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Florida's Springs

Rainbow Springs
Rainbow Springs
[Photo: Florida DEP]

Who needs the beach? Deep in the shade, inland Florida conceals the state's most refreshing places to swim. Cool springs seep up from the earth to feed rivers, provide grassy picnic settings and entice swimmers, tubers and kayakers. Hydrologists now count more than 30 springs in central and north Florida pumping at first magnitude and sometimes temperatures of 72 degrees, most freshwater but some tinged with salt, sulfur and other minerals. Many are state parks good for boating, fishing, manatee watching and camping. Check rules and activities for individual springs at floridastateparks.org. Some favorite parks for plain old swimming in crystal clear spring water:

» Blue Spring, Orange City

» DeLeon Springs, DeLeon Springs

» Wakulla Springs, Wakulla Springs

» Fanning Springs, Fanning Springs

» Ichetucknee Springs, Fort White

» Lafayette Blue Springs, Mayo

» Madison Blue Spring, Lee

» Manatee Springs, Chiefland

» Ponce DeLeon Springs, Ponce de Leon

» Rainbow Springs, Dunnellon

» Troy Spring, Branford

» Wekiwa Springs, Apopka