Start planning your trip to the country’s southernmost state, where an abundance of aquatic adventure awaits you and your traveling family. Brimming with all types of freshwater excitement, here you are allowed to explore the nation’s oldest historical springs. To give tourists the proper in-depth experience, almost all destinations offer boat tours, scuba lessons, and kayak rentals for recreational use.
You won’t have to travel far for your crew’s temporary home hookup. Luckily, a good portion of Florida’s natural springs is located inside State Parks which come equipped with full-service van campgrounds. Did you know that Florida is also home to three RecVan dealerships? Give yourself some precious time to stop in and browse through the featured models offered at a special price!
Guest Post by Brianna Walsh-Earp
Address: 26701 FL-40, Silver Springs, FL 34488
Where to stay: Ocala National Forest
Details: To start strong, located right inside Ocala National Forest and part of the four springs in the area, we’ve got the stunning Silver Glen Springs. Quite popular for its crystal-clear 74-degree water and overhanging shady moss trees, giving it a very relaxed scenic vibe. Bring along a snorkel and get up close with the swimming hole’s seasonal sea cows and many species of fish. The park offers camping sites for you and your traveling family, so be on the lookout for curious black bears. It is strongly advised to arrive before the gates open at 8 am because the park will most likely reach capacity within a few hours of opening.
Where: Wakulla Springs
Address: 465 Wakulla Park Dr, Wakulla Springs, FL 32327
Where to stay: Wildwood Golf and RV Resort
Details: Home to many gentle and dangerous giants, Wakulla Springs has all kinds of wildlife roaming about under the sapphire-colored surface. Like most of The Sunshine State’s swimming holes, this area is also an old Florida stomping ground, dating back thousands of years. The park hosts a non-profit organization that is committed to preserving the natural resources of Florida’s deepest and largest freshwater springs. You can support the organization by purchasing an item from the local gift shop or by reserving you and your family a seat on a guided boat tour.
Where: Spring Hill
Address: 6131 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee, FL 34606
Where to stay: Camp-A-Wyle Lake Resort
Details: Much like its Unique eye-catching name, Weeki Wachee springs invites tourists from all over the world to experience the magnificently mesmerizing mermaid performance in the sapphire spring. Embark on a nature expedition with the park’s many boat tours and learn all about the habitat filled with Floridian wildlife. After a day full of activities, treat your family to a quick bite at any of the five dining facilities located in the park.
Address: 5390 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696
Where to stay: Devil’s Den Spring
Details: Not far off the beaten track, located in Central Florida, lies a very interesting pre-historic underground cave spring. With depths reaching 54 feet and a surface area of 120 feet, Devil’s Den is wildly favored for snorkeling and scuba diving. You and your spouse can rent some gear and go for a couple’s adventure or sign your children up for a private scuba lesson they’re likely to never forget. Devil’s Den is scuba and snorkeling only experience, so you must have the proper gear required n order to enter the cave.
Address: 5656 E Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL 34488
Where to stay: Silver Springs State Park Campground
Details: Located in the center of the state, is America’s largest and most historic spring. Famous for its glass-bottom boat tours, allowing you to witness the deep, thriving world underneath you and the many motion pictures that were filmed there. If you look closely, you can spot the statues at the bottom of the spring that was placed there during the filming of “I Spy”, a TV series starring Bill Cosby. Silver Springs State Park has much to offer you and your family, so go ahead and set up camp because you’ll want to stay awhile.
Where: Orange City
Address: 2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL
Where to stay: Blue Spring State Park
Details: Notorious for its marine wildlife, Blue Spring State Park, accumulates over 700 manatees during the winter migration season. For the manatee’s protection, you are not permitted to swim with them, but there is a 4.5-mile nature trail where you can admire their beauty. In the off-migration months, you are encouraged to explore the spring by scuba diving, canoeing, or on the riverboat cruise offered to tourists. If you happen to have your furry friend with you, take them on a scenic stroll at the park’s boardwalk. There are many species of birds that call this place home so you will want your pup to be always leashed within the premises.
Address: 19158 SW 81st PI Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432
Where to stay: Rainbow Springs State Park
Details: Open from 8 am to sunset, 365 days a year, Rainbow Springs State Park is your family’s perfect holiday vacation get-away. The park features many beneficial amenities, including a campground for RV-ers and Van-lifers, so you won’t have to travel too far from the swimming area. The spring is rich in history, for it’s estimated to be over 10,000 years old. Rent a tube or kayak and set out exploring through the diverse habitat or simply take a stroll under the mossy hammocks. Whatever you decide, you are sure to enjoy this aquatic oasis.
Where: De Leon Springs
Address: 601 Ponce De Leon Blvd, De Leon Springs, FL 32130
Where to stay: Highland Park Fish Camp
Details: Named after the infamous Spanish Explorer, Ponce De Leon, this state park offers over 6000 years of fascinating cultural history and…. pancakes! Bring an appetite when you arrive because featured at the park, inside an old sugar mill, is a make-your-own pancake restaurant with griddle-top tables. Plan for your family to get there super early to avoid the long line of visitors eager to enjoy some pancakes. The park also features many outdoor activities including swimming, biking, paddling, hiking, private scuba lessons, and the list goes on!
Where: High Springs
Address: 7300 Ginnie Springs Rd, High Springs, FL 32643
Where to stay: Ginnie Springs Outdoors
Details: If you have taken the time to research hidden gems located in Florida, you have most likely seen Ginnie Springs, one of Florida’s most popular tourist destinations. Remaining a constant 72 degrees year-round, this spot is your family’s ideal picture-perfect RV vacation. Unpack your scuba gear and strap up because Ginnie Springs is home to many underwater cave networks and, most importantly, not a single alligator. If exploring the deep doesn’t suit your itinerary, fear not because a ton of recreational activities are also offered here.
Where: Crystal River
Address: 601 Three Sisters Spring Trails, Crystal River, FL 34429
Where to stay: Crystal Isles RV Resort
Details: Designated as mainly a manatee sanctuary, Three Sisters allows you to get up close with nature’s gentle sea cows. This breath-taking spring is only accessible by non-motorized vessels, meaning no boats are allowed in to disturb Florida’s peaceful paradise. Bring along your favorite flotation device, lay back, and relax through the natural urban lazy river. During the cold winter months, the Fish and Wildlife Service will close the area to tourists, to ensure the increasing numbers of migrating manatees do not get disrupted. Pro-tip: Check the website during these months for any unexpected park shutdowns.
Florida has over 900 bubbling springs to swim, paddle, or snorkel with your loved ones. It has more freshwater springs than anywhere else on the planet! If you’re planning for a relaxing vacation or looking to discover some “Old Floridian” history, you will find what you’re searching for down in The Sunshine State.