Last updated March 15, 2023
Florida is sprawling with natural beauty—from ivory beaches to the mossy emerald Everglades—but, if there’s one natural resource that sets Florida apart from the other states, it’s the abundant and breathtaking natural springs.
Plus, Florida’s nearly perfect year-round weather makes a trip to the springs possible during just about any season.
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Grab your snorkel and get ready to take a deep dive as we let you in on where to find the best natural springs in Florida, broken down by region along with a little science on spring formation.
What’s a Natural Spring?
We know a spring is a body of water enjoyed by snorkelers, divers and kayakers, and it’s an ideal place to float on a hot Florida summer day. But what exactly is a spring?
Natural springs are formed when the water underground begins to surface due to pressure. Overtime, water from rain will collect in aquifers. Think of aquifers as pockets of soil and rock underground that hold onto water. The water accumulates and will move along the subsurface until it can find an exit point. When the water seeps or leaks to the surface, a spring is formed.
Now that we dished the science on springs, let’s look at where you can find natural springs in Florida.
Wacissa River Springs
The Wacissa River, a remote and winding water way, is in Monticello, less than 30 minutes outside of Florida’s capital of Tallahassee. The beauty of this waterway is the number of springs—the river branches off with spots left and right.
Wacissa is the perfect spot for swimming or kayaking down the river. Head to Wacissa for relaxation and a laid-back outing.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
One of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in Florida (not to mention in the world) is Wakulla Springs State Park. And it’s located only 14 miles south of Tallahassee.
Wakulla Springs State Park is ideal for sunbathing, swimming and kayaking. The park even offers glass-bottom boat tours for checking out the manatees and gators below.
Florida Caverns State Park
Florida Caverns State Park, located in Marianna, Florida, offers a variety of activities. Notably, the Blue Hole Spring is a frequented spot for swimming and snorkeling and is admired for its rich color. The water here is clear and cold.
What really sets the Florida Caverns State Park apart is what’s below the surface. While visiting, check out the million-year rock formations in the cool, dark and damp caverns of Marianna.
Itchetucknee Springs State Park
Just four miles northeast of Fort White, you’ll find Itchetucknee Springs State Park, a 2,669-acre wildlife haven. The park is prime for wildlife sightseeing, but it’s especially well-known for its warm-weather tubing during the months of May through September.
Here at Itchetucknee, the water is astonishingly crystal clear, making activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving especially popular. When you’re ready to hang up your snorkel Itchetucknee Springs campground is perfect for pitching your tent, kicking back and unwinding under the stars.
Ginnie Springs is a privately-owned and popular spot for dipping in springs, camping and tubing down the Santa Fe River. Catch visitors partaking in just about every outdoor activity here from paddleboarding to volleyball. Plus, Ginnie Springs offers rentals for sports equipment, snorkels and tubes. They’ve got you covered no matter what activity you decide.
Ginnie Springs is a popular spot for families and college students alike, so expect it to busy, especially during the prime seasons of spring and summer.
Grab your snorkel and slap on your flippers. Devil’s Den is a diver’s paradise and prime spot for Instagram-worthy shots. Devil’s Den is a premiere prehistoric spring, formed by a karst window. Don’t worry, we’ll explain.
A karst window forms when the roof of an underground river collapses. So, think of Devil’s Den as a deep swimming hole or a cave with an exposed roof. Visitors will enter the den by trekking down a flight of stairs. Dive deep and swim within the tall, cavernous walls. Look up and admire the blue sky. Keep in mind, this spot is intended for snorkeling and diving. It is not ideal for swimming.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
About an hour north of Tampa, you’ll find Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Weeki Wachee, which translates to “little spring” or “winding river” is a popular spot for kayaking and paddleboarding, which are available for rental at the park.
What makes Weeki Wachee so worthwhile is its world-renowned mermaid show. You heard that right. At Weeki Wachee, live “mermaids” perform in the springs for a magical maritime show.
Silver Glen Springs
Silver Glen Springs is another popular Central Florida spot, situated in the Ocala National Forest. The water here is clear and glassy, mixed of various shades of turquoise and rich royal blue.
Silver Glen Springs is one of 33 first-magnitude natural springs in Florida. Out of 700 total springs across the state, first-magnitude springs are a big deal. The “magnitude” refers to the amount of water dispelled from the aquifer; first-magnitude springs discharge 64 million or more gallons of water per day. Itchetucknee, Wakulla and Wacissa are among some of the other first-magnitude springs in the state.
Warm Mineral Springs
South Florida may not be as prime for natural springs as the north and central areas of the state, but there is one noteworthy gem located in Southwest Florida—Warm Mineral Springs. You can find Warm Mineral Springs along the southwest portion of the state, nearby Sarasota and North Port.
Warm Mineral Springs lives up to its name. The natural spring offers a serene and meditative experience. It’s considered a health spa by many, visited for its warm and soothing mineral-filled waters, which have been said to benefit the joints, reduce inflammation and do wonders for overall well-being.
Update: Warm Mineral Springs has been temporarily closed due to damage sustained by Hurricane Ian. The springs and surrounding area are expected to reopen by April 2023.
Florida may be known for its many white sand beaches and thrilling amusement parks, but the state’s natural springs may very well be Florida’s best-kept secret. Don’t miss out on experiencing the state’s greatest wonder; Florida natural springs are surely to amaze. Get ready to soak up the sunshine, relax and take a dip in some of the country’s most impressive natural wonders.
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