For a dog owner, finding decent dog-friendly destinations where you can relax as well as help their doggos have a nice time can be quite a challenge. Especially if said dog owner also happens to be a freshwater springs enthusiast. However, it’s not a hopeless ask.
Honestly, one wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that being a Floridian and a natural springs lover go hand in hand due to Florida’s incredible selection of springs. This is precisely why we have taken it upon ourselves to compile a meticulous list of the best dog-friendly springs in Florida where you can rejuvenate to your heart’s content, let your four-legged family member take in new scenery and think to yourself: wow, this really is a win-win situation.
However, it’s important to remember that most of these springs are located in state parks that operate with strict policies. Including pet policies. Make sure you follow them in order to not disrupt anyone’s comfort.
1. Blue Springs State Park
Blue Springs is a gorgeous destination for top recreation. Its scenery is absolutely stunning and consists of a tall palm tree lined spring pool of turquoise waters.
Not only is it a top choice for relaxation and water sports (scuba diving, paddling, kayaking, snorkeling, etc) it also has one of the best campgrounds in Florida. So if you and your dog are looking to relax in style and happen to be big on camping, make sure to pay a visit to their campground.
Blue Springs is also home to manatees that actively dwell there November through May; during that time it’s not possible to swim in the spring but you will be able to enjoy all of the on-land activities.
Don’t forget that Blue Springs State Park sees a lot of traffic (this includes the campground) and whenever it reaches maximum capacity it may be closed for other visitors temporarily. If you’d like to visit, make sure to be there early in the morning.
The state park allows pets only if they are leashed and supervised at all times.
Admission is $6 per vehicle.
Address: 2100 W. French Ave. Orange City FL 32763
2. Silver Springs State Park
Located only 7 miles from Ocala, FL, Silver Springs is famous for its sparkling and crystalline water which is a top recommendation for the best springs to kayak in Florida. Naturally you can engage in numerous other water activities that are characteristic to Florida springs.
Silver Springs State Park spoils its visitors with countless events, festivals and activities – the top attraction being glass bottom tours that are ideal for admiring the world under the springs.
In typical Sunshine State fashion, at Silver Springs you will find extremely green scenery, rich wildlife and beautiful flora. It’s also an ideal destination for picnicking, hiking, horseback riding and biking that promises an unforgettable experience both for you and your four-legged-family.
Pets are permitted in designated areas but need to be supervised and kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times.
Admission is $6 per person, $8 per vehicle.
Address: 5656 E Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL 34488
3. Rainbow Springs State Park
Next up, we have Rainbow Springs that just like many other picks on the list triumphs as one of the prime kayaking destinations in the state as well as a premier snorkeling, scuba diving, and paddling spot.
It’s one of the biggest clear blue springs in all of Florida and always attracts a lot of attention due to its countless on-land and off-land amenities. There you’ll find a transparent marsh-like spring surrounded by beautiful vegetation.
Its lush scenery and gorgeous flora combined with an abundance of amenities and natural attractions found onsite is a perfect outdoor treat for your dog. Naturally, there are campsites available for those who are interested.
Dogs need to be kept on a leash that’s no longer than 6 feet and under supervision at all times. They’re not allowed in swimming areas.
Admission fee is only $2 per person. Entrance for children under 2 is free.
Address: 19158 S.W. 81st Place Road Dunnellon FL 34432
4. Wekiwa Springs State Park
Wekiwa Springs State Park is considered to be one of the must-visit springs near Jacksonville. Located only a 2 hour drive away, it consists of a massive pool of blue-green hues and lush tropical landscapes that are typically Florida.
It’s considered to have some of the purest and most pristine waters in the entire state.
Despite the spring’s considerable size, you’ll still find it crowded so be prepared for the large groups of people having fun.
Many activities can be found onsite, one of which being glass-bottomed boat tours during which visitors can admire wildlife such as blue crabs, turtles and alligators.
Wekiwa is also a great choice for camping.
Typically, dog owners are not allowed to leave their dogs unattended. Dogs need to be kept on a leash at all times.
Admission fee range is $2-$6
Address: 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka FL 3271
5. Madison Blue Spring State Park
Madison Blue Spring is another well-known and extremely popular swimming hole frequently enjoyed by large groups of people. It consists of many stunning attractions, the best of which is the underwater rock formations that certified divers can explore. Kayaking along the Withlacoochee River is also extremely popular there.
Madison Blue also stands out because of its sandy beach which isn’t exactly typical of freshwater springs in Florida.
The state park operates on a first-come, first-served basis and closes whenever it reaches maximum capacity, which happens frequently. Make sure to come early in the morning. Dogs will have a great time in this stunning environment, just make sure to keep them leashed and supervised at all times.
Address: 8300 N.E. State Road 6 Lee FL 32059
6. Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Ichetucknee Springs is a fan-favorite “natural lazy river” as it is a spring-fed river with a slow, leisurely flow. It is precisely why Ichetucknee is a superb tubing, kayaking and canoeing destination. There’s nothing better than to float along Ichetucknee for a scenic water tour and take in the beautiful landscapes of the state park. The water of this spring is of sparkling blue-green which makes everyone marvel.
The state park is abundant with wildlife, making it a great destination for wildlife watching as well.
Just like many other destinations mentioned above, Ichetucknee Springs State Park can get a bit crowded too, so make sure you follow our carefully compiled list of tips on how to avoid crowds.
When it comes to dogs: they need to be well-behaved and leashed at all times.
Park admission fee is $6 per vehicle.
Address: 12087 S.W. U.S. Highway 27 Fort White FL 32038
7. Fanning Springs State Park
Home to an extremely alluring pool of turquoise water, Fanning Springs is a premier spot for rejuvenation, relaxation and having fun. From hiking to swimming in the spring to indulging in numerous water sports, you can find it all at Fanning Springs State Park.
Fanning Springs is beautifully laden with tall cypress and oak trees, making the place very picturesque which results in a fairytale-like experience both for you and your dogs.
The pet policy in Fanning Springs is the same as the rest of the parks’: dogs need to be supervised and leashed at all times.
Entrance fee is $6 per vehicle.
Address: 18020 N.W. Highway 19, Fanning Springs, FL, 32693
Every spring has its own quirks. They all have a set of rules that visitors need to follow regardless of what kind of spring you’re visiting. Visitors need to be extra conscious of their time in free and natural hot springs destinations seeing as they get no constant maintenance the way commercialized springs do.
For more general and very important “hot springs etiquette,” we highly recommend you take a moment to check out our carefully compiled easy-to-read list of “dos and don’ts”. And always, always respect our nature – pack out what you pack in and LEAVE NO TRACE.
When it comes specifically to pet policy be sure to:
- Clean after your pets
- Visit only designated day-use areas with your pets
- Keep them away from playgrounds, beaches, bathing areas, swimming areas and cabins.
- Keep them on a leash at all times
- Don’t leave them unattended
Even if it may seem a lot, it’s important to remember that it’s for your pet’s own comfort as well as everyone else’s.
The Final Takeaway
Despite being a habitat for hundreds of springs and making it the biggest number in the whole country in the process, unfortunately it doesn’t apply to the number of springs that are dog-friendly. However, this selection is big and decent enough to give everyone a few alternatives and you know what they say, right? It’s quality over quantity and let us assure you, you won’t find springs as beautiful as these anywhere else.
So as long as you plan carefully and follow our tips on how to avoid crowds, both you and your four-legged furry family will have a terrific time at these dog-friendly springs in Florida.
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!