Orlando, Florida, is the vacation capital of the world, renowned for its theme parks and attractions. But there’s so much more to this vibrant city than just tourist attractions – Orlando also has a wealth of natural springs hidden away in its lush landscape. From crystal-clear waters to breathtaking wildlife, these natural springs provide a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of downtown Orlando. Whether you’re looking for an escape from the crowds or an opportunity to explore Florida’s diverse ecosystem, these natural springs offer something for everyone. Take some time to relax in nature’s beauty or explore all that Florida has to offer – whatever your choice, you won’t regret visiting these amazing natural springs near Orlando.
Top 10 Natural Springs Near Orlando
1. De León Springs State Park
Address: 601 Ponce Deleon Blvd, De Leon Springs, FL 32130, United States
De Leon Springs State Park is the perfect place to spend a day if you’re visiting Orlando and want to see the natural springs but doesn’t have much time. Swim in the approved area, which is 72 degrees and 500 feet long, and benefits from the spring water and a beautiful panorama. The 19 million gallons per day of runoff from Spring Garden Run may be seen from the swimming area. This Florida spring has a depth variation from a scant 18 inches at the spring boil to as much as 30 feet. If you want to check out the ancient relics that lie beneath the water’s surface, you’ll need to carry snorkeling equipment. Nature walks, a fishing pier, boat tours, picnic shelters, a playground, and a tourist center with exhibits and a touch table are some of the other facilities available.
Visit the area’s deer, turkeys, and wild hogs along the Wild Persimmon Hiking Trail, a loop that spans four miles and offers up-close encounters with the wildlife, as mentioned earlier. The park’s 600-year-old cypress tree may be seen on the paved trail that winds through the half-mile of the park. Choose instead the Fountain of Youth Eco boat tour, which lasts 50 minutes and teaches you about natural history that has evolved over thousands of years.
If all that splashing around makes you hungry, stop by the Old Spanish Sugar Mill on the premises for some pancakes you can make to order. (The restaurant is located in a 120-year-old reproduction of a mill constructed in the 1830s, sure to impress history buffs.) De Leon Springs State Park, an hour north of downtown Orlando, will be a high point of your eco-tourism trip and will cost you $6 per vehicle to enter.
2. Blue Spring State Park
Address: 2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763, United States
Blue Spring, the largest spring near the St. John’s River, regularly releases more than 100,000,000 gallons of water. Activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, tubing, and swimming are among the things that can be done here (during summer). For some outdoor fun, take the kids on a hike to the Thursby House or along the nature walk. All day entertainment is possible thanks to the playground and the many picnic shelters.
When the water temperature drops during the winter, Blue Spring becomes a haven for hundreds of West Indian manatees, making it one of the greatest spots to watch manatees in Central Florida. From about the middle of November to the middle of March, the spring is off-limits to anyone interested in doing anything that would endanger the manatees that live there.
3. Alexander Springs Recreation Area
Address: 49525 County Rd 445, Altoona, FL 32702, United States
Alexander Springs is one of just 27 springs in the state that are considered to be of first magnitude, which indicates that it has a daily output of more than 64 million gallons of water. It is open throughout the year and features a sandy beach area and a spring basin 300 feet long and may be used for swimming and wading. This natural spring in Florida is ideal for children of a younger age due to its shallow entry point, which has a moderate slope, and its clear water. Mountain biking, fishing, camping, hiking, and scuba diving are some of the other activities that families can enjoy together. Rental options for canoes and kayaks are also available.
4. Rainbow Springs State Park
Address: 19158 SW 81st Pl Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432, United States
This first-magnitude spring is one of the most significant springs in Florida. It comprises a network of smaller vents that collectively discharge more than 400 million gallons of water daily. The waters here are a beautiful shade of sapphire blue, making it a favourite swimming hole. The depths here range from 5 to 18 feet. There is also a toddler-friendly area that has a shallow wading pool.
Within the boundaries of the buoyed swimming area, snorkeling is also permitted. It should be noted that the swimming area does not have a lifeguard on duty. At this park, tubing is a fun summer pastime that many people enjoy doing. On-site rentals of canoes, tubes, and kayaks allow visitors to experience the river in various ways. Families could also enjoy visiting the gardens, butterfly garden, constructed waterfalls, and nature walk in addition to the springs. In addition, there are facilities for picnics and concessions available.
