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11 Best Florida Springs to Take the Kids to This Summer

Instead of fighting the crowds at the theme parks this summer, take the kids to one of Florida’s beautiful natural springs for a day of outdoor adventures. Florida is home to more than 700 springs, where shimmering shades of bright blue and emerald waters are perfect for taking a plunge or hopping in a kayak or canoe. From 72-degree swimming holes to a paddler’s paradise, here are the best Florida springs to take the kids to this summer.

Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River Three Sisters Springs
Credit: Three Sisters Springs by Discover Crystal River Florida

Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River

Considered one of the most beautiful springs in the Sunshine State, Three Sisters Springs is a swimmers and snorkelers’ paradise. While it is a hotspot for manatees in winter, in summer, you’ll find crystalline waters that are great for swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Crystal River is known for its abundance of freshwater springs that originate in Kings Bay and its many native and migratory species, while the 1.5 miles of scenic nature trails that surround Three Sisters Springs reveal impressive views of the area.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee Buccaneer Bay at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Credit: Buccaneer Bay at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park by Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee

An iconic state park that dates back to 1947, Weeki Wachee Springs is world-famous for its unique underwater mermaid shows. It’s also a great place to enjoy outdoor adventures with the entire family, as its crystal-clear 72-degree waters are perfect for an afternoon of swimming, snorkeling, and river cruising. Take a kayak or canoe paddle downstream and spot bald eagles, turtles and a variety of birds or visit the kid-friendly water park called Buccaneer Bay and enjoy thrilling water slides.

Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, High Springs Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
Credit: Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park by wikimedia.org

Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, High Springs

The newest addition to Florida State Parks, Gilchrist Blue Springs, is home to a beautiful display of natural springs. This natural wonder is the perfect spot for an outdoor adventure, from paddling and snorkeling to wildlife watching along the boardwalk in the quiet rural 250-acre area. Pack your sunscreen and enjoy a family-friendly day in this picturesque park, where outdoor enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, picnicking or jumping from a huge wooden platform into the cool, crystalline waters.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Fort White Ichetucknee Springs
Credit: Ichetucknee Springs by © Michael Wood | Dreamstime.com

Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Fort White

Located in Fort White just northwest of Gainesville, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a great place for a summer adventure with the kids. While summer can get crowded, visit early or on a weekday and spend a day tubing down the crystal clear springs. Its six miles of shaded hammocks and wetlands offer a lush canopy of live oak and cypress trees. Swimming, snorkeling, and canoeing are also popular throughout its eight major springs, while hiking and spotting white-tailed deer and great blue herons are perfect for adventurous families.

Ginnie Springs, High Springs Ginnie Springs
Credit: Ginnie Springs by Ginnie Springs

Ginnie Springs, High Springs

Boasting mesmerizing landscapes, take the kids this summer to Ginnie Springs in High Springs to see some of the clearest springs in the state. It’s hard not to be lured in by the 200 acres of natural beauty lining the banks of the Santa Fe River, as the entire family can get excited about a day of canoeing, tubing, and snorkeling. Snorkeling adventures offer a glimpse of colorful schools of fish and turtles, or you can spot the area’s diverse wildlife from a stand-up paddleboard.

Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon Rainbow Springs State Park
Credit: Rainbow Springs State Park by © - Dreamstime.com

Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon

One of the best springs in Central Florida, Rainbow Springs, actually has evidence that people have been enjoying it for over 10,000 years. Walk through the moss-covered Cypress trees to spot floral gardens, impressive waterfalls, and five main springs before indulging in a refreshing dip in the natural swimming pool. Families looking to relax can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking, while more adventurous visitors can grab a tube and paddle through the river or hike one of the trails known for spotting fox squirrels, turkeys, and deer.

Silver Glen Springs, Ocala National Forest Silver Glen Springs
Credit: Silver Glen Springs by Adventures On Wheels/shutterstock.com

Silver Glen Springs, Ocala National Forest

Another historic natural wonder, Silver Glen Springs, is a recreation area and important archaeological site located in the Ocala National Forest. Contrasting the surrounding forests of oak, cedar, and pine, the blue-green waters are great for swimming, snorkeling, and canoeing. Floating above the shallow sandy bottom of this spring, you will find a mix of fresh and saltwater fish to admire. It is no wonder that this spot was popular with Native Americans and European settlers dating back 7,000 years ago.

Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka Wekiwa Springs
Credit: Wekiwa Springs by Rain0975 via Flickr

Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka

Just a short drive outside of Orlando sits Wekiwa Springs State Park, a 7,800-acre stretch of land where nature-loving families can enjoy a pleasant summer day of soaking up Central Florida’s natural beauty and hopping in the 72-degree waters for an afternoon swim. Its gentle currents are great for families with kids, where you can lounge on a floatie and enjoy stunning views of centuries-old trees at this Old Florida attraction.

Madison Blue Spring State Park, Madison Madison Blue Spring State Park
Credit: Madison Blue Spring State Park by floridastateparks.org

Madison Blue Spring State Park, Madison

One of Florida’s newest state parks, Madison Blue Spring State Park, sits between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. Home to a first magnitude spring, it is home to an 82-foot wide and 25-foot deep spring that bubbles up into a limestone basin along the west bank of the Withlacoochee River. Walk along the paths that lead to the spring and admire the view from the rock platforms, then hop in the spring with your inflatables and tubes. There’s also a wooden platform with steps for swimmers.

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, Crawfordville Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Credit: Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park by © Miroslav Liska | Dreamstime.com

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, Crawfordville

Perfect for a day of swimming, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park in Crawfordville boasts 6,000 acres of natural surroundings. At this top North Florida spring, you’ll find one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, which flows into the Wakulla River. Let the kids do cannonballs off the wooden jumping tower, hop on one of the popular glass-bottom boat tours guided by park rangers or relax on the sunbathing platforms amid the clear, cool spring waters.

Jackson Blue Springs Park, Marianna Jackson Blue Springs Recreational Area
Credit: Jackson Blue Springs Recreational Area by Paul Clark via Flickr

Jackson Blue Springs Park, Marianna

Located in North Florida, the idyllic crystal clear waters in Jackson Blue Springs Park are perfect for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and diving, while its scenic landscapes offer a glimpse of some of Florida’s diverse birdlife. This beautiful park is also a great family-friendly destination with its extensive list of on-site facilities. You can play a game at the volleyball courts, let them loose in the children’s playground, or relax on the park benches and picturesque beach area. During the summer season, lifeguards keep watch of the designated swimming area.

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