10 Natural Springs Near Tampa Bay You Must Visit for Labor Day Weekend

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Springs

While Florida is well known for its stunning beaches, the state’s equally stunning Florida springs can be your Labor Day Weekend adventure. These watery treasures provide beautiful scenery, aquatic activities, and unique wildlife while giving you relief from the steamy Florida heat. Many of these Florida springs are a reasonable drive from the Tampa Bay area.

Here is a list of some of our favorite Florida springs for Labor Day Weekend, drive time included! Get there early, all of these Florida springs are bound to be popular over the long weekend.

Natural Springs in Florida for Labor Day Weekend

Lithia Springs in Lithia

Distance from Tampa: 30 minutes

Lithia Springs is the easiest natural Florida spring to get to, located right in Lithia near the Fishhawk area. There is a beautiful swimming area filled with cool, fresh spring water from the springs that eventually fuels the Alafia River. Lithia Springs is popular for swimming and camping, especially during Labor Day Weekend. There is a $2 per vehicle fee and then $2 per person fee to swim.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Distance from Tampa: 1 hour

With a plethora of attractions for the whole family to enjoy, Weeki Wachee Springs is more than just a state park. Buccaneer Bay Waterpark offers five waterslides, a sandy beach, swimming, snorkeling, and a special water play area for the little ones. For an active adventure, rent a tandem kayak to paddle 5.5 miles of the Weeki Wachee River‘s calm waters. Make sure to catch the Weeki Wachee Mermaids perform Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid underwater. Park entry is $13 per person.

Weeki Wachee Springs mermaid show
Image credit: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Distance from Tampa: 1 hour 20 minutes

Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park combines everything you love about Florida State Parks into one visit. What started off as a tourist attraction in the 1950s has now grown to be a Florida State Park. The history is quite fascinating, and remants of the old roadside attraction are apparent in places.

There are natural walkways and landscapes to explore, plus abundant opportunities to see wildlife. What a lovely way to spend Labor Day Weekend. Spot rescued wildlife like flamingos, pelicans, owls, turtles, otters, alligators, deer, and more. There are a small number of manatees year round that are kept at the park as they are not fit to return to the wild. Admission is $13 per person ages 5 and older.

FYI: If you park in the main parking lot, you will need to plan on a 15-minute tram or boat ride to the park itself. Weekends are very busy.

Silver Springs State Park

Distance from Tampa: 1 hour 40 minutes

You might think of swimming, tubing and kayaking when you think of Florida springs, but Silver Springs State Park offers a unique experience not available at other parks. The iconic glass bottom boat tours offered at this park allow you to see the springs in an entirely new way. 30-minute tours are offered daily, or you can book a spot on an extended 90-minute tour on weekends. Experience a Florida classic on Labor Day Weekend. Park admission is $8/car and boat tours are $12-$25/person, depending on which tour you choose.

Rainbow Springs State Park

Distance from Tampa: 1 hour 40 minutes

Popular with swimmers, snorkelers, paddlers and tubers, Rainbow Springs State Park offers a variety of water adventures. A designated swimming area is the perfect place to cool down, or rent a tube or kayak to cruise the picturesque Rainbow River. Tubing is accessed via a separate tubing entrance ($2 entry fee) and rentals are $20 for the day.

This is a very popular spot on Labor Day Weekend.

On land, hike the scenic walkways and nature trail to admire manmade waterfalls and colorful flora that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

For a longer tube run (we’re talking 4-4.5 hours of floating!), KP Hole is an alternate park nearby offering tube rentals.

Outdoor activities in Tampa - Rainbow River tubing
Tubing the Rainbow River from KP Hole | Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

Kelly Park / Rock Springs

Distance from Tampa: 1 hour 45 minutes

Located north of Orlando, Kelly Park is popular with tubers eager to float down the short but serene 3/4-mile tube run. Pack a picnic and stake out a sunny spot in the grass along the water after you’ve had your fill of floating down the crystal clear water. Tube rentals are available outside the park from multiple vendors (or bring your own tube — must be less than 5 feet in length or width), and park admission is $3-$5. Get there super early for Labor Day Weekend.

If tubing isn’t your thing, pass the entrance to Kelly Park and continue to King’s Landing where you can rent kayaks and hit the water. Keep your eyes out for playful otters, turtles, birds and other wildlife.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Distance from Tampa: 2 hours 30 minutes

Crystal clear, 72-degree spring-fed water and a fantastic tube run make Ichetucknee Springs one of the state’s best tubing spots on Labor Day Weekend. Kick back and relax for the 3.5-hour float while soaking up the scenery. Or, opt for the Midpoint Tube Launch for a shorter 45-minute to 1-hour float. Tube rentals are available on a limited basis within the park, or you can bring along your own or rent from vendors outside the park. Other park activities include hiking, swimming, snorkeling, picnicking and more.

Ginnie Springs

Distance from Tampa: 2 hours 30 minutes

Located near Gainesville, this destination is one of the only places where certified divers can go cave diving in Florida. For a more leisurely activity, rent tubes and relax as you float down the Santa Fe River with your love. The facility also offers overnight rental cottages, campsites, and picnicking if you’d like to turn your visit into a Labor Day Weekend getaway.

Image credit: Ginnie Springs

Feauture Photo Credit: ginniespringsoutdoors.com


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