Beaches and theme parks get a lot of tourist attention, but if you ask me, Florida’s springs are the best part of our state. They are absolutely beautiful and I love exploring them.
Here are some of my favorite springs in Florida.
Florida Spring Maps and Guides
Florida’s springs are located throughout the state. There are quite a few maps available, but sadly none of them are 100% comprehensive.
There are challenges to creating a map of springs in Florida. Some springs are privately owned, some are only accessible by boat, and some are difficult to access.
Two resources are helpful if you’re looking for a good map, or a guide to visiting springs.
This interactive map of springs in Florida is useful because it groups springs by nearby cities, and other nearby springs.
The book “Touring the Springs of Florida” is also a super helpful guide which I’ve used many times.
It can be especially helpful to have a paper, physical book while exploring springs in rural Florida, or camping near a spring, without internet access.
Rock Springs/Kelly Park
Rock Springs is one of the best springs in Florida for many reasons.
First, it is stunningly beautiful. The waters in Rock Springs Run are amazingly blue, and are crystal clear.
Second, Rock Springs and Kelly Park, which is a county park that surrounds the spring, offer a ton of activities, and are a great place to spend time. There is a playground, a sand volleyball court, picnic pavilions, and there is even on-site camping.
Rock Springs Run also has an amazingly beautiful river, which is like a natural lazy river. Many people love to float down the spring run on tubes, sometimes many times. You can also kayak and canoe on some parts of the river.
Rock Springs is extremely accessible to people who are visiting Orlando, or who live near the Orlando metro area.
For more information, check out the full guide to Rock Springs/Kelly Park.
Devil’s Den is one of the most unique and beautiful springs in Florida.
Unlike many other springs in Florida, Devil’s Den is entirely underground in a giant cavern. It’s only accessible via a dark, narrow entrance and stairway.
Inside, the cave opens up into a large, beautiful space, filled with deep, brilliant blue water. It’s magical. Sunbeams shoot down into the water through a round solution hole in the cave’s ceiling, with green plants climbing down toward the water.
Everything adds up to create a truly surreal and amazing experience — it’s like having a Mexican cenote in Florida.
Devil’s Den is an amazing site, and is definitely worth a visit. But, I must give a big caveat. This site has some special quirks. If you don’t know what to expect, you may be disappointed. Note: There is on-site camping at Devil’s Den Spring.
For more information, and the unbelievable history behind the spring, check out the guide to Devil’s Den Spring.
Blue Springs State Park
Blue Springs is a gorgeous spring located near the St. Johns River. It’s located in Volusia County, about 40 miles northeast of Orlando.
Blue Springs State Park is also commonly called “Volusia Blue Springs” because there are so many springs with the name “Blue Springs” in Florida.
Volusia Blue Springs State Park is incredibly popular, and can become very crowded depending on when you go. Be sure to plan ahead, know what to expect, and visit at a good time.
State park access can reach maximum capacity, and be restricted due to overcrowding in warm summer months. Spring and water access is closed during the winter to protect manatees.
Blue Springs State Park has a ton of things to do, especially water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing, manatee watching and more.
There is also a network of paths and boardwalks which follow the spring run, so be sure to bring good shoes if you want to explore on land. Warm clothes are also advised during cold weather.
Because Blue Springs State Park is so close to the Atlantic Ocean and Orlando, it’s just a short drive away from beaches, theme parks, and many of the most popular things to do in Florida.
Blue Springs State Park has on-site camping and cabin rentals.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Ichetucknee Springs is located in north central Florida.
There are eight major springs inside Ichetucknee Springs State Park. The two most popular springs are the Ichetucknee Head Spring, and Blue Hole Springs.
The Ichetucknee Head Spring is a popular swimming hole, and the Blue Hole Spring is popular for SCUBA and underwater cave diving.
Read more about the Ichetucknee Blue Hole Spring
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is most famous and popular for tubing down the Ichetucknee River.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is incredibly busy in the summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. During spring, fall and winter, the park remains much quieter and receives much less visitor traffic.
