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While Florida is well known for its stunning beaches, the state’s equally stunning Florida springs can be your next summer adventure. These watery treasures provide beautiful scenery, aquatic activities, and unique wildlife while giving you relief from the steamy Florida heat. Hidden away in Florida’s wilderness, many of these Florida springs near Tampa Bay are a reasonable drive.

Here is a list of some of our favorite Florida springs, drive time included!


Florida Springs Near Tampa Bay

  • Lithia Springs in Lithia
  • Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
  • Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
  • Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and Springs
  • Silver Springs State Park
  • Rainbow Springs State Park


Keep reading for what makes each of these natural springs near Tampa Bay worth a visit!  We’ve also included additional springs near Tampa Bay that are worth a 2 hour drive to get there.

1. 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.

There is a $2 per vehicle fee and then $2 per person fee to swim.

2. 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

3. Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Distance from Tampa: 1 hour 20 minutes
Read our Expert’s Guide to Visiting Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

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 remnants of the old roadside attraction are apparent in places.

There are natural walkways and landscapes to explore, plus abundant opportunities to see wildlife. Spot manatees in the winter, plus 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.

4. Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and Springs

Distance from Tampa: 1 hour 20 minutes

This is the only refuge created specifically for the protection of the Florida manatee. In Crystal River, you have the unique opportunity to glimpse these gentle, slow moving mammals during manatee season.

Three Sisters Springs is a fantastic place to observe manatees on foot from the winding boardwalks, which offer views of the springs full of manatees in the colder winter months.

If you’d rather view these gentle giants from the water, book a manatee snorkeling tour (in season) or join a guided kayaking tour in clear kayaks with Get Up and Go Kayaking. Tour options include visits to Three Sisters Springs, Hunter Springs and Jurassic Springs. *Note: Three Sisters Springs is closed April 1-November 15, 2023 for restoration and stabilization. You can learn more about the project here.

The most unique feature of this tour is, of course, getting an unobstructed view of the manatees directly below your kayak.

Image credit: Get Up and Go Kayaking

5. 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 a beautiful way. Look down at the watery world below and spot fish, aquatic plants, and other treasures.

Viewing underwater plants and fish on Glass Bottom Boat at Silver Springs Near Tampa Bay
Glass Bottom Boat at Silver Springs Near Tampa Bay – Dani Meyering


These 30-minute tours are offered daily, with extended 90-minute tours available on weekends.
Park admission is $2 per person and boat tours are $12-$25/person, depending on which tour you choose.

Pro-tip: When you pre-book your boat tour your admission to the park is included – so do this to save time, reserve your spot, and save money too!

Kayaking is available at Silver Springs State Park as well.

6. 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.

FYI: Hours vary for tubing depending on the time of year, and tubing is closed for the winter season from October through March. More info can be found on the park’s website here.

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

Natural Springs Worth a 2-Hour Drive from Tampa

  • Ichetucknee Springs State Park
  • Ginnie Springs
  • Kelly Park / Rock Springs
  • Devils Den Spring

7. 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.

It is critical that you visit Kelly Park / Rock Springs on a weekday or any other season other than summer. Usually, the line of cars to enter this park on weekends and especially in the summer is at least an hour, or more, long. And the park does reach capacity quickly on such days.

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.

8. Devils Den Spring

Distance from Tampa: 1 hour 50 minutes

For a truly magical experience, Devil’s Den Spring is the place to be! Located below ground, visitors can scuba dive or snorkel in an underwater cavern in crystal clear waters. Unlike other springs on the list, this one is only open for snorkeling and scuba diving. Admission is $15-$22 ($38 for scuba divers) and rental gear is an additional cost.

While in the area, make sure to stop by Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens nearby. Get the full scoop on planning a day trip to Devil’s Den Spring from our sister site, Orlando Date Night Guide.

Note: Snorkeling is currently open by appointment only at the spring.

Devil's Den Spring
Image credit: Natalie Monzon @roamsick

9. 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. 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.

Related: Best Places to Go Tubing in Florida this Summer

10. 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 weekend getaway.

Image credit: Ginnie Springs

Featured Photo Credit: ginniespringsoutdoors.com