Florida’s Top 4 Natural Springs

Florida is full of many things to see besides theme parks and beaches. You can go almost anywhere and be near an attraction. One of the best places is Florida’s over 700 natural springs, a true natural wonder. Offering clear waters and constant temperatures, they are a favorite for swimming, snorkeling, tubing, and diving. Manatees and fish call some of these springs home. Formed by rainwater that runs through the aquifer, a network of limestone caves, and crevasses, the springs are all over Florida. We will discuss four of the best-known natural springs in Florida, but definitely, not all of them, as there isn’t enough room! The natural springs make a great alternative to the popular theme parks, beaches, and attractions that draw the usual large crowds. They are a way to get away from the city and get back out in nature and enjoy and relax.

This article will go over four of the most popular natural springs in Florida, and a little bit about each one, so that you can make plans to include one or all of them in your vacation plans for your family. Information will be provided about location, discounts, accessibility, and attractions will be given here on each one.

            1.         Wakulla Springs

            2.         Manatee Springs

            3.         Silver Springs

            4.         Ichetucknee Springs

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Be sure also to check out our BEST DEALS AND ATTRACTION TICKETS page for a full list of the best prices on all of the top Florida theme parks and attractions.

Wakulla Springs

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is located at 465 Wakulla Park Dr, Wakulla Springs, FL.

The Lodge there is open 24 hours a day and the park is open from 8 am to sunset, 365 days a year. It costs $6 per vehicle, $4 for single-occupant vehicles, and an extra $2 for every passenger over 8 in a vehicle. Also, it is $2 for bicyclists or pedestrians. Riverboat tours are $8 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 3-12, and free for ages 2 and under. You can see manatees, alligators, and other wildlife from the diving platform or the riverboat. Wakulla Springs’s history goes back to the early Native Americans who lived in shoreline villages and also is where mastodons once roamed.

The lodge is a 1930’s style Spanish lodge with period furniture, original elevators, and painted ceilings that depict Florida scenes and wildlife. It is home to the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs. Bicycling, birding, boat tours, geo-seeking, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, reunions and gatherings, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, walking and running, weddings, and wildlife viewing are some of the great activities enjoyed here. It also has accessible amenities such as a wheelchair-accessible riverboat, The Nature Trail has five characteristics provided by the Universal Trail Access Process, (UTAP), and wheelchair accessible amphibious mobility assist vessel. There is a grassy beach to enjoy and a swimming area as well as a 22-foot diving platform. The dining room and gift shops are perfect places to take a break or you can get back outside on the equestrian trail, the Nature Trail, The Cherokee Sink Trail, The Bob Rose Trail, the pavilion, or the picnic area. Service animals are allowed and so are pets in certain areas only.

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Manatee Springs

Located at 11650 NW 115th St Chiefland, FL, Manatee Springs State Park has an 800-foot boardwalk, majestic cypress, and a historic river.

It is also open from 8 am to sundown, and the cost is $6 per car, depending upon occupancy. It has Florida’s first-magnitude springs. For over 10,000 years, from the early Paleo Indians, people have enjoyed the cool waters of the springs. Manatees are seen in the cooler months and other wildlife, such as birds, mammals, and fish are seen year-round. It has 8.5 miles of nature trails and a safe connection to the 32 miles of Nature Coast State Trail. There is bicycling, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, paddling, picnicking, scuba diving, swimming, tours, walking and running, and wildlife viewing. Well-behaved dogs are allowed in designated areas, but not on the boardwalk. Manatee Springs State Park is handicap accessible.

Silver Springs

Silver Springs State Park is located at 5656 Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL.

It has world-famous glass bottom boats for you to enjoy, as well as canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards to rent. Enjoy the five-mile Silver River and the clear waters of one of America’s largest springs. Spend time in the Silver River Museum and Cracker Village. Hiking, birding, wildlife viewing, camping, dining, picnicking, and weddings/events can be planned here.

People have been drawn to this area since the Neolithic Age, around 10,000 years ago. Later were the Timucua, Spanish explorers, missionaries, and later, the Seminoles. In the 1820s it became a location for travelers after Florida’s annexation to the US, then by the 1850s, it was the commercial distribution center for central Florida. Col W.M. Davidson and Carl Ray perfected the gas-powered glass bottom boat and in the late 1950s constructed the Silver Springs Tourist Center. This all contributed to making the springs Florida’s first attraction. Later, when places like Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios came to town, its popularity declined, but in 2013, the Florida Park Service took it over, preserving it forever. Silver Springs State Park is also handicap accessible.

Ichetucknee Springs

Ichetucknee Springs is located at 12087 SW US HWY 27, Fort White, FL.

Ichtucknee Springs State Park offers cool waters to swim in, lush canopies, and spring-fed rivers. Cost and hours are the same as the other state parks, 8 am to sunset, and $6 per vehicle depending upon occupancy. This 2669-acre wildlife haven is known for its warm weather tubing and eight major crystal springs that join the Ichtucknee River. Beaver, otter, gar, softshell turtle, wild turkey, wood duck, and limpkin all call this home. The upper part is a National Natural Landmark and perhaps the most pristine spring in the state. There are three nature trails through the forest or over the sandhills. Birding, geo-seeking, hiking, paddling, picnicking, scuba diving, swimming, tubing, and wildlife viewing are popular at the springs. Pets are allowed in specific areas. There is a picnic pavilion, showers, and a playground as well as a visitor center. Ichetucknee Springs State Park is handicap accessible.


There are over 700 natural springs in Florida, and this article only goes over four of the best well-known ones. And there is so much more information that can be found about these state parks. Check out www.floridastateparks.org for even more information on even more springs and state parks. Happy Vacationing!

BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! To make the most out of your next Florida vacation as a family, check out these passes from Groupon which allow you to have the most amount of fun for the least amount of money!

Be sure also to check out our BEST DEALS AND ATTRACTION TICKETS page for a full list of the best prices on all of the top Florida theme parks and attractions.

Linda Aiken

Retired soccer mom; Mom of "the boy" (Gabriel); SAHM; and mom to one furbaby, Leo, who rules the house!

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