs.
Ocala National Forest 26701 FL-40, Silver Springs, FL