FLORIDA FRESHWATER SPRINGS

By  Mike Miller  Updated May 12, 2024

Florida has about 1,000 fresh water springs, more than any other state in the country. 33 of these are first magnitude springs discharging more than 100 cubic feet of water per second. 

To put that in perspective, one of these springs could fill an average swimming pool in 20 seconds with many gallons of water.

Silver Springs State ParkSilver Springs

At least 14 Florida cities have “springs” in their names, as this is where development typically began. Many Florida state parks also have "springs" in their names.

The largest springs discharge ground water from the Floridan aquifer, a limestone formation underlying much of the state.  Most spring water is at a constant temperature of 68 to 72 degrees F. 

Many Florida springs support unique ecosystems, and they also flow into streams and rivers that depend on the flow of fresh water. 

Springs are one of the few natural areas in Florida where you can encounter a large variety of plants and animals in one compact area. 

A visit to a spring can not only give you a wonderful swimming hole, but a place where you can see manatees, alligators, otters, and a large variety of fish, birds, and turtles.

Here are some of our favorite Florida freshwater springs. There is an interactive map at the end of this article that shows the location of these and all 1,000 springs.

Alexander Springs Recreational Area, Altoona
Blue Spring State Park,
Orange City
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge,
Crystal River
Ginnie Springs, High Springs
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park, De Leon Springs
Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Fort White
Juniper Springs, Ocala National Forest
Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon
Silver Glen Springs, Ocala National Forest
Silver Springs State Park, Ocala
Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River
Wakulla Springs State Park, Wakulla Springs
Warm Mineral Springs, North Port
Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka

LEARN MORE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE


Alexander SpringsAlexander Springs

ALEXANDER SPRINGS

Alexander Springs Recreational Area
49525 County Road 445
Altoona, Florida.
Tel: 352-669-3522

Alexander Springs and the recreation area named for it is in the Ocala National Forest, the southernmost and oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River.

The recreation area offers camping, swimming, canoeing, scuba diving, hiking, birding and wildlife viewing. 

Alexander Springs is among 27 first-magnitude springs in Florida and is one of the easiest for visitors to enjoy. A first magnitude spring discharges at least 100 cubic feet of water per second. 

The water is a constant 72 degrees and extraordinarily clear with a sandy bottom.


Manatees at Blue Spring State ParkManatees at Blue Spring State Park

BLUE SPRING STATE PARK

2100 W. French Ave
 Orange City, FL 32763
Tel:  383-775-3663 

This park in Orange City is a favorite place to watch the West Indian Manatee.  Hundreds of these gentle animals make the springs their winter home.

There are plenty of overlooks and observation points in the park, but it becomes very crowded with people all year round and it is best to visit the park early in the day. 

The spring's constant 72-degree water temperature attracts not only manatees, but scores of humans enjoying swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and canoeing in the clear unspoiled waters.


Manatee and Fish, Courtesy of Crystal River NWRManatee and Fish, Courtesy of Crystal River NWR

CRYSTAL RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

1502 SE Kings Bay Dr
Crystal River, FL 34429.
Tel: 352-563-2088

Crystal River is one of several wildlife refuges in the area managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 

It is the only refuge created specifically for the protection of the threatened Florida Manatee. 

This unique refuge preserves the last unspoiled and undeveloped spring habitat in Kings Bay, which forms the headwaters of the Crystal River.  

Nearly 600 manatees spend winters in the crystal-clear water of Kings Bay. The most popular wildlife viewing opportunity the refuge offers is manatee viewing from a boardwalk.

There are also dozens of commercial ventures in the surrounding area that offer guided tours, kayak, rentals, and educational opportunities.


Ponce de Leon State ParkPonce de Leon State Park

PONCE DE LEON SPRINGS STATE PARK

601 Ponce de Leon Blvd
De Leon Springs, FL 32130
Tel: 386-985-4212

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park is known for its swimming area and restaurant, but is also a rich source for the cultural history of the area.

The visitor’s center and other displays offer a look back into the park’s 6,000 years of human history. An eco-history boat tour is conducted from the park where you may see gators, bald eagles, otters, and wading birds. 

An unusual and popular feature is the pancake breakfast or lunch at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant where you prepare your own pancakes. 

You can also walk a four-mile trail through the oak forests and cypress swamps and sometimes see wild deer, turkeys, and maybe even a black bear. 


Tubing on the IchetuckneeTubing on the Ichetucknee
Flickr/anoldent

ICHETUCKNEE SPRINGS STATE PARK

12087 SW US Hwy 27
Fort White, FL 32038
Tel: 386-497-4690

Tubing on the Ichetucknee River is a generations old Florida tradition.

The crystal-clear spring-fed river flows 6 miles through shaded hammocks and wetlands before it joins the Santa Fe River.  You will enjoy a refreshing trip down this unique river.  

Most native Floridians know that this river is the real Florida, the way it used to be.

It is always cool under the lush tree canopy that shades this stream. 

From the end of May until early September, tubing down the river is the premier activity in the area.

You can also picnic, snorkel, canoe, hike, or just chill out.