There are many rules for visiting Ichetucknee Springs, and there are seasonal restrictions. While trip planning, be sure to do research before going so you know what to expect.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park does not have on-site camping, but there are several options for camping nearby, including the beautiful nearby Ichetucknee Springs Campground.
Read more about Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
Gilchrist Blue Springs is located in north central Florida, inside Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Spring State Park. It’s about 45 minutes away from Gainesville.
Gilchrist Blue Spring was privately owned since it opened in 1958, but it was acquired by the state of Florida in 2017 and turned into a state park. It’s the newest state park in Florida, and is undergoing improvements.
Gilchrist Blue Springs is most famous for its beautiful blue water and large swimming area. The water depth is deep over the spring vent, and shallow in other areas. There is a zero-depth beach entry where kids like to play.
There used to be a wooden jumping platform, but it was removed when it was taken over by Florida State Parks because it was becoming unsafe.
Gilchrist Blue Springs is excellent for camping, kayaking, snorkeling and swimming. There are also hiking trails in the state park, and an elevated wooden boardwalk to protect the fragile spring and floodplain ecosystem.
In times of heavy rain Gilchrist Blue Spring may be closed due to flooding along the Santa Fe River.
Admission is often restricted after the park and spring reach maximum capacity.
The park has on-site camping and 23 campsites.
Read more about Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
Ginnie Springs is one of the most beautiful springs in Florida. Sadly, it is also one of the most over-used, and abused.
Ginnie Springs is located in Gilchrist County, about 45 minutes west of Gainesville, near the town of High Springs.
Ginnie Springs features a series of 7 springs which all flow into the Santa Fe River.
Ginnie Springs is popular for many activities, including camping, tubing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, SCUBA diving, and more.
Ginnie Springs is privately owned, and its private management is often controversial. Alcohol consumption is allowed in Ginnie Springs, and many visitors complain that this ruins the spring.
Many visitors complain about trash, obnoxious drunken behavior, loud music, fights, and more. Many avoid visiting on weekends or holidays, when the drunken behavior may be worse. Many visitors also complain that public areas –especially bathrooms– often become disgusting.
The private ownership has also been criticized for selling spring and aquifer water pumping rights to Nestle, which uses the water to manufacture plastic water bottles.
Critics of Ginnie Springs owners are unhappy that water pumping damages the fragile Florida Aquifer, which feeds all springs in Florida. The Florida Aquifer is already threatened by over-pumping, environmental pollution and other threats.
There is on-site camping at Ginnie Springs.
Read more about Ginnie Springs
Warm Mineral Springs
Warm Mineral Springs is unlike most other springs in Florida. It’s a geothermal hot spring, and stays warm year-round.
It also has a very high concentration of natural minerals, which makes it a global destination for health and wellness seekers.
Many visitors, especially Europeans, believe that the water has healing properties, and can help with a wide range of health problems.
Warm Mineral is a fascinating place. It’s incredibly deep, has a fascinating history, and a cult following.
Warm Mineral is one of my favorite springs in Florida. But, I admit, it’s not for everyone. Some people love it, and some people don’t like it at all.
If you’re near in southwest Florida, anywhere near Tampa or Sarasota, I highly recommend a visit!
Read more about Warm Mineral Springs
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Wekiwa Springs State Park is one of my favorite springs. It has a large, beautiful spring swimming area, and a beautiful, clear river for kayaking and canoeing, further down river.
Some of the shoreline is natural and some has been developed to prevent erosion. There are beautiful grassy areas for picnicking near the spring, and there is beautiful wildlife and nature nearby in the large state park. The state park also has a large campground, which is really nice!
One downside is that Wekiwa Springs State Park gets very crowded. In the summer the park often closes when it reaches maximum capacity, so it’s always a good idea to arrive early and try to avoid leaving the park. The crowds are mostly because Wekiwa Springs is one of the best springs near Orlando — it’s located nearby in Apopka, about 15 minutes drive from Rock Springs in Kelly Park.
Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park is one of the best springs in Florida for scuba diving – cave diving, specifically.
The park includes a giant underground spring system, with a series of caves, which are partially connected. This park, and these springs, are located in a very remote part of Florida and it’s mostly a favorite spring diving destination for cave divers. We did see other non-diving visitors when we were there, though.