Tag Archives | Natural springs

Florida’s Springs

Blue Spring Run at Blue Spring State Park

While Central Florida is the theme park capital of the U.S., and people also flock here to visit our many beaches, most people do not realize there are other great things to see and do, such as our natural springs.  The springs are an excellent way to keep cool in the summertime because the temperature of the springs never gets above the low 70s in the summer.  Florida actually has over 700 springs, most of them in the northern regions, but there are several right here in the Central Florida area, some just an hour from the theme areas.

These refreshing springs may be just the vacation you need, away from the hustle and bustle, and enjoying nature.  You can enjoy Florida’s natural beauty by checking out the activities at the springs, such as nature walks, manatee watching, kayaking, tubing, canoeing, snorkeling, glass-bottom boat rides, scuba diving, picnicking, camping, and more.

Here is a listing of the top 10 springs in the area:

Blue Springs State Park – Orange City, FL – manatee refuge, water activities

Silver Springs – Ocala, FL – features glass bottom boat rides, and a water park

Rainbow Springs State Park – Dunnellon, FL – 4th largest spring in FL offers popular water activities

Silver Glen Springs – Ocala National forest, features small caverns and schools of striped bass

Juniper Springs – located between Ocala and Ormond Beach, features camping and trails and hundreds of tiny bubbling springs

Alexander Springs – Ocala, FL – extraordinary clear water that feels like a tropical paradise; offers camping and water activities

Wekiwa Springs – Apopka, FL – features water activities, and 13 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding

Rock Springs – Sorrento, FL – ¾ mile tubing run and only $1 admission per person

DeLeon Springs – De Leon Springs, FL – water activities and shady picnic ground; guests can make their own pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant

Salt Springs – Salt Springs, FL – features hiking and camping, along with water activities

Orlando Tourist tip:  If you are planning on camping, make a reservation.  And, even if you are going just for the day, get there early, the parks fill up quickly, especially on the weekends.

Spotlight: Silver Springs

Explore the natural beauty of Ocala at Silver Springs, a natural spring that pumps out 550 million gallons of natural water daily.  Surrounding the springs are animals and foliage unique to the area.  There are several river cruises you can check out, including the Lost River Voyage, Fort King River Cruise, and Glass Bottom Boats.  The Lost River Voyage takes you back to ‘untouched’ Florida, the way it was thousands of years ago.  See wildlife such as osprey, turtles, and alligators in their natural habitat.  The Fort King River Cruise is a historical journey that includes displays and interactive exhibits such as a late 1880s train depot and riverboat dock, 1830s Fort King Army stockade, a Seminole Indian village, and more.  The glass bottom boat tours give you a view only scuba divers could have – clear views of underwater life such as crawfish, shrimp, snails, clams, turtles, and 70 million year old shells.

There are several wildlife exhibits including the World of Bears, the largest bear exhibit of its kind in the world.  You can also check out Big Gator Lagoon, a swamp habitat featuring some of Florida’s largest gators.  Ross Allen Island showcases many other animals native to Florida, such as turtles, otters, snakes, and spiders.  Don’t forget to visit the Panther Prowl and the Kritter Korral petting zoo.

There are also rides, shows, shopping and dining.  You can witness the alligator and crocodile feedings, a non-venemous snake show, and reptiles of the world.  The lighthouse ride takes you up 80 feet above the springs for a panoramic view of this natural spring area.  Other activities include Kids Ahoy Playland, where you’ll find mini motorboats, a ferris wheel, slides and crawl tubes, and more.

Exotic and native plants are featured at the beautiful Botanical Gardens, where you can see more than 138 varieties in floral sculptures and flower beds along the river.

While you’re there, cool off at the Wild Waters water park. You can soak up the sun and cool off in the 450,000 gallon wave pool or on the many water slides.  (Seasonal – check website to make sure they’re open.)

Orlando Tourist Tip: Like music concerts? Check Silver Springs’ web site before planning a day there. They have a great concert series and many performances begin in the middle of the afternoon. Go early to the park and enjoy a relaxing concert in the afternoon. Tickets are additional, but a great way to spend an entire day!

For more information about Silver Springs, visit their website, or type inSilver Springsin our search (top right) to read more articles about this attraction. Feel free to leave a response below about your visit to Silver Springs and share your tips and experience!