The Florida Springs Map summarizes all the information you need to choose a spring for a visit. This is because not all springs are made equal and not all of them offer the same ammenities.
The first step is choosing the size of the spring you want to visit. Some are really big, bring a lot of tourists, and offer paddling options.
Other springs are small and have fewer visitors and great for a swim.
There is that category of springs that are just a hole on the ground but offer infinate possibilities for scuba diving.
Below is a table that shows how they are classified according to size.
Springs in Florida are classified according to their magnitude. This means that each category is based on the volume of flow from a spring per unit time.
These categories are as follows. Source Water Atlas.
|Magnitude||Metric Units||English Units|
|1st||≥2.832 cubic meters per second||≥100 cubic feet per second (≥ 64.6 million gallons per day)|
|2nd||≥0.283 to 2.832 cubic meters per second||≥10 to100 cubic feet per second (≥ 6.46 to 64.6 million gallons per day)|
|3rd||≥0.0228 to 0.283 cubic meters per second||≥1 to 10 cubic feet per second (≥ 0.646 to 6.46 million gallons per day)|
|4th||≥0.0063 to 0.028 cubic meters per second||≥100 gallons per minute to 1 cubic feet per second (≥ 100 to 448gallon per minute)|
|5th||≥0.631 to 6.308 liters per second||≥10 to 100 gallons per minute|
|6th||≥0.063 to 0.631 liters per second||≥1 to 10 gallons per minute|
|7th||≥0.473 to 3.785 liters per minute||≥1 pint/min to 1 gallon per minute|
|8th||less than 0.473 liters per minute||less than 1 pint/min|
These categories are the circle size and are also visible when you hover over a spring.
Only 27 first-magnitude springs exist in Florida.
There are many lists that try to summarize the best springs in Florida. This map only has major springs with at leas a 4th Magnitude Flow. Limiting them by magnitude still resulted in 110 Springs included.
Visiting all of them to rate them was almost impossible! This still would have resulted in a very biased summary!
To get a thorough list, Social Media was used to gather information. Social Media Followers on Twitter and Instagram where asked What is your favorite Florida Spring? and Why was this your favorite spring?. To get more responses, the same questions where asked on Facebook and Reddit groups dedicated to Kayaking, and Springs.
From those responses here are the Best Springs in Florida.
As you can see this list has a lot of ties. It also has Rivers which compile a lot of springs.
Waters feel colder than the their average temperature. But as cool as they seem during the winter, when water temperatures of the Gulf of Mexico drop below 53.6℉ (12℃), fish of many species and the endangered West Indian Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) find refuge in the comparatively warm 71.6℉ (22℃) waters of Florida springs Caves and Karst of West-Central Florida.
Before you dive into descriptions keep in mind that the Pictures don't do justice to these Nature wonders.
The map shows a snippet of what to expect on all springs. Below some extra comments and more information on each Spring and why they are so special.
According to Florida Springs visitors Wakulla Springs is the best and favorite Spring in Florida!
Just south of Tallahassee, this spring is in Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. According to its website it has the largest, and deepest freshwater springs in the world!
The water is Crystal clear, great for snorkeling. The springs provide several jumping platforms for swimmers, and also provides lifeguards on duty.
The run has a shallow shoreline, and the best part is that it has not been not been covered with concrete!
It is the site where the movies Tarzan and Creature from the Black Lagoon were filmed.
One of its amenities are river boats to go on the river, and watch manatees, alligators, turtles, and birds.
The park has great facilities, including a Historic Lodge to spend the night!
The park provides different options for entertainment including hiking and equestrian trail.
A tie for the second best spring, are Rainbow and Juniper Springs
North of Orlando and East of Ocala, Fern Hammock springs is a beautiful spring with different boils in Ocala National forest. The springs flow towards Juniper springs.
There is a pool where adults and children can enjoy the springs
Kayaking is not for beginners, but it is like flowing down the forest. One of the reasons voters chose Juniper Springs.
The springs are frequently visited by black bears, wild turkeys, racoons, deer, alligators among other animals. Please beware and careful. Don't feed the animals and stay out of their way!
