Table of Contents Show
- What Are Florida’s Hot Springs?
- How Hot Are Florida’s Hot Springs?
- Does Florida Have a Lot of Natural Springs?
- The 12 Best Hot Springs in Florida
- Tips for Staying Safe At Hot Springs in Florida
- Are Hot Springs in Florida Worth a Visit?
Florida has many hot attractions, including some of its natural springs. They are among the many reasons the Sunshine State is a fantastic place to visit almost year-round.
The hot springs in Florida are relaxing places to soak or float, and they are also pristine estuaries. They aren’t like the springs out west, one of which is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
What else is so special about these somewhat mysterious and miraculous natural wonders?
Let’s find out!
What Are Florida’s Hot Springs?
The natural springs in Florida are so clean and pure because the waters bubble up from deep within the earth.
They are refreshing places to visit for many reasons. The waters are invigorating, but so is the surrounding natural beauty. In many cases, these are vibrant ecosystems teeming with plant and animal life. Overdevelopment has often not influenced them.
They’re warm but not super-hot. Many thermal springs out west have intense volcanic activity as their heat source. Florida’s are warm through contact with high temperatures inside the earth’s crust.
How Hot Are Florida’s Hot Springs?
You’ll find that the waters at Florida’s natural hotspots are soothing but not scalding. In fact, with one big exception, they are on the cool side. Warm Springs is the outlier, with its temperature of 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Florida’s other springs hover on either side of the 70-degree mark.
For many visitors, that’s a perfect temperature. These are waters warm enough to take the chill off winter and give cool relief from the blazing summer heat.
Does Florida Have a Lot of Natural Springs?
Technically, a spring is a hole in the ground where water flows from an aquifer. Florida has nearly a thousand of them, one of the highest concentrations in the world.
They are more than sources of good drinking water. Many are also coveted spots for outdoor recreation opportunities. They are generally healthy ecosystems that draw many wildlife watchers, too.
The 12 Best Hot Springs in Florida
While the term “hot” is a relative one, here’s our guide to visiting the best of Florida’s abundant natural springs.
We’ll share details on where to find them and what to do there, along with what makes them unique.
Warm Springs Mineral Park
We’ll start with the biggest and the best. This is Florida’s only natural hot springs site open to the public.
Address: 12200 San Servando Ave, North Port, FL 34287
Price: Starting at $20 for adults and $15 for those 6 – 17. Kids 5 and under get in free.
A public attraction since the 1940s, Warm Springs covers more than 43,000 square feet and has nine million gallons of water. It may not feel that hot when you slip in, but it gets hotter the deeper you go. Surface temperatures are around 85 to 87 degrees, but they’re 10 degrees higher at the source 250 feet below.
How to Visit: Take Interstate 75 to Exit 191 and head south to U.S. 41/Tamiami Trail. Go left on Ortiz Boulevard and look for Warm Springs on your right.
Rainbow Springs State Park
These springs, the state’s third-largest, are in north-central Florida, west of Ocala.
Address: 19158 SW 81st Pl Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432
Price: Usually $2 per person.
This spring-fed pool is five feet on the shallow end and deepens to 18 feet. The remarkable clarity lets you spy on an underwater menagerie of aquatic life. You can also enjoy nearby hiking trails, waterfalls, kayaking, or tubing on the Rainbow River.
How to Visit: Go three miles north of Dunnellon on U.S. 41 to the park’s Headsprings Entrance.
Silver Glen Springs
This recreation area is one of the most popular features of the Ocala National Forest.
Address: 5271 N Highway 19 Fort McCoy, FL 32134
Price: Usually $9 per person on weekdays, $12 on weekends.
Visiting the natural springs in Florida can be a history lesson, too. This site is home to giant mounds of fossilized snail shells and other evidence of ancient life.
The crystalline waters give a constant reading of 73 degrees. Outside the swimming area, you can rent a canoe or kayak or take the three-mile hike along the shores of Lake George.
How to Visit: Go to the eastern end of the national forest. It’s off State Road 19, about six miles north of the intersection of State Roads 40 and 19.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Nine springs flow into the Ichetucknee River, which flows through six miles of the park.
Address: 8294 SW Elim Church Road, Fort White, FL 32038
Price: Regularly $6 per vehicle (two to eight people) or $4 for single-occupant cars and motorcycles. It’s $2 for pedestrians, cyclists, and extra passengers.
Plunge into this picturesque pool, shaded by cypress trees, and expect a pleasant 72 degrees any time of year.
You cannot bring boats on these hot springs in Florida, but elsewhere on the river, you can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, tubing, or paddle boarding. There are private vendors near the park.
How to Visit: Take I-75 to Exit 423, then go south on State Road 47 and turn on County Road 238. Follow the signs to the park’s North Entrance.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
This watery wonderland is about a 45-minute drive from Tampa and approximately two hours north of Orlando.
Address: 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606
Price: Starting at $13 for adults, $8 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for those ages five and under.
Visitors may know this place as a family-friendly destination where they promise regular performances by real-live mermaids.
Beyond the tourist gimmicks, it’s also the location of pristine waters and the deepest freshwater caves in the U.S. Take a boat tour of the Weeki Wachee River or dine at the waterfront restaurant on Buccaneer Bay.
How to Visit: From Exit 293 on I-75, take U.S. 98 North/Cortez Boulevard and follow State Highway 50 West to the park.
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
Northwest of Gainesville, this scenic park on the Santa Fe River is home to six springs.
Address: 7450 NE 60th St, High Springs, FL 32643
Price: Usually $6 per vehicle.
Refreshing might be the best word to describe this gorgeous swimming hole and its adjacent picnic areas. Gilchrist Blue Springs park produces an astounding 44 million gallons of water daily.
