Best Springs to Visit in Florida

Florida has one of the largest concentrations of freshwater springs on the planet. What is a spring? It's basically when groundwater flows out of the ground. The limestone beneath our feet has huge gaps and pockets full of water that sometimes collapse, making caves and springs. The water is crystal clear and 72 degrees fahrenheit year round. For travelers looking for unique outdoor adventures, Florida's springs provide a beautiful experience with nature that's unlike any beach trip you're likely to take.

First, a few quick tips:
1. Bring goggles! Some of the most interesting parts of the springs are what happens under the water. Springs are basically deep holes in the earth with cool, fresh water pumping out.

2. Will you get eaten by an alligator? Probably. Just kidding! You might see one, so keep your distance just in case.

3. Some springs are free, but many cost a few dollars to get in, so come prepared with a little bit of cash.

4. The water will be cold. 72 degrees sounds warm, but for swimming it can take some getting used to. But what adventure doesn't require guts?

Ichetucknee Springs

It's pronounced just like it looks (Itch-a-TUCK-nee) and it's loads of fun. Six miles of slow-moving, clear water is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, but the premier attraction is tubing. Start at the top of the spring and ride down the gentle current, passing under canopies of green foliage, spotting turtles and birds of all kinds. It's a summer MUST for locals and visitors alike. There's also scuba diving, hiking, camping, picnicking and a concession stand. Admission is $6 per vehicle.

Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs is part of the Ocala National Forest, a huge nature preserve in the heart of central Florida. The spring is a beautifully maintained attraction with a historic mill, camping grounds, canoe runs and wooden paths for nature walks. The spring itself has a platform that's perfect for diving and cannon balls. It's pretty much an ideal camping destination with restrooms, showers and even a concessions building for snacks and essentials. A day visit is $5 per person.

Three Sisters Springs

Three Sisters Springs is mostly known as a great place to see manatees during the winter months. It's so popular for the animals that they have to close the springs to swimmers and kayak/canoers for a few months of the high season. But even with no manatees, these springs are a site to behold. They're only accessible by boat, and the seclusion makes visitors feel like they're discovering a secret. Canoe through the narrow entryway and gaze in wonder at the beautiful water, flowers, trees and animals that wait within. Visiting in your own boat is free, but you can also rent a boat or join a special tour.

Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs is one of three first-magnitude springs in Florida. This means it has flows of greater than 100 cubic feet per second. It's huge and perfect for families. It's like a mini beach but with fresh, clear water. Also located in the Ocala National Forest, it's a popular destination in the summer for picnics, swimming, scuba diving and tanning. The wide, sandy beach is perfect for warming up after a dip in the cold water. A day visit is $5.50 per person.

Asia Dekle studied media arts at Brigham Young University and runs a professional writing business from her home in Sarasota, Florida. She enjoys exploring local beaches, museums and other points of interest so readers know what's fun and unique about her home town. She also loves to sing, dance, and read.‚Äč