Recreational activities are numerous in the Juniper Springs Recreational Area, but swimming is prohibited in Fern Hammock Springs due to ecological considerations Source: Maps.roadtrippers.com.
Rainbow Springs is North West of Orlando located on Rainbow Springs State Park.
This spring has the fourth largest flow of all Florida Springs.
The depth goes form 5 to 18 feet.
Swimmers and snorkelers can see all sorts of underwater life. From fish and turtles to aquatic grass.
It is possible as in other springs to paddle all the way to the river, in this case Rainbow river and keep enjoying the natural surroundings!
The campgrounds offer different amenities including fishing, hiking, camping and RV parging so families can spend more than one day enjoying the beauty of the springs. Florida State Parks.
St. Johns River is located in the North East of the state of Florida.
St. Johns drainage basin is 8,8440 sqaure miles, and includes some of Florida's major wetlands.
Several springs outflow to St. Johns River. Among them: Alexander, Beecher, Green Cove, Silver Glen, Volusia Blue, and Welaka.
North of Orlando is Alexander Springs, situated inside Ocala National Forest.
This is a 1st magnitude spring, with a shallow sandy bottom ideal for swimming.
You can rent boats and the spring requires no experience, since the current is mild.
Amazing wildlife above and below the water, including herons, alligators, fish, and turtles.
The bottom has boulders, limestone, and rocks ideal for snorkelers and divers to explore.
Weeki Wachee Springs are West of Orlando, close to the Gulf of Mexico. The springs are well know for their classic Mermaid shows.
The area also features Buccaneer park, with water slides that may drop directly into the springs.
One of the best ways to enjoy the springs is to paddle the crystal clear waters while on a rented kayak, down the Weeki Wachee River.
But one of the major surprises of this park was the discovery of one of the deepest known freshwater cave system in the United States.
A tie for number four is a complex of springs. The first one is Ichetucknee River Springs.
Nine named springs run into the Ichetucknee River. They are part of the Ichetucknee Springs State Park.
The clear waters show beautiful hues of blue. There are eelgrasses, turtles, mullet and even manatees.
No houses or boats around. This is a National Natural Landmark.
While on a canoe or a kayak, the first section comes into narrow limestone walls, then a canopy of bald cypress, ash, red maples, hickory and basswood. Then you enter the broad and sunny “rice marsh.” Great to watch birds. Further down there is a more mature forest. Source: Springseternalproject.org
The Santa Fe River is a 75-mile (121 km) river in northern Florida, and has several tributaries, among them, New River and Ichetucknee River.
Plant and animal fossil remnants are common along the Santa Fe River.
The Santa Fe River has plenty of plants and animals to discover while paddling or hiking. Throughout your visit you may find Turtles, Otters, Deer, Snakes, Herons, Egrets, Limpkins, Owls, hardwood trees and shrubs.
At the upper section, the river flows underground and then rises at River Rise Preserve Park.
About a dozen springs flow into the Santa Fe River. Some of the popular ones are Pow springs, Gilchrist Blue, Rum Island Spring, Devils Eye, and Ginnie Spring.
"A 26 mile Designated Paddling Trail runs from High Springs to Branford at the Suwannee River" where the Santa Fe River flows Source Floridapaddlenotes.com
Silver Glen located in Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area. North of Orlando and East of Ocala.
It is not just a popular destination for outdoor activities. It is also an important archeological site.
Silver Glen is a 2nd magnitude spring, located in Ocala National Forest.
The pool is ideal for a swim, as it is shallow with bit of current. Its waters are fed by many smaller springs.
This 1st magnitude springs are North of Panama City and close to Vernon FL.
The only way to access the springs is by boat. There are Porta Potties but the springs are not developed. No bathrooms, tables, grills, or pavilions.
Great to paddle, kayak, swim or snorkel. Only Natural beauty around you!
Rock springs is in Rock Springs Run State Reserve, just North of Orlando.
Most of the reserve is for hiking and horseback riding.
To get to the spring you may go to Kelly park. From there, the only access is by boat or kayak.
The run is almost like a crystal clear lazy river.
Florida has a multitude of springs, but not all made the cut to the list.
Below is a brief description of some.
Many are grouped by the river they flow to.
