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Beautiful SPRINGS surround the Gainesville area, and each one is a must-visit destination. From crystal-clear blue water to nature's 'lazy river,' each spring has its own special characteristics. Each of the eight springs listed below are just outside of Gainesville, making them the perfect day trip idea! To see a complete list of Springs, Lakes and River in and around Gainesville, visit the Fun4GatorKids website and the Day Trips page!
Blue Springs Park – Located in High Springs, Blue Springs is well-known as the best spring for families with young children. There is a large (50 yards), shallow, beach-like area where kids can play and splash in the crystal-clear water. There are also deeper water for those who like to kayak, canoe or tube, plus a playground and picnic area. Remember to pack a picnic, and you can plan to stay and play for the whole day!
Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park – Located in Apopka, this unique spring produces 26,000 gallons of crystal clear water every minute! Because Rock Springs Run is a free-flowing natural springs, it's often referred to as Central Florida's 'natural lazy river.' So neat! Kelly Park typically hits capacity earlier in the day, it's best to arrive early to insure you'll be able to spend the day at floating down Rock Springs Run. The park also has a full-service concession, picnic pavilions and a playground.
Poe Springs – Just off the Santa Fe River, in High Springs, Poe Springs is another must-visit spring for families living in the Gainesville area. A set of concrete steps take you down to the spring entrance, with waters only 2-3 feet deep. While the water may not be as blue as it is at Blue Springs, it's still clear and cool…perfect for a hot summer day!
Fanning Springs – Located off of the Suwannee River, Fanning Springs has attracted people for years and years. Visitors can enter by park or boat and enjoy the sparkling water, as they tube, swim or snorkel. Visitors can take a break from the water and enjoy the picnic area, playground and sandy volleyball court. Fanning Springs is also well-known for its abundant wildlife. Manatees often visit the springs during the winter months. Other animals seen in the park year-round include: White-tailed deer, gray squirrels, red-shouldered hawks, woodpeckers and barred owls.
Ichetucknee Springs/River – The Ichetucknee River flows six miles through shaded hammocks and wetlands before it joins the Santa Fe River. Depending on how long you'd like to float, there are different stopping points where you can grab a tram back to your car. While the tram costs $5.35 per person (5 and under are free), it's certainly worth the money for families with young children!
Juniper Springs – Just outside of Gainesville, in Silver Springs, sits Juniper Springs. This beautiful body of water has a cement-and-rock-rimmed swimming area, plus brand-new concession stand and restroom facilities nearby…always a nice and convenient surprise for families with little ones!
Rum Island Springs – Rum Island Springs is located just outside of Gainesville, in Ft. White, and is another destination to add to your summer bucket list! The springs has a boat ramp, river access, picnic area, plus places to snorkel, dive, swim and canoe.
Rainbow Springs – While Rainbow Springs doesn't have a large shallow swimming area like some of the other springs is North Central Florida, it's a beautiful must-visit destination! Rainbow Springs, located in Dunnellon, is Florida's fourth largest spring and even has waterfalls! Just off of the spring flows Rainbow River where visitors go swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. A picnic area at the spring includes tables, grills and pavilions.