Top 12 best places to swim in Florida: from natural springs in the middle of the wilderness to a pool at a former quarry site

By Tetiana PavlichenkoApr 19, 2024 14:48 PMFlorida
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Top 12 best places to swim in Florida: from natural springs in the middle of the wilderness to a pool at a former quarry site
Florida's national parks are amazing with a variety of places to swim. Source: Image Floridastateparks.org

Florida's nature can spoil travelers with a variety of scenic landscapes and more than 700 clear springs that can be the goal of a trip in search of pristine swimming spots. Fortunately, many sparkling oases are located close to each other, so you can spend endless summer days making a few pit stops for refreshing dips. Put these top Florida summer swimming spots on your Sunshine State travel itinerary.

Silver Glen Springs, Ocala National Forest

The crystal waters of Silver Glen Springs are surrounded by a stunning landscape of a lush forest of oaks, pine, and cedar. This spring in the Ocala National Forest is replenished with 65 gallons of water daily. Because the spring bowl is boat-free, Silver Glen Springs boasts incredibly clear water, perfect for summer swimming. Bring your mask and snorkel to watch for striped bass. The park has picnic and barbecue areas, and quite a few vacationers gather during peak times.

Ichetucknee Springs, Fort White

Ichetucknee Springs State Park has several impressive springs. There are two of Florida's premier natural swimming areas – one near Ichetucknee Springs and the other at Blue Hole Spring. Both boast crystal-clear water, but most travelers are drawn here for tubing adventures. Blue Hole has a fairly strong current, so it's suitable for strong swimmers. But you can rent a tubing or bring your own and go downstream for about 2 hours of wildlife watching and return by car.

Wakulla Springs

Top 12 best places to swim in Florida: from natural springs in the middle of the wilderness to a pool at a former quarry site
Take a dip in the water or go on a boat tour. Source: Image Floridastateparks.org

One of the best summer swimming spots in Florida is located at one of the deepest and largest freshwater springs in the world, Wakulla Springs. It is located near Tallahassee and has been chosen as a summer vacation spot for generations. The water here maintains a temperature of about 69 degrees, comfortable for diving in both hot summer and cooler weather. There are all the necessary amenities around: picnic areas, restrooms, and showers. You can sit by the water on large lawns shaded by cypress trees, hike the surrounding trails, take a glass-bottom boat ride, and view the scenery from the 22-foot-high observation tower.

Madison Blue Springs, Lee

This idyllic bathing spot sits in a limestone basin about 85 feet wide and features a crystal-clear spring whose waters reflect the surrounding trees. There are wooden steps to enter the water and the depth reaches 25 feet. It's worth coming here if you want to avoid the crowds and swim at your leisure while enjoying the scenic landscape around you. The number of vacationers is regulated due to the limited number of parking areas available, so these Florida summer swimming spots are not crowded.

Ginnie Springs, High Springs

Popular for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and tubing, Ginnie Springs is considered the cleanest spring in the Sunshine State, so it attracts many summertime vacationers. The spring is located on the Santa Fe River and has a well-equipped area around it. Terraces and stairs provide easy access to the water, and tubing can also be rented here. The spring is popular with scuba divers, but you can also enjoy the beauty of its underwater world with an ordinary mask or goggles: dive to see catfish, mullet, bass, or turtles.

Fanning Springs

Another great place to swim in the summer in Florida and well suited for a family trip is located near Gainesville. Its clean and clear water and unique fine sand area will suit even the youngest vacationers. The water temperature reaches 72 degrees. In addition to swimming here, you can walk along the promenade, play volleyball, and explore the neighborhoods teeming with wildlife. You may see deer, owls, hawks, and woodpeckers, and if you're very lucky, even manatees, which sometimes visit the waters.

Juniper Springs, Ocala National Forest

This stunning subtropical swimming area is located in the Ocala National Forest. Refreshing blue water gushes out of hundreds of tiny bubbling springs among natural crevices hidden in the shade of oaks and tall palm trees. These popular Florida swimming spots are very deep and pool-like. Juniper Springs is equipped with picnic areas, showers and restrooms, and grills. There is also a store and canoe rentals to explore the surrounding area, which is home to many species of wildlife.

Rainbow Springs, Dunnellon

One of Florida's favorite and oldest summer swimming spots, Rainbow Springs has been around for over 10,000 years. This pristine spring has a designated swimming area within which inflatables are prohibited. Depths range from 5 to 18 feet, and only a small area is set aside for children to swim. A mile and a half from the campground is the tubing inlet with return shuttle service. After swimming in the spring, it's also worth exploring the impressive gardens in the surrounding area and the park's waterfall. The number of visitors to the park is strictly limited, so it's worth arriving early.

Blue Spring, Orange City

Top 12 best places to swim in Florida: from natural springs in the middle of the wilderness to a pool at a former quarry site
Come to the spring to see some amazing manatees. Source: Image Floridastateparks.org

These Florida spots are popular for swimming for more than just humans: Blue Spring is a haven for manatees. With 2,600 acres, it is the largest spring on the St. Johns River. During manatee season, which runs from November through March, swimming here is prohibited to ensure their protection. But the rest of the time, you can enjoy the clear 37-degree water by swimming, tubing, and relaxing on the sandy beach, which is suitable for toddlers as well.

Wekiwa Springs, Apopka

Beautiful Florida swimming spots with stunning natural surroundings near Orlando are very popular during summer, so get there early before the crowds gather. Once the parking lots are full, you'll have to wait in line to enter the park. It has a 7,000-acre area with plenty of activities, but swimming in the refreshing water in the summer heat is most appealing. The swimming area is about 5 feet deep. Nearby on the grassy lawn are picnic and grilling areas, volleyball and playgrounds, canoeing, and hiking trails.

The Venetian Pool, Coral Gables

In 1923, an abandoned rock quarry was converted into the only swimming pool that is on the National Register of Historic Places and has become one of the best swimming spots in Florida. It contains about 820,000 gallons of fresh water pumped from artesian wells. The pool is adorned with a grotto, a majestic waterfall, and ornamental corals. Thanks to the daily natural bottom filtration system, the water remains crystal clear. Children under the age of 3 are not allowed in the pool.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Spring Hill

While these swimming spots aren't surrounded by idyllic wilderness, they're perfect for Florida's sultry summer days. The world-famous Weeki Wachee Springs resort is famous for its underwater theater and mesmerizing mermaid show. This beautiful state park allows you to enjoy delightful swimming spots, river cruises, and snorkeling. You can also ride the Buccaneer Bay Water Park waterslides here, and there is a kiddie pool for the little ones.

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