5. Juniper Springs Recreation Area
Address: 26701 FL-40, Silver Springs, FL 34488, United States
This bright blue spring is encircled on all sides by a verdant, subtropical landscape as well as limestone walls that have been constructed intentionally. In addition to the major spring, the area around Juniper Springs is home to hundreds of smaller springs that are also known for their bubbling activity. These springs collectively produce more than seven million gallons of water each day. Because one end of the swimming area is shallow and the other is deeper, it is enjoyable for children and people of all ages.
In addition, there are opportunities for snorkeling, picnicking, and hiking along the paths. In addition to swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and camping are among the most popular things to do in Juniper Springs. The majority of Florida’s natural springs are surrounded by a rich diversity of animal life; if you’re lucky, you might see an otter ambling down the spring run or perhaps an American eel hiding in the taped grass.
6. Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area
Address: 5271 FL-19, Salt Springs, FL 32134, United States
Silver Glen Springs is a popular spot for boaters because of its proximity to Lake George, Florida’s second-largest lake and the clear waters that may be used for anchoring outside the bathing area. The spring basin features a gentle slope, making it possible for people of varying ages to enjoy swimming there. If you want to see the abundance of fish in the spring, make sure to pack your snorkeling gear.
Visitors have access to two different nature walks and the option to hire canoes and kayaks. It is possible to have a full day of fun in the sun if you bring a picnic lunch and make use of the available BBQ grills and picnic tables. The spring is also a notable archaeological site, and it features massive mounds that are known as middens. These large mounds are protected behind gates since the Native Americans who originally lived in the spring area thought them sacred.
7. Rock Springs at Kelly Park
Address: 400 E Kelly Park RD Apopka, FL 32712, United States
This extremely popular freshwater spring is located in Florida and is often referred to as the state’s natural “lazy river.” The water in this spring is always 68 degrees and is crystal clear. Visitors have the option of renting tubes at a number of locations outside the park or bringing their own tubes with them on their journey downstream. The park also features a sizable swimming area for its guests to enjoy. In addition to picnic shelters and a dazzling playground, there are also concessions available that offer full-service options. Paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes are also available for hire here.
8. Salt Springs Recreation Area
Address: 13851 FL-19, Fort McCoy, FL 32134, United States
Salt Springs is another crowning achievement of the Ocala National Forest and can be reached from Orlando in just over an hour and a half. Within the Salt Springs recreation area, a natural spring can be found bubbling up through the ground’s fissures. The name of this spring comes from the presence of many salts, including potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
This spring is home to a wide variety of animals, including manatees, freshwater, saltwater bass, fish, turtles, and blue crabs. In addition, there are a lot of things to do here, such as bathing in the springs, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, and even going out on boats. Hikers travelling the Spring Boils trail will have the opportunity to see a large number of little springs coming to the surface and flowing into the streams that eventually empty into Lake George. In the Ocala National Forest, the campground at Salt Springs is the only one that provides full hookups for recreational vehicles and is the largest.
9. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Address: 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606, United States
This natural spring is a swimming hole and an aquatic amusement park, with mermaid shows, water slides, underwater tunnels, and other attractions spread across a total area of 200 acres. The Buccaneer Bay water park in Weeki Wachee has a white sand beach, a natural lazy river, water slides, and a Lil’ Mates cove with a water play area for children under six.
The world-famous Mermaids of Weeki Wachee give live performances in a theater that is partially immersed in water. A number of picnic shelters and concession stands are spread out over the park, and Buccaneer Bay also features a restaurant open at certain times of the year. A playground, an encounter with animals, paddling, kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, and boat cruises along the river are some additional activities available.
10. Wekiwa Springs State Park
Address: 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712, United States
This park has 7,800 acres and is located just a short drive from the heart of Orlando. It is home to an emerald spring that generates 43 million gallons of water daily. It is very popular, particularly during the warm weather months, and frequently hits its capacity, so you should make plans to arrive early. The vast swimming area is almost half an acre in size and has a depth of approximately 4 feet at its deepest point. Other activities available at the park include geocaching, fishing, camping, bicycling, picnic pavilions, hiking, and snorkeling. There is also a nature center.
Visiting a natural spring near Orlando is a great way to explore the outdoors and experience the beauty of Florida’s natural environment. From crystal-clear springs to lush green forests, plenty of springs are available that offer a variety of visitor activities. Whether you’re looking to swim, kayak, snorkel or just relax, there’s something for everyone at any of the natural springs near Orlando.
There are also many benefits to visiting, such as being able to connect with nature, relieve stress and experience something unique and beautiful. Popular natural springs include Wekiwa Springs State Park, Blue Spring State Park and Rainbow Springs State Park, all providing an incredible experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. No matter which spring you choose to visit, you can be sure it will be an unforgettable experience full of relaxation and adventure!