While Florida is well known for it’s stunning beaches, Florida springs can be your next summer adventure. These watery treasures provide beautiful scenery, water sports, and unique wildlife while giving relief from the Florida heat. Hidden away in Florida’s wilderness, many of these spots are only a short drive away from Tampa Bay. Here is a list of some of our favorite Florida Springs, drive time included!
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge (1 hr 34 min from Tampa)
This is the only refuge created specifically for the protection of the Florida manatee. Guests have the opportunity to glimpse these gentle, slow moving mammals. Guests can kayak around the park and take short hikes in the surrounding wilderness. Boat rides are also offered to tour the area! Check out Date with the Manatees: Kayaking at Crystal River.
Rainbow Springs State Park (1 hr 51 min)
Kayakers flock to this favored location. Bring your own gear or rent kayaks and paddleboards right on the water. A Nature trail is also available for cyclists and hikers. Keep your eyes open for birds, snakes and gators along the way.
With a plethora of attractions for the whole family to enjoy, this spring is more than just a state park. Buccaneer Bay Waterpark offers 5 waterslides, a sandy beach, swimming, snorkeling, and a special water play area for the little ones. Guests can also kayak or canoe down 5.5 miles of calm waters. Make sure to catch the Weeki Wachi Mermaids perform Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid underwater.
Ginnie Springs (2 hr 31 min)
Located near Gainesville, this destination is one of the only places you can scuba and go cave diving in Florida. Guests often rent tubes and relax as they float down the river. The facility also offers overnight rental cottages, campsites, and picknicking so visitors also have the option to camp in Ginnie Springs.
Devils Den Springs (2 hr)
For a truly magical experience, Devils Den Pre-Historic Spring is the place to be! Located below ground, visitors can swim in an underwater cavern where crystal clear waters can be found. Guest can scuba dive, snorkel, and camp at this location. While in the area, make sure to check Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve.