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The 5 Best Florida Freshwater Springs With RV Campgrounds

Thousands of aboveground (and underground) freshwater springs flow through Florida. Photo by Shanna Chatraw

The 5 Best Florida Freshwater Springs With RV Campgrounds

The freshwater springs of central and north Florida might be one of the most unique landscape features of the U.S. These crystal clear bodies of water look like they belong on a secret tropical island rather than just a few miles from many popular locations in this southern winter haven.

The thousands of springs throughout the state bubble up from the porous limestone and the ancient Floridian aquifer. The springs are home to many of the state’s fish and birds as well as the endangered manatee. In addition, you don’t have to worry about Florida’s famous gators in these springs. They don’t like the cooler water temperatures and tend to stick to more muddy waterways.

Unfortunately like the manatee, many of these springs are also in peril. Groundwater usage by millions of people, tropical storms, rising sea levels, and fertilizer runoff are affecting the clarity and health of these special places.

The endangered manatee. Photo by PublicDomainImages from Pixabay

So while there are some amazing places to go camping next to these springs, the state of Florida does control the number of places where RVs and other more high impact visitors are allowed.

1. Blue Spring State Park

Located north of Deltona, Florida, this beautiful park and spring is the winter home of the previously mentioned Florida manatee. Blue Spring State Park’s springs are open all-year for swimming and snorkeling, but only when the manatees are not around.

Blue Spring State Park. Photo by Jim Brekke

The 51-site park has parking for RVs, tents, and trailers up to 40-feet long. All sites come with hookups, picnic tables, and grills. Bathrooms and showers are available as well as reservations up to 11 months in advance.

2. Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow Springs west of Ocala, Florida is the state’s fourth-largest freshwater spring. Along with its large campground, the springs are popular for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.

Rainbow Springs State Park. Photo by Greg Workman

The campground has a kayak and tube rental kiosk as well. The RV loops can fit some longer RVs and the sites all have picnic tables, fire rings, and trees for privacy. The springs also have a boat launch area and boat parking.

3. Wekiwa Springs

If you have a family that loves to swim, the large, shallow pool at Wekiwa Springs near Orlando is great for children. The pool even has a swim lift for people who may have difficulty entering the water.

Wekiwa Springs. Photo by Katy Warner

The campground at Wekiwa is even better. The park offers over 50 RV and tent sites as well as some overnight backpack trails. Along with hiking, playgrounds, a museum, and equestrian area, there is tons to do in this park. Who needs Disney World?

4. Ginnie Springs

If you want a really luxurious dip into the world of Florida springs, visit Ginnie Springs Outdoors north of Gainesville. This location is not a state park but should be a destination on any freshwater spring trip. The aquamarine, sheltered pools of this resort are a balmy 72 degrees year-round.

You can even scuba dive in these pools. The resort has 129 RV sites with water and electric hookups and plenty of shade. The resort rents out snorkel gear, kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and tubes to go down the Santa Fe River.

If you want to see an even more unusual spring, check out the nearby, underground Devil’s Den Spring. This park also features camping and cabins available for rent.

5. Wakulla Springs

Wakulla Springs south of Tallahassee has the distinction of being the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world. This 6,000-acre wildlife sanctuary is home to alligators, manatee, dozens of waterfowl, and turtles. In addition, the bones of prehistoric mastodons have also been found here.

Florida
Wakulla Springs. Photo by elaine

Because this is a protected area and The Lodge is the only on-site accommodation, camping is located outside of the park at the Newport Park & Campground. This park is smaller than most with only 25 sites, but a full hookup site only costs $27 per night. It’s also only a 15-minute drive from Wakulla Springs.

Start planning your trip

Plan your Florida trip, and find more great destinations along your route, with the RV LIFE Pro tools including the RV LIFE App & RV LIFE Trip Wizard. You can also find more campgrounds and read reviews from fellow RVers on RV LIFE Campgrounds.

See also: Central Florida Kayaking: 5 Campgrounds With World Class Paddling

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