By Ella Shockley
Florida’s natural springs attract thousands of visitors every year. With their beautiful water and amenities, there’s no better way to spend a hot, sunny day. Here are the top five natural springs to visit all around Florida this summer with activities and amenities to fill a whole summer day for your family.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park, located in Fort White, is home of a national landmark, the Ichetucknee Head Spring. Costing only $8 per vehicle for entry, this park includes family favorites such as tubing, kayaking, canoeing, paddling, swimming, snorkeling and even scuba diving. No need to worry about buying tubes or kayaks before you go, as the general store at this spring has rentals of all types available so your family can have the perfect day at the springs.
Silver Springs State Park, located in Silver Springs, is home to the filming of over 20 movies back in old Hollywood, including Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean; Distant Drums, starring Gary Cooper; the James Bond movie Moonraker; Creature from the Black Lagoon; and six Tarzan flicks. Costing only $8 for entry, its amenities include glass-bottom boats, paddling, hiking, wildlife/birding, camping, educational sites (museum and environmental center), cracker village and plenty of dining options.
Blue Spring State Park, located in Orange City, is home of the Thursby House, historically where Louis Thursby shipped tourists and goods to Jacksonville back in 1856. Costing $6 per vehicle, manatees are ready to be seen at this location. Also, activities such as birding, boat tours, camping, fishing, hiking, paddling, scuba diving, picnicking, snorkeling, swimming and tubing are all available.
Devil’s Den Spring, located right between Ichetucknee and Silver Springs in Williston, is known to be an underground spring home to many extinct animal fossils dating back to Pleistocene age. Costing between $18-$25, this spring offers snorkeling and scuba diving in a prehistoric cave, a picnic/grill area, a heated swimming pool and assorted lawn games, as well as camping and a RV park.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, located in Apopka, was the first tourist attraction in Central Florida, just miles outside of Orlando. Costing $6 per vehicle, this spring is home to unique amenities like horseback riding and mountain biking while including activities like paddling, fishing, geocaching and four different types of camping.
For more information on the springs listed, visit www.floridastateparks.org.