Rainbow Springs State ParkRainbow Springs State Park

RAINBOW SPRINGS STATE PARK

19158 Southwest 81st Place Road
Dunnellon, Florida 34432 
Tel: 352-465-8555


Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon forms the headwaters of the Rainbow River.

At the park’s main entrance at the head springs, you can swim in the freshwater Rainbow River, rent canoes and kayaks, view waterfalls and gardens and enjoy a picnic area with grills, and pavilions. There are also camp sites. 

Rainbow Springs is Florida's fourth largest spring and, from the 1930s through the 1970s, was the site of a popular, privately-owned attraction until it finally became a Florida State Park. 

Tubes are available further down the river for floating down stream.


Silver Springs State ParkSilver Springs State Park

SILVER SPRINGS STATE PARK

1425 Northeast 58th Ave
Ocala, FL 34470
Tel: 352-236-7148

For many years Silver Springs was Florida’s most popular commercial tourist attraction. 

It was famous for its glass-bottomed boats and the clarity of the crystal clear water of the spring-fed Silver River.  Many movies were filmed here back in the day. 

Lloyd Bridges filmed 100 episodes of the Sea Hunt television series here. 

In recent years the springs and attraction became a Florida State Park.  You can still enjoy riding on the glass-bottomed boats, paddling in a kayak, or just staring in amazement at the crystal-clear blue depths of Silver Springs. 

You can camp here, visit the museum, or eat in the restaurant. 

Birds and flowers are abundant, and every now and then a monkey appears, descendants of escaped movie stars of long ago.

Read more on our site about Silver Springs.


Wakulla Springs State ParkWakulla Springs State Park

WAKULLA SPRINGS STATE PARK

465 Wakulla Park Drive
Wakulla Springs, FL 32327
Tel: 850-561-7276

The official name of this park is Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, named after the Florida financier who had a home here and donated his land for the park. 

Mr. Ball’s historic home is in the park, an elegant reminder of early Florida. 

Many movies were made in these springs, including a Tarzan film starring Johnny Weissmuller. 

The constant 70-degree waters are a wonderful retreat on hot summer days. 

You can also take a 45-minute riverboat tour where you will usually see alligators, an occasional manatee, and many bird species. 

You can also book a stay at Mr. Ball’s historic Wakulla Springs Lodge.  The magnificence of the lodge is worth a trip to this park all by itself.


Warm Mineral SpringsWarm Mineral Springs

WARM MINERAL SPRINGS

12200 San Servando Ave
North Port, FL 34287
Tel: 941-426-1692

Warm Mineral Springs is unique among Florida springs because it has a year-round temperature of 85 degrees F., much warmer than most Florida springs. 

It is estimated that the spring waters contain 51 minerals, one of the highest mineral contents of any natural spring in the United States.

The springs have been a city park since 2014, but for many years before that a steady stream of visitors came from around the world for the alleged therapeutic effects of the spring water.  

You can either swim in the water or just sit and soak it up.   

There is an old motel near the property, but it’s best to bring you own snacks and drinks. 

A local legend has it that Ponce de Leon visited it and it was the basis for his legendary “Fountain of Youth”.

Read more on our site about Warm Mineral Springs.


Wekiwa Springs State ParkWekiwa Springs State Park

WEKIWA SPRINGS STATE PARK

1800 Wekiwa Circle
Apopka, FL 32712 
Tel: 407-884-2009

Wekiwa Springs has been a popular recreational spot for Orlando and Central Florida area residents and tourists for more than 100 years. 

It is so popular that on many days from May through October they have to close it when the maximum capacity of 250 cars has been reached.

The clear cool springs feed the Wekiwa River, and in addition to a large swimming area there are miles of nature trails for hiking, biking, or horse back riding along with many picnic areas.  

Canoes and kayaks can be rented from a concession in the park and you can paddle along the Wekiwa River and Rock Springs Run. 

A full facility campground is also located in a quiet section of the park.  


GINNIE SPRINGS OUTDOORS

7300 NE Ginnie Springs Rd
High Springs, FL 32643
Tel: 386-454-7188

Ginnie Springs Outdoors is a beautiful place in North Central Florida near the town of High Springs highlighted by a natural spring.  

This privately owned Florida tourist attraction has many exciting things to do in the outdoors. 

Guests can GO camping, canoeing, tubing, kayaking and host of other things in a beautiful setting. It is a great place for scuba divers.

The resort sits on more than 200 acres of pristine Florida woodlands not far from the Suwannee River near High Springs Florida. 

There are 90 full-service campsites with electric and water hookups. 

The resort also has heated bathrooms, picnic pavilions with tables and grills along with a nice general store for basic supplies.

Read more on our website about Ginnie Springs.


There are other interesting springs to visit in Florida including Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River.  Juniper Springs and Silver Glen Springs in the Ocala National Forest have spring runs that flow to Lake George, a wide area on the St. Johns River.


INTERACTIVE MAP OF 1000 FLORIDA SPRINGS


The Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute is a non-profit organization that monitors and documents Florida's springs and the dangers that threaten their continued existence.

Their website is a treasure of information for those who love Florida springs and are concerned about their future.


You will enjoy browsing their interactive map that shows the locations of Florida springs. Just click on the map.



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