Exploring the best natural springs in Florida is another detour from your usual hot springs experience, starting with their temperature – with these springs being more chilly than either hot or warm – and ending with their undiscovered geothermal source and status.
Because of its layout, natural springs in Florida resemble some of the most top-notch, fairytale-like settings. As a result, a lot of people have decided to privatize these springs to give its visitors a raw and authentic adventure with extra amenities to make the experience all the more special.
One thing that we can tell you for sure is that every single option on this list guarantees you an almost out of this world experience, because what you’ll find in Florida is undiscoverable anywhere else. So prepare to witness and experience a world of scuba diving, unique fauna as well as flora in diverse, one of a kind, crystal clear waters to escape the usual Sunshine State heat, as well as push the usual limits of your comfort zone.
1. Three Sisters Springs
Imagine having the privilege of swimming in a manatee safe haven. Sounds pretty neat doesn’t it? Well, this is exactly the kind of experience you’ll receive at Three Sisters Springs located off NE US Hwy 19 in Crystal River.
Your time at Three Sisters Springs would be amazing enough as it is with, its comfortable (average) 72°F temperature, crystal clear blue-green waters that are extremely easy on the eye, and the surrounding scenery consisting of endless canopies of summer trees, but the top attraction of the place is a chance to hang out with manatees who like to frequent the company of humans during November 14 – March 31.
If you want to kayak, canoe or boat, you’ll have to visit between April 1 to November 14.
The water trips with manatees are done by Wildlife Services volunteers. Swimming is only allowed if the water temperature is above 62.2°F.
The entrance fee ranges between $12.5 – $20. Clothing is required.
There are no onsite camping opportunities. However, there are a lot of cabins, cottages, and RV parks in the nearby areas.
Note: Three Sisters Springs is temporarily closed for reconstruction, manatee habitat restoration and other maintenance issues, but once it’s accessible to the public again, you’re in for a one-of-a-kind experience.
2. Warm Springs Mineral Park
Warm Springs Mineral Park is known to be the one and only naturally warm springs in the state of Florida, making it one of the top destinations for visitors from all over the country and sometimes even beyond the limits of the US. Deemed as a historical site, Warm Springs Mineral Park is rich with minerals and therefore possesses medicinal properties aplenty, which prompted its visitors to start referring to it as “Miracle Lake”, among countless other nicknames.
This minerally-abundant spring is located in North Port, FL, and is nestled in a park-characteristic setting of green trees and open valleys. It’s big enough to be mistaken for a decent-sized lake and deep enough to swim and even scuba dive. The water temperature is a solid 87°F, which is a welcome change from the typical scalding springs.
Beach beds are also positioned around the spring for your comfort.
Onsite accommodation and spa services are available for anyone interested.
Daily admission for those who live in Sarasota County is $8 per person and $11 for non-residents.
3. Ginnie Springs
Swimming, boating, kayaking, scuba diving and tubing, as well as relaxing and exploring, you will find it all in what is said to be the bluest waters in the entire state, known as Ginnie Springs.
A small slice of heaven is probably the only way to describe the Ginnie Springs scenery, which consists of a shiny turquoise lake-sized spring tucked into beautiful canopies of tall, mighty trees. The top attraction of this place is a chance to explore caves that envelop an area of the springs, which in turn are illuminated by the combination of the water’s blue hues and a flashlight, creating a breathtaking picture.
The water temperature is 72°F.
The general off-season admission rate is $15, but turns to $20 in-season. Diving is $24+.
You can rent scuba gear on site.
A lot of camping opportunities are also available for those interested. Advanced reservations are needed for all activities, which can be made through their official website.
4. Alexander Springs
Alexander Springs is the treasure of Ocala National Forest. It is also the only place in this national park that offers you the opportunity of scuba diving at the heart of the beautiful wild scenery that surrounds this natural pool.
This minerally-rich water of deep blue-green tints houses many dive trails that are perfect for seasoned and properly certified scuba divers. The temperature here is once again 72°F. Because of its depth and width, it is ideal for swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and other types of water activities.
Seeing as Alexander Springs is one of the most frequented and sought-out places due to the water sports mentioned above, this recreational area is accordingly stocked up with all the equipment you may need. You can bring your boats as well, but if you decide against carrying so much weight, you can find them for rent onsite as well. Just sayin’.
A campground is also available for anyone who’s interested.
Entrance fee is $8 per person on weekdays and $11 on weekends.
5. Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
Huddled inside a prehistoric cave that’s marked all over by the traces of animals from the Pleistocene epoch, travel back in time at Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring, that promises its visitors the ultimate unforgettable adventure that you’d think is taken straight out of a fantasy novel.
All-year-round, visitors aged 6 and above can engage in water activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling (which, if you’ve made it this far into the article, shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore) and explore the depth of this incredible place. With appropriate supervision of course.
Devil’s Den looks a lot better than its name makes it sound and is partially modified with a platform and ladders to help swimmers get into the water.
The water hovers at 72°F, is deep enough to swim in and wide enough to accommodate at least two dozen people.
Admission fee is $18 per adult on weekdays and $23 on weekends.
Admission fee is $38 per adult for scuba divers.
Snorkeling gear rental is an additional $12.
Scuba gear rental is an additional $45.
Cabins, campsites and RV sites are also available.
You can find details on their official website.
6. Rainbow Springs
Rainbow Springs – located in Rainbow Springs State Park *shocker* – is one of the biggest springs in the state of Florida. And when we say big, we mean big. It shares many of the same qualities as the springs mentioned above: characteristic turquoise water enveloped by tree-lined shores, marsh-like spring deep enough for all sorts of water activities and equipped with all the necessary amenities that promises you an unforgettable time. Because of its translucent water of a characteristic 72°F, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views not only above water but also under it, making it one of the most sought-out kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving destinations.
Admission fee is only $2 per person. Entrance for children under 2 is free.
A riverside campground is also available for those who are interested. It’s located only a few miles from the soaking area and offers all the necessary amenities for a comfortable camp-out.
More details can be found here.
7. Juniper Springs
Juniper Springs is another dweller of Ocala National Forest and much like its companion Alexander Springs, it is one of the most gorgeous destinations in the state, with its aqua blue colored water and very convenient location in the middle of a forest that encloses this concrete-built lagoon.
Naturally, snorkeling, kayaking and canoeing are the top activities the visitors engage in these waters of 72°F.
There, you can also find Juniper Springs Campground which is very popular amongst locals and visitors alike. Tent and RV sites are available as well as amenities like bathrooms and picnic tables.
Learn details here.
8. Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Ichetucknee is probably the most unique pick on this list because it’s actually a river that gets its water source from several aquamarine and crystal bright springs. The river sits in limbo in a way, seeing as its flow is not strong. This is why it’s an extremely frequented destination for not only all sorts of water activities but also to just have a cool soak during the typical Florida heat.
The lush landscapes that surround the springs are abundant with wildlife which promises you an absolutely memorable experience.
You can learn more here.
9. Wacissa Springs
Next up, we have Wacissa Springs which – just like Ichetucknee – is a spring river fed by numerous sources. It’s located east of Tallahassee, but despite its somewhat remote location, it’s still frequented by locals.
Wacissa Spring River boasts some of the most untainted shimmering waters (72°F) in Jefferson County. It is extremely popular among families and large groups of visitors, who very often engage in kayaking among many other water activities. Kayaking in Wacissa gives you the chance to immerse yourself in some of the prettiest scenery and lush landscapes.
There’s also a rope for rope jumping that makes kids turn absolutely feral (in the best way), so expect the company of minors having fun in their usual manner.
Entrance is free.
10. Gilchrist Blue Spring
Gilchrist Blue Spring is the gem of Gilchrist Blue Spring Park. Even though this 240-acre park has numerous springs scattered around the Santa Fe river, Gilchrist Blue is the heart and center of it all and naturally, the most sought-out point of the park.
In typical Florida springs fashion, Gilchrist Blue Spring Park is equipped with all things necessary for its visitors to have a great time in every way. Apart from numerous soaking and water sport options, there are countless picnicking, bird and wildlife watching and hiking opportunities. However, the top attraction is the cobalt blue spring waters of 72°F.
Admission fee ranges between $2-$6.
The Do’s And Don’ts
Every hot 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 natural hot springs destinations to maintain their authentic feel and allure.
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” here. And always, always respect our nature – pack out what you pack in and LEAVE NO TRACE.
Florida offers its visitors a one of a kind experience and absolutely unique soaking opportunities. There is a reason why all these springs have their crystal clear turquoise hues but surprisingly enough, scientists still have not discovered their geothermal source, which makes these springs all the more alluring and interesting.
So plan, do some research, use this article as your starting point and get a slice of paradise in the best natural hot springs in Florida.
And if anything, this is definitely a sign to at least try scuba diving.
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, and 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!