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Known for its white-sand beaches, Florida isn’t the first place you’d think of when you hear the word waterfall. With the flattest terrain in the United States, these waterfalls are created from hollow depressions from sinkholes, cavities, tunnels, and caverns. When the right combination of conditions exists you can find a few dazzling streams scattered throughout the state. While you can’t expect to see anything like Niagara Falls in the Sunshine State, these are Florida’s own brand of unique falls that are worth a day of exploration.
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In Florida’s Panhandle, you’ll find Florida’s largest waterfall at 73 feet. Sitting atop a tall ridge, follow the Sink Hole Trail boardwalk that leads you down to an observation deck where you can observe the 100-foot-deep, 20-foot-wide cylindrical sinkhole that disappears into the Florida aquifer. Here you can explore an array of smaller sinkholes surrounded by towering trees and lush ferns. You certainly won’t be bored at this park, as it also has a butterfly garden, a two-acre lake for fishing and swimming, and 24 campsites.
Rainbow Springs is a man-made waterfall, but certainly worthy of its place on the list. A Florida attraction since the 1930s, Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon became a state-owned facility in the ’90s. Here you’ll find Rainbow River, a natural spring, and 3 man-made waterfalls that can be seen from the park’s pristine nature trails. Visitors are impressed by the clear spring waters and winding nature paths that are dotted with lush gardens and towering oak and magnolia trees. Other highlights of Rainbow Springs include top-notch swimming, snorkeling, tubing, and camping.
While Morikami Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach has man-made waterfalls, they are still impressive in their own right. Surrounded by one of the most unique and impressive gardens in Florida, this authentic Japanese garden is like taking a one-way flight to Asia. Here you’ll find zen-like tranquility, peaceful landscapes, and unique festivals and exhibits held year-round.
One of the most remarkable geological and archeological sites in Florida, Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park in Gainesville is a must-see. Here you’ll find a pristine nature trail surrounded by an impressive landscape with a wooden boardwalk that leads you down 236 steps to the lip of a giant 500-foot wide and 120-foot deep sinkhole. As you soak in the enormity of this sinkhole, you will spot a series of natural waterfalls that trickle down the ancient limestone walls. This National Natural Landmark has a pool that forms at the bottom-fed by 12 springs, creating a unique set of Florida waterfalls you won’t find anywhere else.
Located in Lake City, Falling Creek Falls has a picturesque 0.6-mile boardwalk trail that leads you to a 10-12 foot waterfall over limestone. A perfect area for a family day out, the area also has picnic tables, a playground, and a historic building where you can soak in some of Florida’s most pristine natural surroundings.
A baby waterfall by comparison to the others, the Steinhatchee Falls are certainly still worth a visit. Here you can soak in 1,766 acres of some of the most stunning and pristine natural Florida landscapes of mixed hardwood forest with diverse wildlife like gopher tortoise, wild hog, deer, and turkey. Steinhatchee Falls boasts the widest falls in the Sunshine State and is a popular place for locals to go explore the 3-mile trail and go camping, fishing, and canoeing in the area.
The largest whitewater rapids in Florida, Big Shoals State Park boasts 28-miles of thrilling views that you won’t find anywhere else in the state. While not a traditional waterfall view, at Big Shoals you will find 80-foot limestone bluffs that tower over the Suwannee River, creating impressive views of the park. Explore the wooded trails and you’ll find a handful of stunning views of the raging Class III foamy waters from the perches atop the bluffs. The area is also popular for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing.