Map of the Best Springs in Florida
This interactive map shows the major Springs in Florida. The size of the circle shows the spring magnitude. The color of the circles shows the spring rating. The circle ring color shows if diving is possible. Dark green polygons represent parks and preserves. Blue lines represent rivers and streams. For detailed information on each Spring, Stream, or Park, hover over the map. To get a closer look, zoom in.
Map of Florida Springs
This Florida Springs Map summarizes all the information you need to choose the right spring for your visit. Remember, not all springs are made equal, and not all of them offer the same amenities.
The first step is choosing the size of the spring you want to visit. Some are big, bring many tourists, and offer paddling options.
Other springs are small, have fewer visitors, and are great for swimming.
Some springs are just a hole in the ground but offer infinite possibilities for scuba diving.
Below is a table that shows how they are classified according to size.
Florida Springs Categories
Springs in Florida are classified according to their magnitude. This means that each category is based on the volume of water flow per unit of 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 to 100 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 foot 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 depicted as different circle sizes and are visible when you hover over a spring on the map.
Only 27 first-magnitude springs exist in Florida.
Tips Before You Go to a Florida Spring
The spring water is cold. It can be refreshing, but it is definitely cold. I usually go on hot, sunny summer days. Otherwise, my kids will not enjoy the plunge.
We even went as far as buying them wetsuts on Amazon. These O'Neil wet suits are made of neoprene, soft, seamless, wind resistant, and have an easy zipper closure. They are worth having as we can use them in cool beach days or while kayaking in winter.
The funny thing is that as cool as they seem during the summer, 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.
Best Days to Visit Springs
Florida springs are beautiful year-round. In winter, you will find that deciduous trees like cypress still make the landscape incredibly gorgeous. I personally would not jump in, but going on a kayak or paddle board is worth the trip.
My favorite season is summer, but I would not go on a weekend. Locals know the springs, and they will definitely be crowded. If possible, go on a weekday. The shores or beaches close to springs are limited. They fill up quickly.
Besides, springs are more serene with fewer visitors.
If I am sincere, I think I got in the way of divers. I was so curious to see them in action at Morrison Springs. I am sure they were annoyed by my presence. I just could not stop looking at everything they were doing.
If you see divers, just keep cool and stay out of their way!
Always Check Before you Go to a Spring!
Last year it rained so much in the Florida Panhandle that some springs overflooded. It sounds great, but the water was dark and murky.
Some springs even closed because waters reached nearby farms, and E.coli numbers were so high.
Remember, the springs are fragile. Leave no trace. Don't step on plants, don't step on aquatic plants, or take away anything!
Pick after yourself and don't take glass.
Items to Pack Before Heading to the Springs
- Goggles or snorkeling set. You will not believe how clear and beautiful the water is. You can check the sandy bottom. Find the vents, or look at aquatic plants and fish.
- If there is a bit of a current, I would take swimming fins. It will just make it easier for you to move around.
- Puddle jumpers: Many springs have deep pools. This way, kids can enjoy them safely.
- Inflatables: If you plan to relax, you will enjoy having something to float on.
- Water-resistant camera: You might not be into photography, but once you are there, you will probably want to keep some beautiful memories. We bought an action camera on Amazon for water-related trips. The DJI Osmo Action camera was perfect for the springs. It has a dual-screen and responsive display. I give it to my kids, and they enjoy making videos on and off the water.
- Dry bag because you don't really know where you will have to take your personal items while you explore the springs.
Best Springs in Florida
Many lists try to summarize the best springs in Florida. This map only has major springs with at least a 4th Magnitude Flow. Limiting them by magnitude still resulted in over 100 springs.
Visiting all the springs 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 were asked What is your favorite Florida Spring? And Why was this your favorite spring?
To get more responses, the same questions were asked on Facebook and Reddit groups dedicated to Kayaking, and Springs.
From those responses, here are the Best Springs in Florida.
- Wakulla Springs
- Juniper Springs and Rainbow Springs
- Alexander Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs
- Ichetucknee River Springs and Santa Fe River Springs
- Silver Glenn Springs and Cypress Springs
- Rock Springs
As you can see, this list has a lot of ties. It also has rivers, which compile a lot of springs.
Before diving into descriptions, remember that the Pictures don't do justice to these Nature wonders.
The map shows a snippet of what to expect on all springs. Below are some additional comments and more information on each Spring and why they are so special.
Responders chose Wakulla Springs as the best 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 and great for snorkeling. The springs have several jumping platforms for swimmers and provide lifeguards on duty.
The run has a shallow shoreline; the best part is that it has not been covered with concrete!
It is where the movies Tarzan and Creature from the Black Lagoon were filmed.
One of its amenities is river boats to go on the river and watch manatees, alligators, turtles, and birds.
The park has excellent facilities, including a Historic Lodge to spend the night!
The park provides different options for entertainment, including a hiking and equestrian trail.
You could stay in a cottage nearby, with direct access to the beautiful Spring-fed Wakulla River. This Vrbo rental is surrounded by trees and has a private dock with kayaks. For more information, click here!
In a tie for second place are Rainbow and Juniper Springs.
Located between Ocala and Daytona Beach, Juniper Springs is managed by the U.S. National Forest.
Many springs are gushing underneath a dense canopy of trees.
Kayaking is not for beginners, but voters like it because it feels like flowing inside the forest..
You need to use a hard bottom kayak. Some areas are shallow and have poky branches. Inflatables are not allowed down the spring.
Fortunately, there is a pool where adults and children can enjoy the springs. One side has a concrete shore. It also has a mill to generate electricity for campers!
Recreational activities are numerous in the Juniper Springs Recreational Area, but swimming is prohibited in Fern Hammock Springs due to ecological considerations.
The complex has campgrounds and trails. Source: www.fs.usda.gov
Rainbow Springs is northwest of Orlando, located in Rainbow Springs State Park.
This spring has the fourth-largest flow of all Florida Springs.
The depth goes from 5 to 18 feet.
Swimmers and snorkelers can see all sorts of underwater life, from fish and turtles to aquatic grass.
As in other springs, it is possible to paddle all the way to the river, in this case, the Rainbow river. The river offers incredible surroundings as well.
The campgrounds offer different amenities, including fishing, hiking, camping, and RV parking. Therefore, families can spend more than one day enjoying the beauty of the springs. Florida State Parks.
If you are thinking about spending the night nearby, I would suggest a riverfront vacation home with Vrbo. The property has a large backyard, a large balcony, and a dock on Rainbow river. For more information visit this link!
St. Johns River is located in northeast Florida.
St. Johns drainage basin is 8,8440 square miles and includes some of Florida's major wetlands.
Several springs outflow to St. Johns River. Alexander, Beecher, Green Cove, Silver Glen, Volusia Blue, and Welaka are among them.
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.
In other areas, the bottom has boulders, limestone, and rocks ideal for snorkelers and divers to explore.
You can rent boats as the spring requires no experience since the current is mild.
In case you plan to explore the spring and don't wish to rent a boat, Amazon has an inflatable kayak. It is ideal for paddling down the Alexander Spring. Valwix is a 2 person inflatable kayak. It has a sun canopy and is light, portable, stable, and flexible. It includes a backrest, a pump, and a bag. It is ideal for paddling down Alexander Spring.
Unique wildlife above and below the water include herons, alligators, fish, and turtles.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Weeki Wachee Springs is west of Orlando, close to the Gulf of Mexico. The springs are well known for their classic Mermaid shows.
The area also features a Buccaneer park, with water slides that may drop directly into the springs.
A great way to enjoy the springs is to paddle the crystal clear waters while on a kayak down the Weeki Wachee River.
One of the major surprises of this park was the discovery of one of the deepest known freshwater cave systems in the United States.
Ichetucknee River Springs
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, mullets, and even manatees.
There are 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.”
The spring is great for watching birds. Further down, there is a more mature forest. Source: Springseternalproject.org
Santa Fe River
The Santa Fe River is a 75-mile (121 km) river in northern Florida. It has several tributaries, among them the 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. You may find turtles, otters, deer, snakes, herons, egrets, limpkins, owls, hardwood trees, and shrubs throughout your visit.
In 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 popular ones are Pow springs, Gilchrist Blue, Rum Island Spring, Devils Eye, and Ginnie Springs.
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.
You can rent a cottage with Vrbo and have access to the Santa Fe River, Ichetucknee Springs, and Ginnie Springs. The cottage is on a 6 acre lot with boardwalk and a river dock. To learn more visit this link!
Silver Glen Springs
Silver Glen is 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 swimming, as it is shallow with a bit of current. Its waters are fed by many smaller springs.
These 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 are 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.
The source of the Suwannee 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 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 on the activities available in each spring, check this link My Suwannee River.
Other Beautiful Springs and Rivers
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's 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 because 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. The land near the springs is part of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Caveatlas.com
- Wall Spring is northwest of the city of Tampa. It 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.
- Volusia Blue: Is located in Blue Springs State Park, 33 miles north Orlando. These springs are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, tubing, and cave diving. They are also known for protecting over 700 manatees.
- Morrison Springs is an excellent mixture of pristine surroundings and adequate park facilities with a boat ramp. The water is cool and crystal clear. A quick 15min paddle will give you access to the Choctawhatchee River. Morrison springs is north of Panama City Beach.
- Crystal River Springs is north of Tampa. A cluster of 50 springs is designated as a first-magnitude system that feeds Kings Bay. Crystal River Springs group is the second largest spring group in Florida Hunter Springs Park. It includes all sorts of amenities for visiting families.
- 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.
- Jackson Bue Springs: Northeast of Panama City beach is a group of springs in the Jackson Blue Springs Recreation area. The springs are accessible during the summer. You need to get a boat to see the springs for the rest of the year. 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 within a half-mile of Jackson Blue. The park has all sorts of amenities for families.
- 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 mineral spring has gases plus up to 51 minerals, including salt and sulfur. 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.
- Ponce de Leon Springs: These springs are in the panhandle and have their own state park, therefore are set up for visitors. The pool is deep, and half the shore has concrete for visitors to jump in or climb out. There is a nice trail, and visitors like to follow the spring to the river. Perfect for families.
- White Springs: Through the 1980s, the water flow at White springs declined until it ceased flowing in 1990.The ex-mayor of White Springs, Dr. Helen Miller, was vice-chairman of Florida Leaders Organized for Water (FLOW). This group proposed the Floridan Aquifer Sustainability Act of 2013. The legislation seeks to restore the Floridan aquifer to 1980 levels.
If you want to learn more about Florida Springs and would like to find other springs with smaller magnitudes, I suggest you get this book found on Amazon. The guide is titled Touring the Springs of Florida. It has an in-depth look at the springs in the state.
Florida Springs Resources
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. 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 were downloaded from the Florida National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) - Flowlines (24k).
Florida Park boundaries were downloaded from Florida Natural Areas Inventory.
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