What to Know About Visiting the Florida Springs
Where in Florida are the springs mainly located?
They are largely in the central and northern part of the state, with the exception of one warm springs that is more south. There are many springs around central Florida, stretching from one side of the state to the other. There are also some springs in the panhandle. There is one warm spring that is located more south in North Port.
What temperature are the Florida springs?
The Florida springs remain a constant 72 degrees all year long (give or take a degree or two, but right around there). Some find this refreshing (like me), while others find it super cold. However, it's that cool water that helps keep it safer for you to explore the springs, because it keeps the amoebas away. On a hot summer day, it's really refreshing. On a winter day you may not notice a difference, because the outside temperature and water temperature are close together. Yes, people do go into the springs during colder months, just not as many people as during the hot summers.
Can people take their dog to the springs?
Many people want to take their dog into the spring, but dogs are not allowed at most of them. Dogs are seen as alligator prey, so by them being in the spring it increases your risks. There are some springs that allow leashed dogs to be taken into the park, but they are not allowed into the spring or swimming area. You may find a place in the river to take the dog, but you are running the risks of the dog being alligator bait.
Are there snakes and alligators in the springs?
There is always the risk of alligators being in any body of water in Florida. You can minimize risks of run-ins with them by not taking your dog into the water (or by the water's edge), always keeping your eye out for them, and always swimming only in designated swimming areas. It's a good idea to look around and be aware of your surroundings. I've been in springs several times when there was a snake in there swimming around. They really want nothing to do with you. Just give them space to get away and leave them alone. If you see an alligator in the water, do not go in, and alert others and park employees. There are times when springs are closed for swimming due to alligator activity. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen at times.
Can you swim with the manatees in Florida springs?
Manatees do go into several of the springs and rivers where people kayak and snorkel. It's against the law to touch or harass a manatee, so avoid doing so. Don't chase them or do things that can get you into trouble. They are completely harmless animals, so you don't need to fear them if they come near you. If they seek you out and come up to you (as one did to me before), leave your hands above water, remain calm, and enjoy the attention.
Are all springs child friendly?
No, they are not all child friendly. In order for a Florida spring to be considered child friendly, they must have some shallow areas in my opinion. For example, Rainbow Springs is absolutely beautiful, but it is all deep water, which keeps it from being a child friendly spring. On the other hand, Alexander Springs has lots of shallow areas, so it's great for children. A spring like Ginnie Springs is not family friendly due to the partying atmosphere that it has. In my Florida Springs Guide, I try to tell families which springs are child friendly.
Can you camp or rent a cabin at the springs?
There are plenty of Florida springs that offer camping and cabins, so check the Florida Springs Guide. You will find some that have primitive camping, camping with just a water outlet, and those that offer a full hookup for RV's. There are also springs that have cabins you can rent, such as Otter Springs, Fanning Springs, and Blue Spring State Park. If you can't get a reservation at one of the parks, you can stay at a nearby hotel and then visit the springs from there. For example, there is a Days Inn that we stayed at in Chiefland, and on that trip we went to numerous springs from there.
Are the springs open or browned out?
This varies due to the weather and flooding that may take place. Your best bet is to always call the spring to ensure they are not closed due to the weather or are browned out due to flooding from the river.
What is the best or most beautiful spring in Florida?
There is no answer to this. The state has over 600 springs! I've been to 37 of them and I find beauty in all of them. I don't have a favorite, I have many favorites. If you are a nature lover you will find beauty in every spring you go to. There are some that are very over priced (Ginnie Springs) and some that are sorely underrated (Rum Island and Little River), but I love them all! You have to find your best by visiting lots of them.
Are any of the springs wheelchair accessible?
Yes! There are springs that are wheelchair accessible and those that have lifts to help you get into the water (such as DeLeon Springs). Call the spring to ask about their accessibility. I have seen it at plenty of the springs, it is out there. If you'd like to put together a list of all the accessible springs in Florida I'd be happy to add it to the site.