Florida has over 700 natural springs that entice tourists to swim in crystal clear water and admire the underwater caverns.
The pristine waters at these Florida natural springs are home to exotic fish and manatees.
At Weeki Wachee Springs, you can enjoy a boat cruise and mermaid show. The crystal blue water is the perfect place for a family vacation.
Weeki Wachee Springs
Weeki Wachee Springs has been one of Florida’s oldest roadside attractions since 1947. It is renowned for its iconic mermaid shows, amusement park and river cruise.
For many years, the attraction was a huge draw for locals and tourists from around the world. At its peak, the place had over 500,000 people coming to see the mermaid shows each year.
But after Walt Disney World opened two hours to the east, attendance fell and it began to lose money. As a result, it caught the attention of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
In 2008, the State of Florida took over ownership of Weeki Wachee and turned it into a Florida State Park. Hopefully, the state will protect it from future development and neglect.
Gilchrist Blue Springs
One of North Florida’s most stunning natural springs, Gilchrist Blue Springs is a hidden gem that you will want to visit. The crystal clear, 72-degree fresh water is perfect for swimming, snorkeling and paddling, and the park is open to scuba divers year round!
If you’re looking for something a little different, the park offers a nature trail that winds through the forest and past sinkhole swamps, sandhills and cypress trees. This short path leads to all 5 of the natural springs in the park.
The park is also a popular destination for birdwatchers, so bring your binoculars and enjoy the views. Great blue heron, ibis, osprey, red-shouldered hawk and other birds are commonly spotted around the springs.
The park has a camping area that is open all year long. Pull-through and back-in sites are available, with 30 amp electrical hookups and a picnic table. Pets are welcome in the campground as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.
Falling Waters Sink
This is home to a variety of natural springs in Florida, caves, sinkholes and waterfalls. These geological formations, also called karst topography, are formed by a process that interacts between groundwater and soft limestone over millions of years.
This is a unique part of the state. While most of Florida’s waterfalls are formed by the eroded rock of soft sedimentary rock, Falling Waters Sink is the only one that actually drops directly into a sinkhole, combining two distinct types of geological formations into one!
The Park’s main feature is a waterfall that falls into a 100-foot deep and 20-foot wide cylindrical sinkhole. It is considered the highest waterfall in Florida. Depending on the amount of rainfall in the area, the waterfall may be a trickle or a raging torrent.
Big Cypress National Preserve
With 729,000 acres of freshwater swampland, Big Cypress National Preserve is a tropical and temperate oasis. It protects both the cypress and other plant communities found here, and the diverse wildlife, including Florida panthers.
During your visit, take some time to explore the cypress domes, prairies and pinelands that make up this vast preserve. You can also hike the Gator Hook Trail, which stretches 2.4 miles into the swamp.
This natural wonderland provides habitat for endangered species, including the Florida panther, wood storks and red-cockaded woodpeckers. It’s also home to rare orchids and ferns.
Over tens of thousands of years, this vast swamp hosted all sorts of peoples. Its 1974 establishment as the nation’s first national preserve marked the collaboration of many groups dedicated to preserving this swampland.