The Chassahowitzka River lower half is part of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. The river is West of Orlando and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The Chassahowitzka River is unique in that it is one of the most ecologically healthy rivers in west-central Florida. SFWMD.
Lithia Major and Minor Springs are East of the city of Tampa. Lithia Major is a developed county park. The pool is man modified. Some of its water is for Bottling. Source: Caveatlas.com
Spring Creek outflows to Apalachee Bay. Land near the springs is part of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Caveatlas.com
Wall Spring is North West of the city of Tampa. Used to be a spa and bathing area. Now it is a large recreational area. Pinellas County
Baltzell Spring is surrounded by beautiful trails for hiking. It is at the edge of Florida Caverns State Park and attracts hunters in the Spring time Florida Hikes.
Morrison spring is a great mixture of pristine surroundings and adequate park facilities with a boat ramp. A quick 15min paddle will give you access to Choctawatchee River. Water is cool and crystal clear. Morrison springs is North of Panama City Beach.
Crystal River Springs are north of Tampa. A cluster of 50 springs designated as a first-magnitude system that feeds Kings Bay. Crystal River Springs group is the second largest springs group in Florida Hunter Springs Park. It includes all sorts of amenities for visiting families. There is parking and a fee. Crystal River FL.
Ecofina Creek is North of Panama city beach. It has 11 named springs. Once at Williford springs, visitors have access to pavilions, toilets, and a boardwalk system that takes them to a nature trail and nearby Pitt and Sylvan Springs recreation area nwfwater.
North East of Panama City beach is a group of springs in the Jackson Blue Springs Recreation area. The springs are accessible during the summer. The rest of the year you need to get a boat to see the spring. In addition to swimming and diving in the main spring, it is possible to snorkel across the basin, or canoe and float downstream to the smaller streams. These include Shangri-La, Indian Washtub, and Twin Caves, all of which are within a half mile of Jackson Blue. The park has all sorts of amenities for families: Source: Floridahikes.com
Shangri-La is surrounded by private, forested properties on one side and Merritts Mill Pond, a popular fishing area, on the other. Source: Caveatlas.com
Warm Mineral Springs is North of Fort Myers, and the only warm spring in Florida. Formed by a Karst Window some 30,000 years ago. This is a mineral spring that has up to 51 minerals, including salt, sulfur and gases. It is a special place for health lovers to go. The fame of the waters has brought some residents looking for healing waters. This is a private spa with an entry fee Source: Visitflorida.com.
Through the 1980s, water flow at White spring declined to the point when it ceased flowing in 1990. The ex-mayor of White Springs, Dr. Helen Miller, was vice chairman of Florida Leaders Organized for Water (FLOW), a group which proposed the Floridan Aquifer Sustainability Act of 2013. The legislation seeks to restore the Floridan aquifer to 1980 levels.
The source of the Swuannee River is in the State of Georgia, it runs through Florida and discharges in the Gulf of Mexico.
The river has historical significance since it was inhabited since prehistoric times. It was also the setting for Spanish Missions to convert the Timucua peoples to Christianity and a place where the Madison Steam boat ran during the Civil War.
Some of the springs that outflow to the Suwannee River include: Branford, Fanning, Guaranto, Hart, Holton Creek Rise, Lafayette Blue, Lime Sink Run, Little River, Manatee, Otter, Peacock, Rock Bluff, Royal, Telford and White.
For detailed information of the activities available in each spring check this link My Suwannee River.
Comprehensive information about Branford Spring is found on Outdoorproject.com
The scarce information from Buckhorn Springs came from SFWMD.
Cave Atlas was a valuable resource to get information from some small cavernous springs.
Florida State Parks Website was another incredible resource rich with information for each spring in a state park.
The main list of major springs was obtained from Wikipedia as well as most of the pictures. Nevertheless, the pictures do not do them justice. These springs are very close to Paradise on Earth.
The location of Florida Springs was downloaded from Florida Department of Environmental Protection Geospatial Open Data.
The Shapefiles of Rivers and Streams was downloaded from Florida National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) - Flowlines (24k).
Florida Park boundaries were downloaded from Florida Natural Areas Inventory.
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