When Florida comes to mind, thoughts of oranges or the beach or weird stuff like a man dying from eating too many roaches in a cockroach eating contest (really?) may flash in that brain of yours. Roaches are cool and all…but have you ever immersed yourself in one of the state’s numerous freshwater springs? It’s time to start packing, book your hotel and plan that trip to the sunshine state- Here are 7 Florida springs to get you day dreaming of the south.
This central Florida gem, located at Ocala National Forest, will make you feel like you’re stepping into Ariel’s secret grotto. Canoe or kayak the juniper run where the water is cool and clear and you can watch small springs bubbling up from the shallow, sandy bottoms as you paddle your way through shaded florida wilderness.
Imagine yourself immersed in some of earth’s purest liquid, surrounded by a swirling school of massive striped bass. This is what you will find at Silver Glen springs, located at Ocala National Forest in central Florida. Enjoy the day picnicking on the shore, swimming and diving with the fishes.
This blue bunch located in High Springs, FL consists of seven grottos and caves are a divers delight. Each spring branches off of the Santa Fe River and is easily accessible by tube, canoe or kayak. Better yet- camp on the river and the springs are just a hop away for a fun weekend filled with diving and river tubing.
The shimmering sapphire pool is one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world. Located at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park near Tallahassee, dive into the depths or take a glass bottom boat ride to check out fossilized mastodon bones that have called the spring bottom home for centuries.
One word: manatees. This Orange City, FL spring is a designated manatee refuge, and during the winter months, it is not unusual to see these gentle beasts enjoying the year round 72 degree water temperature. Take a dip in the crisp, clear water, dive down into the gushing spring head or explore the pristine Florida wilderness by kayak.
Located in Dunnellon, FL- Rainbow Springs is the stuff of dreams…I mean come on, it has the word “rainbow” in its name. Forget the dog days of summer with these tranquil waters and paddle downstream for prime wildlife viewing on the shore and under the water- no glass bottom boat needed.
This place is so purty that even Tarzan called the dazzling turquoise waters home. Silver Springs, located in Ocala, was the set for the classic Tarzan movies filmed in the 1930s. The springs feed Silver River, where there are plenty of gators, turtles, fish and monkeys. Yes folks, you heard right. Back in the Tarzan days, rhesus monkeys were let loose on a small island as an attraction, but the clever critters taught themselves how to swim, and escaped. Now, they have adapted to the Florida wilderness, and if you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of them playing in the trees.
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.