Undeniable Life Guide to Florida's Best Springs
During the summer, tourists flock to Florida for amusements parks, city life, and beaches. Many visitors simply stay in the cities they're visiting, not even venturing outside of them to explore. If they did, they’d be rewarded with an abundance of wildlife, along with one of Florida’s best kept secrets: the springs. Florida’s springs are perfect for summer road trips-- most are located within hours of popular cities, and they stay at a perfect temperature of 72 degrees year-round. If you ever find yourself with an extra day in a Floridian city or you’re a Sunshine State resident in need of a road trip, here are four springs perfect for a fun summer day.
Devil’s Den Spring// located just an hour and a half from Orlando, Devil’s Den is one of the most talked-about springs in all of Florida. The spring’s unique location in an underground cave differentiates it from other local springs, which are set above ground. While in the water, visitors can enjoy prehistoric fossils and rock formations. Snorkeling and SCUBA diving are the only activities allowed at the cave, and you must have your SCUBA certification if you plan on diving. Previous visitors have said the line to get in the spring can be extremely long during the summer, so departing early for this spring would be a must. Even so, a visit to Devil’s Den is pretty much on the bucket list of any Floridian spring-lover and would fit perfectly into anyone’s vacation!
Ichetucknee Springs State Park// just 45 minutes from Gainesville (home to the University of Florida) and an hour and a half from Jacksonville, Ichetucknee Springs feed into the Ichetucknee River, home to great summer tubing. The park also offers hiking, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and swimming. When it comes to tubing, the park offers different landings that will take you on either a three hour float, a 90 minute float, or a 45 minute float. A highlight of the park is the Blue Hole Spring, an area where the hole into the spring has a beautiful light blue color to it, making it a perfect area for swimming in the water above the aquifer entryway. Along with all of this, the park offers great views of native wildlife and nature wherever you go. I’d highly recommend a visit to Ichetucknee to anyone!
Juniper Springs// only an hour’s car ride away from both Orlando and Daytona Beach, Juniper Springs is composed of hundreds of little springs and many much larger spring vents that feed into Juniper Creek. Activities at the park include swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. The park is renowned for its seven mile kayaking and canoeing trail, which takes visitors around three hours in a kayak and five in a canoe. The paddle includes lots of wildlife viewing, from alligators to fish to turtles. Another great part of the park is the one mile hike from Juniper Spring to Fern Hammock Spring, which takes you from dense forest to the Fern Hammock Spring, a very large spring with powerful water production that keeps swimmers banned from going in it. From the beautiful waters to the great wildlife, Juniper Springs certainly would be a great day trip.
Wekiwa Springs// half an hour from Orlando and an hour and a half from Cocoa Beach, Wekiwa Springs, located at the headwaters of the Wekiwa River in Apopka, is easily accessible from two of the most popular destinations in Central Florida. The park’s activities include snorkeling, biking, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, along with equestrian trails for those with horses. I’ve actually been canoeing on one of their smaller runs, and would highly recommend it for anyone wanting to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Another great area covered by the park is Kelly Park, an area with a swimming hole and a small tube run that makes for a lot of fun. To anyone wanting just a short trip from Orlando, I’d highly recommend Wekiwa Springs because of its beauty and all the activities offered!