Rainbow Springs

Rainbow Springs is one of the most beautiful springs in Florida. The water is crystal clear and the surrounding environment is beautiful. 

There are many things to do in Rainbow Springs, including kayaking, tubing, paddleboarding, picnicking, and more.

Rainbow Springs forms the headwaters of the beautiful Rainbow River, which flows from north to south, and eventually empties into the Withlacoochee River.

Note: “Rainbow Springs” is often used to describe a variety of different places and activities. 

“Rainbow Springs” may refer to the Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs State Park, or the actual Rainbow Springs headspring. 

To further complicate things, there are several different ways to access Rainbow Springs. 

Visitors should be sure they know which part of Rainbow Springs to access, depending on the goals and activities.

For more information on what is allowed, and where, be sure to check the official websites for access and activity details.

The Rainbow River is a protected aquatic preserve. Disposable items are prohibited on the river, including any type of disposable container, wrapper or anything else which may be considered disposable.

Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow Springs is protected by Rainbow Springs State Park.

There are two sections of Rainbow Springs State Park. The main Rainbow Springs headspring is located in the northern section, along with kayak rentals. 

The Rainbow Springs State Park campground, tube rentals and other activities are located in the southern section. Tubing is not allowed in the Rainbow Springs headspring.

Important Note

Rainbow Springs becomes extremely crowded during weekends and holidays, especially during warm weather. 

The northern headsprings entrance is often closed when the park becomes full, and reaches maximum capacity. 

When the park reaches maximum capacity nobody will be allowed to enter the park, even visitors who are registered campers. 

If the park reaches maximum capacity visitors who leave the park will not be admitted again until the next day. When the park is at capacity vehicles are not allowed to wait in line to enter the park when it becomes full. 

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Visitors should check the official state park website for more details.

Nearby Cities

  • Brooksville
  • Crystal River
  • Dunnellon
  • Gainesville
  • Homosassa
  • Inverness
  • Ocala
  • Orlando
  • Saint Petersburg
  • Tampa
  • The Villages

Region

Central Florida

Activities

  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Paddle Boarding
  • Picnicking
  • Swimming
  • Tubing

Camping

  • Nearby Camping
  • On-site Camping

Related Spring Group

Rainbow Springs Group

Contact Information

Phone: (352) 465-8555

Rainbow Springs State Park Website

Location

The Rainbow Springs headspring is located inside Rainbow Springs State Park, approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of Dunnellon.

Technical Details of Rainbow Springs Group

The following technical details describe various springs in the Rainbow Springs Group.

Rainbow Springs Group forms the Rainbow River, which flows approximately 5.7 miles (9.2 km) south to the tannic Withlacoochee River.

Surrounding land has high rolling sand hills with pine forest, agricultural fields and developed areas.

Springs, in addition to those at and near the head of the Rainbow River, discharge from numerous limestone crevices and sand boils in the bed of the river and along the banks through the upper 2 miles (3.2 km).

Rainbow Springs Number 1

Rainbow No. 1 is at the head of the Rainbow River.

The spring pool measures 330 ft (10.6 m) north to south and 360 ft (109.7 m) east to west. The large spring pool has multiple vents.

The depth over the main vent is 9.9 ft (3 m). The bottom is sand with occasional limestone boulders. Water is clear and blue. A boil is visible over the main vent.

Aquatic vegetation is patchy, including some exotic aquatic vegetation. Motorized boats are prohibited, but the area is accessible by canoe or kayak.

There is a designated swimming area on the west side of the pool. Land around the northern half of the pool rises sharply to approximately 25 ft (7.6 m) above the water.

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Rainbow Springs State Park facilities are situated on the high ground to the north. Live oak and pines are abundant on high ground. There is a dense hardwood-palm swamp forest along the pool’s east and west edges.

Rainbow Springs Number 4

Rainbow No. 4 is approximately 350 ft (106.7 m) downstream from Spring No. 1.

It issues from a conical depression at the bottom of the river. The circular spring pool measures approximately 75 ft (2.9 m) in diameter.

The depth measured over the vent is 10.9 ft (3.3 m). Water is clear and pale blue. A boil is not visible. Aquatic grasses sway in the current with very little exotic aquatic vegetation. Algae are present but are not dominant.

This spring is located within the State Park no motorized boat zone. Land on both sides of the river is low lying and harbors pristine hardwood swamp forest.

Rainbow Springs Number 6

Rainbow No. 6 is just off the south bank approximately 0.4 miles (0.6 km) downstream from the headwaters.

It emerges from the bottom of the Rainbow River between 1 and 1.5 miles (1.6-2.4 km) downstream from the head of the river. It issues from a conical depression nearest the west bank of the river and forms a boil on the river surface.

The spring pool measures approximately 60 ft (18.3 m) north to south and 75 ft (22.9 m) east to west. The depth measured over the vent is 16.9 ft (5.2 m). Limestone is evident on the bottom of the spring.

River and spring water are clear and pale blue. Aquatic grasses are common in the spring pool. Exotic aquatic vegetation is present on the south side of the pool. Algae occur thinly on limestone substrate. High ground on the west side of the river rises to nearly 20 ft (6.1 m) above the water.

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There are some pines on the hill top. This spring is downstream from the state park, and private houses are along the west bank. The east side of the river is low-lying and heavily forested state land.

Bubbling Spring

Bubbling Spring flows into the Rainbow River from the east approximately 200 ft (61 m) downstream from Spring No. 4. The spring pool measures 45 ft (13.7 m) north to south and 75 ft (22.9 m) east to west.

The shallow spring pool measures only 2.8 ft (0.9 m) over the vent. Water issues from a small crevice in the limestone.

The force of the boil pushes the water column approximately 0.5 ft (0.2 m) higher than the surrounding spring pool. The pool bottom is sand and limestone and the water is clear and pale blue.

This spring and its run have very rich aquatic vegetation. Algae are thinly present on limestone substrate. Bubbling Spring is at the head of a spring run that is approximately 400 ft (121.9 m) long.

Densely forested high ground adjoins the east side of the pool and rises to approximately 15 ft (4.6 m) above water. There is a hardwood forest canopy over the spring pool.

The spring is within the state park. Utilization- The uppermost portion of Rainbow River is part of Rainbow Springs State Park. It is developed into an interpretive and recreation area with emphasis on preserving the natural quality of the watershed.

The east side of the river below the state park is state-owned and protected. The west side below the state park is subdivided into private lots, often with houses near the river’s edge.