Be sure and explore the river, too. It’s only a mile away, and an elevated boardwalk will get you there and back.
How to Visit: From U.S. Highway 27 (south of High Springs), turn west on NW 182nd Ave (CR 340) and go 4.5 miles.
Madison Blue Springs
This delightful gem on the Withlacoochee River is a treasured North Florida swimming hole.
Address: 8300 FL-6, Lee, FL 32059
Price: Usually $4 to $5 per vehicle and $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, and extra passengers.
A favorite of divers and swimmers, this picture-perfect pool measures 82 feet wide and has a depth of around 25 feet. A wooden deck and stairs lead to the limestone basin. The surrounding scenery of mixed hardwoods and pines completes the idyllic scene.
How to Visit: From Exit 262 on Interstate 10, head north on County Road 255 (through Lee) to State Road 6. Brake for the park before the river bridge.
Also, in Ocala National Forest, this spring is a counterpart to Silver Glen Springs.
Address: 26701 FL-40, Silver Springs, FL 34488
Price: Usually $6 per person.
CCC built this in the 1930s. It is one of the oldest recreation areas along the East Coast. The massive hot springs in Florida lie enticingly beneath a canopy of tropical palms and stately oaks.
The inviting pool is mostly shallow but deep enough for diving on one end. Watch for eels lurking among the verdant tape grass thriving along the bottom.
How to Visit: From Ocala, head west on Silver Springs Boulevard to State Highway 40 and follow signs to the recreation area.
Keep in Mind: Are the Florida National Parks Worth Visiting? Let’s see which parks you should actually visit!
Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
This privately owned property inside a cave is for snorkeling and diving only.
Address: 5390 NE 180th Ave Williston, FL 32696
Price: Starting at $38 for divers and $18 for snorkelers ($25 on weekends and holidays.), $7 per person to tour the property.
Devil’s Den is what geologists call a karst window or a collapsed roof to an underground river. It’s essentially a 50-foot sinkhole on private property, so it’s not easily accessible by the general public.
For those wanting to do some serious scuba diving or snorkeling, it’s truly an unforgettable experience.
How to Visit: Take I-75 to Alachua County and turn onto State Highway 121 South (Exit 382). Follow to NE 180th Avenue/NE 50th Street. NOTE: It’s not open for general swimming. Snorkelers must register ahead of time, and it’s first-come, first-served for divers.
Three Sisters Springs
This restored wetlands habitat is within the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.
Address: 601 Three Sisters Springs Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429
Price: Usually $20 or $12.50 for adults, depending on the season, and $7 for ages 6 – 15. Free for children five and under.
This is the place where you can swim with the manatees. You might even bump into one by mistake because there are hundreds at certain times of the year.
The 57-acre refuge includes the pristine springs and a boardwalk for wildlife observation. A pontoon boat cruise is another way to experience this magnificent area.
How to Visit: Because of limited parking, visitors catch a trolley shuttle from behind City Hall in Crystal River. Also, you must enter the springs area by boat from a nearby launch rather than on foot.
This privately-owned oasis is outside of High Springs on the Santa Fe River.
Address: 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643
Price: Usually $20 or $15 for adults, depending on the season, and $5 for children ages 5 – 12. Free for kids under 5.
Gorgeous and somewhat remote, Ginnie Springs in Florida is home to three separate hot springs with underwater caverns and startlingly clear waters.
One of the customs at the so-called Devil’s Spring System is to dive deep and count leaves on the trees overhead. You can also rent diving gear and camp on-site.
How to Visit: From the town of High Springs, turn left on State Road 27/41 and go a half-mile to County Road 340/NE 182nd Avenue. Turn right onto CR 340 and go west for 6.5 miles to NE 60th Ave. Turn right and go another mile.
Rock Springs (Kelly Park)
Many Central Floridians love this as a day trip to beat the summer heat.
Address: 400 E Kelly Park Rd, Apopka, FL 32712
Price: Around $3 per vehicle for 1-2 people, $5 per vehicle for 3-8 people, and $1 for motorcycles, bikes, and additional passengers.
Visitors often describe Rock Springs as a natural version of popular Lazy River attractions.
On the chilly side at 68 degrees, the spring-fed waters flow gently through a pretty park that’s a 40-minute drive from Orlando. You can bring your tube (raft or noodle) or rent one from a concessionaire near the park.
How to Visit: From Interstate 4, take Exit 92 and follow State Road 436 West 6.5 miles and merge into U.S. 441. Continue north and turn on SR 435 (Park Avenue/Rock Springs Road). Go five miles and turn right.
Tips for Staying Safe At Hot Springs in Florida
Remember that you’re sharing these waters not only with fellow tourists but with other living things, as well. While in Florida, you have to remain vigilant regarding alligators, snapping turtles, and snakes.
Avoid jumping in if you have any open cuts or wounds. These warmer waters sometimes breed certain kinds of dangerous bacteria.
It may sound silly, but stay hydrated. Even when you’re soaking up to your chin, you still need to drink water when you’re outside.
Keep in Mind: Looking for a camping spot in the Sunshine State? These are The Best Florida State Parks for RV Camping
Are Hot Springs in Florida Worth a Visit?
Most hot springs in the U.S. are in western states, but Arkansas has some famous ones, too. So are the hot springs in Florida worth visiting?
In a word, yes. They are a reminder that some of Florida’s best features are far away from its legendary theme parks and crowded beaches.
Many are off the beaten path in small, friendly communities you may not discover otherwise. In addition, the ones at state parks usually have overnight lodging, including campsites for tents and RVs.
Some are more touristy than others, but you can count on the waters’ consistency. Depending on the season, the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico may be too warm or too cold.
But no matter what, chances are that the temperature of the hot springs of Florida will be “just right.”
Are you ready to visit the hot springs in Florida?