Florida Freshwater Springs
Florida is full of natural treasures yet few make it more unique than its 900 freshwater springs – the highest concentration on the planet. Springs are part of a dramatic cycle of water flow in Florida: more than 150 billion gallons of rain fall here daily and what seeps into Florida’s underground limestone rock structure (think Swiss cheese) replenishes a vast underground river system. Springs are the point where this underground water system, called the Floridan Aquifer, meets the surface of the earth. Florida has 33 first-magnitude springs, each discharging about 65 million gallons a day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
For centuries, travelers have come to Florida’s freshwater springs in search of their fabled ability to restore health. Though the state’s springs likely won’t cure what ails you specifically, they will provide a moment of peace and profound beauty. Nineteen Florida state parks are named for springs. Some like Weeki Wachee and Wakulla Springs have become world-famous, others flow in places tucked away and less traveled, offering a more tranquil and romantic escape into nature.
Top Freshwater Springs to Visit in Florida
- Blue Spring State Park
A RV-friendly getaway in Orange City, Blue Spring State Park offers fun for the whole family.
- Ginnie Springs
Located on the Santa Fe River in High Springs, this top freshwater dive destination is privately owned.
- Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Though not a swimmer’s destination, this state park offers the chance to catch a glimpse of the West Indian manatee year round from an underwater observatory.
- Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park
One of the longest underwater cave systems in the continental United States can be found here in Live Oak.
- Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
East of De Funiak Springs in the Florida Panhandle, Ponce de Leon Springs State Park offers refreshing, 68-degree water year-round.
- Wakulla Springs State Park
Near Tallahassee, Wakulla Springs is described as a giant – the spring system produces more than 200 million gallons of water every day.
- Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
While some Florida springs are frequented by manatees, only one is home to mermaids.
- Wekiwa Springs State Park
At the headwaters of the Wekiva River in Apopka, this park gives visitors a glimpse of what Florida looked like when the Timucuan tribe fished and hunted the land.
- Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Home of 8 major springs and considered to be one of Florida’s most pristine spring-fed river.